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Bizarre restaurants in the Boston area?

  • m

I'm looking for a restaurant in the Boston area that is bizarre and good for college students. I've been having trouble finding anything out of the ordinary that is within a good price range.
Any suggestions?

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  1. One person's bizarre food is another's ordinary meal. What do you mean by bizarre? And what's a good price range?

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    3 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Well it's for a video segment that features local restaurants around Boston for college students, each episode has restaurants that fall into different themes and one of the themes is Bizarre Boston. A place that might fit into bizarre might have the restaurant styled in a certain unordinary way, for example the Cafeteria is a restaurant that has an entire menu based off of cafeteria food, I would say thats a bit unusual, however, its a bit pricey for college students. A different kind of bizarre could just be an oddly decorated place. Really any place that comes to mind when you think bizarre would be extremely helpful.

      1. re: mmzz

        Hilltop Steak House? Affordable (it was back when I was a college student) and definitely... mmm... unique, inside and out.

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        Hilltop Steak House
        855 Broadway, Saugus, MA 01906

        1. re: mmzz

          River Gods in Cambridge has some pretty sweet decor if you like gargoyles.

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          River Gods
          125 River St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      2. Well, Dali in Somerville is decorated pretty crazily, and as far as price goes, it's a tapas bar, which kind of makes it as pricey or as cheap as you want.

        1. Dali and Cuchi Cuchi are both decorated interestingly. As is Mr. and Mrs. Bartley's Burger Cottage. And Spike's Junkyard Dogs and Diesel Cafe. Going (much) further afield, so is the Student Prince in Springfield. The Chateau in Waltham has (had) unusual seasonal dioramas in the main lobby.

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          Cuchi Cuchi
          795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

          Bartley's Burger Cottage
          1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

          3 Replies
          1. re: lipoff

            actually, there are two restaurants per segment and Bartley's Burger Cottage is one of the places we are filming for Bizarre, we're just missing a second restaurant for the theme

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            Bartley's Burger Cottage
            1246 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1. re: mmzz

              Gosh, Bartley's is pretty "BIZARRE" whew.

              1. re: mmzz

                Cuchi Cuchi is pretty bizarre. Scups on the Harbor is a bit bizarre too. Ginger Park has a very striking interior. Fred's Franks out in Wakefield is not quite a restaurant, but his Great Green Egg grill is on the bizarre side. You might have trouble getting permission for this, but Harvard's Annenberg Hall (the freshman dining hall) is very gorgeous, and feels like something straight out of Harry Potter. People's Republik is more of a bar than a restaurant, but the decor seems pretty bizarre to me.

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                Fred's Franks
                390 Quannapowitt Pkwy, Wakefield, MA 01880

                Cuchi Cuchi
                795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            2. I was in a Chili's, or maybe it was a TGI Friday's, or an Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag once: they had all this crazy crap on the walls, like old license plates, vintage advertising signs, and a stuffed alligator head wearing oversized sunglasses. It was bizzAAH.

              I suppose along those lines you could include The Friendly Toast, which does a slightly more clever, arty, retro take on this idea.

              I can't think of many inexpensive places whose decor is that unusual. Plenty of good cheap food in unlikely locations, e.g., Villa Mexico, a good little taqueria stuck in the back of a gas station convenience store, but I don't know if that meets your definition of bizarre.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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              Villa Mexico
              296 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114

              The Friendly Toast
              1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

              1 Reply
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                That sounds "awesomely outrageous."

                How about the Emperor's Garden in Chinatown? It is the most cavernous ornate space I think I've ever seen. Totally out of whack with the mediocre (but cheap) dim sum.

              2. The Friendly Toast has some wacky menu items (Almond Joy pancakes) and 'bizarre' decor.

                Tu Y Yo also comes to mind for their grasshopper tacos and huitlacoche (corn smut) crepes.

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                The Friendly Toast
                1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

                1. mmzz - interesting topic, however not really bostonish. looking forward to seeing what kind of responses you get.
                  I'd throw a proverbial hat in the ring for galleria umberto in the north end. Not really that bizarre, but wondering what firm was hired to do the interior design. The food is the best (arancini, pizza), and the hosts (ralph & co.) are the best.
                  check it out, i think you'll find it worth the trip.
                  Dewey

                  1. When I first started going, I thought Redbones was pretty bizarre for Boston - like you stepped into another part of the country when you turn the corner onto Chester St. and fully expected to see some washer and dryers or cars up on blocks in the front yards- feels more like home to me now though.

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                    Redbones
                    55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                    1. Couple of places that come to mind - The Paddock in Somerville - very old school pizza place and bar - decoration has not changed in probably 50 years - pizza is excellent and cheap. Like stepping back in time.

                      Medieval Manor is definitely bizarre - have to eat with your hands, has that silly medieval theme running throughout the dinner - probably would appeal to some college students. Also, bizarre that it stays in business...

                      Speed's - Bizarre in the sense that the hot dog is grossly larger than any other in the known world and the truck mysteriously appears out of the mist in a parking lot in the middle of a vast industrial area of warehouses.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        am unclear on what kids today are defining as "bizarre" but if throwback meets the criteria, then add santarpio's to the cheap eats list.

                        eagle's in cleveland circle for those gross monster burger concoctions.

                        newtowne grill in porter square still smells like cigarettes even though public smoking has been banned for-evah and the one time i had pizza there it made me sick.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          newtowne grill has gotten a lot spiffier looking in recent years, I think all of the hipster money has helped round out their townie money.

                          i actually like their pizza*

                          * taking into account how f'ing cheap it is - for a few bucks, the large cheese is a pretty good deal IMO.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            the pitcher/pie deal got us in there too.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              as long as we're talking about things that are good, it's not even good beer :)

                              That said, there aren't many places where I can hang out with some friends for a several hours and manage to end up both intoxicated and full for what usually comes out to about $20pp. Not something I want all the time, but it's easy on the wallet.

                              OTOH I tend to waste all of the money I saved by blowing it on the scratch ticket machines they have in there.

                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                            Thought about mentioning Santarpio's but decided against it because it does not have the same throwback feel that the Paddock has, on that dark, desolate corner of Pearl Street. I guess Santarpio's is too busy to be bizarre. But I like the way you think.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              to me, monkey meat is bizarre whereas to some that is comfy street food on a stick, so i'm not really sure where we should we be going on this one, lol.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    No, I mean, where in the world have you seen it?

                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                      "bush meat" in africa. it's in the markets and in the stands, but you don't know for sure what it is, unless you know what it is. could be dog, could be monkey. conundrum.

                        2. Fasika, in East Somerville, is bizarre in that it is half Ethiopian restaurant and half old-school Somerville dive bar.

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                          Fasika
                          147 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Ruprecht

                            Vinny's At Night, on the same stretch of Broadway as Fasika, is bizarre in that it's a nice Italian restaurant in the back of a convenience store. But Fasika is maybe better suited for college student budgets.

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                            Fasika
                            147 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                          2. The Delux (corner of Clarendon & Chandler Streets in the Back Bay) is, if not "bizarre" certainly good for college students, is in a reasonable price range, has food that's better than you'd expect, and has (a) an Elvis shrine, (b) an obligatory painting of a naked woman, (c) a jackalope, (d) the covers to both London Calling and Elvis's first album on the wall, and (e) a generally excellent soundtrack. One of the few decent dive bars left standing after the no-smoking nonsense closed them all down. Note that the food is better than it should be (had a BLT there last week with house cured bacon and pork belly, $8). Beer ranges from 'Gansett in cans to Tremont on tap and they make their own sour mix -- not bad for a dive. Cash only.

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                            Delux Cafe
                            100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116

                            Tremont Cafe
                            418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                And the pages of Eloise wallpapering the women's bathroom.

                              2. re: montuori

                                I love the Delux, good choice for this list (I guess...who knows since they consider Bartley's bizarre?), but it's really not a dive. Ersatz dive.

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                                Delux Cafe
                                100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116

                              3. If we're taking about incongruous places, how about P.A.'s Lounge in Union Square, Somerville? Half time-warp dive bar/half indie music venue that looks like an old VFW that hasn't been updated since 1960. Old baseball card collection varnished on the bar.

                                You'd never guess from appearances that they serve surprisingly good charcoal-grilled pizza and burgers, hand-cut fries and house-made mayo and relish. Student-friendly prices, too.

                                1. Well, Redbones downstairs has to meet the standard of "Bizarre" decor. Too bad Mondo's is no longer with us. I discovered it in the pre 80's Quincy Market district with cheap diner food and paintings of over-endowed nude women covering the walls. Oh yes, they never washed the floors. They moved to South Boston near the Fort Point Channel before they disappeared.

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                                  Redbones
                                  55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                  1. All good examples.. Dont forget Full of Bull on Rt1 South in Saugus. Thousands of old licence plates.
                                    Car parts. The front bumper of a 55 Tbird. Other car memorabilia

                                    Plus i remember the food being very good. To bad it is now a Micky Ds

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Locutus

                                      I thought full of bull was long gone?

                                    2. Fasika in East Somerville might be worth checking out. The left side is a laid-back, traditional Ethiopian restaurant, while the right side is a classic rough-and-tumble old-school Somerville dive bar.

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                                      Fasika
                                      147 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

                                      1. Agree with Delux.

                                        Another possibility is Prohibited at Symphony 8.

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                                        Delux Cafe
                                        100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116

                                        Symphony 8
                                        8 Westland Ave., Boston, MA 02115