HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Looking for a Restaurant with Way Too Many Caveats... and oh yeah, for Tomorrow

So, I lurk much more than I post, but I have an impossible problem that maybe someone on here could help me solve.

My mom and my grandparents are coming from the South Shore to Waltham tomorrow (I know, late notice!), and they want to take my boyfriend and me out to dinner to celebrate me getting my Master's. I will eat basically anything as long as it isn't from a mammal or waterfowl, so I'm generally happy eating anywhere as long as it isn't bad food or a steakhouse (since everything smells like meat.)

However, my family is a different matter altogether-- we're eating lunch at 2, which means that a lot of places in the area are either closed or have started serving dinner already, and my grandparents have a fairly old-fashioned idea of "expensive," meaning that I will feel incredibly guilty suggesting anywhere where a majority of the entrees aren't less than $13. So my options are already fairly limited right there.

More problematically, no one other than Boyfriend and I like Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern or basically any other so-called "ethnic" food, and we can't really do Thai or Vietnamese because Boyfriend has peanut and tree nut allergies. There goes 90% the food in Waltham and the surrounding towns. Furthermore, my grandparents don't really think they like Chinese/Japanese/Asian fusion-y food (although every time we've ever gone out for that kind of food they've found something they've liked; regardless, I feel like a jerk suggesting those kind of places). I also don't want to do somewhere too dive-y (say, Sabatino's or an "Italian" or pizza place like that), since I'm certain my grandparents will be nicely dressed even if I tell them we're not going anywhere fancy.

Basically, we are down to zero choices considering the time, price range and cuisines. I know technically the lunch is for me, but I can eat anywhere and just want my family to be comfortable and happy. I suggested Flatbread in Burlington, since everyone likes pizza and it's upscale enough that one wouldn't feel out of place not in jeans, but my mom thinks it might be too far to drive since they're already coming from around the Plymouth area. (I also offered to drive, but apparently 22 is still not trustworthy driving age despite the fact that I have an absolutely spotless driving record and have been driving in Waltham for 5 years. Frankly, I don't think they'll let me drive them when I'm 30.) So that also leaves out anywhere too far northwise or westwise, as well as towns that are "Boston-y" (parts of Arlington, Lexington, etc), because while I am perfectly comfortable driving there, they are not.

So, with this ridiculous set of rules, does anyone have any suggestions? I've run through every place I could think of, but I'm out of options. Part of me just wants to say "hey, why don't I cook for everyone!" but (a) my cooking tends more towards the food they don't much like anyway, and (b) I'm also currently recovering from something cold-ish and I'm a bit worried about making everyone sick.

Am I just SOL? Should I just call it a day and take everyone to Bertucci's?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bertucci's

    280 School St Ste G100, Mansfield, MA 02048

    1 Reply
    1. re: cpthandsome

      Alas, that's kind of what I figured. : D Thanks, though.

    2. Where do the senior citizens in Waltham eat?

      West Newton isn't too boston-y and close by. Can't think of a restaurant that meets the reqs but there must be something.

      1 Reply
      1. re: three of us

        This is too late for the OP, but to answer three of us' question, the senior citizens in Waltham eat at Grassfield's or the Chateau. I might have suggested Grassfield's if I'd seen this post earlier. I believe it's owned by the folks who own Jimmy's in Arlington and the menu is virtually identical.

      2. Is West Roxbury too far/urban? If not, West on Centre might work.

        West on Centre
        1732 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA 02132

        1. OK, I think this will fit your family - what about Not Your Average Joe's in Watertown? I love that place - so far, each time I've gone, I've been very happy with the food. It's right on Main St. (a very short drive from Waltham), & there's parking in the back. Take a look at their menu on the website & see what you think - once more, the place is nice enough for the older folks to dress up, but not stuff-old either. They have always been super nice & I bet they wouldn't mind adjusting some ingredients in dishes - make sure you warn them about your boyfriend's allergies, of course. Prices all seem to be in the range you're looking for, and they are open all day tomorrow - 11:30am to 11pm.

          I've hesitated mentioning this place before - I have violated my own hatred for chain restaurants, haha!! But no matter, I have love for THIS one - I mean, they are super nice w/out being annoying, I haven't had a meal I didn't love, at least so far (my fav is the Vietnamese Salmon), and hey, they give out free birthday meals - and let two of us use ours at the same meal, no complaints. What's not to love? (btw, if anyone wants to get their free b-day meal, just sign up for their email newsletter).

          1. Your grandparents are lucky to have such a considerate grandchild. I have to agree, though, that Bertucci's seems your best option. The good news is that they have a new arugula salad that even a chowhound could love. It really is excellent. Ask for extra balsamic syrup if you order it. And that chocolate-hazelnut crostata is quite good, although that wouldn't be safe for your boyfriend.

            1. I think I have a good spot for you. In Wellesley, Rt 16, only 7-10 min from waltham.Papparazzi. Serves all day, cool and comfy, food is fine; broad menu.Something for everyone. You'll be able to get a pleasant window table I bet. ( Reserve and request). Quiet too.


              1. Thanks for your suggestions, everyone (Not Your Average Joe's was actually on my list of suggestions-- we were worried about when "lunch" ended there). I brought a bunch of them up to my mom, and after some finagling she suddenly decided that Flatbread's pizza sounded like a great idea (???) and that it would be fine to drive to Burlington. Cue me cleaning out my car.

                *sigh* My family is wonderful and generous and I could not have asked for a better hand in life, but sometimes... : D

                4 Replies
                1. re: HJSoulma

                  would solea be "too ethnic"? It offers a wide-ranging menu, a pretty room, and small plates which can keep the cost down. If not, Fiorella is a good family Italian restaurant just over the border in Newton.

                  187 North St, Newtonville, MA 02460

                  1. re: teezeetoo

                    Solea, unfortunately, would be too expensive. : / The small plates thing is tricky when no one likes the same food (there's also a lot of shellfish, which I should have mentioned my boyfriend is also allergic to. They grow them food sensitive at Brandeis! Lucky he isn't picky.) And Fiorella's was actually one of my first thoughts, but last time I drove by (middle of last week?) it said it was closed for renovations this month. It may be open again, though. Anyway, thank you for the suggestions! I think we're all set on doing Flatbread now, but let's just cross our fingers that no one changes their mind between now and tomorrow. ; D

                    187 North St, Newtonville, MA 02460

                    1. re: HJSoulma

                      There's also a Flatbread in Somerville.

                      1. re: HJSoulma

                        All that matters is that you & your family have a good time (and you keep those toxic foods away from your bf, of course!!). You are, most likely, there now. Be sure to let us know how it turned out :D.

                  2. What about The Chateau in Waltham? It is Italian but it is not "divey". Something for everyone, not expensive and popular with the local senior citizens. Opens at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays.

                    1. What about Jimmy's in Arlington? Right on Mass Ave, loads of blue hairs but honestly very good food and reasonable. Many choices for everyone from meat, seafood, and italian. Not in a citified part of town and they have parking on site.

                      1. You mentioned Flatbread Pizza, which I haven't been. But if you want pizza but fancier, maybe Stone Hearth Pizza will do the trick. I love their pizzas and salad, but I find that I like most of their menu. There's locations in Belmont and Cambridge.


                        Good luck. :


                        Stone Hearth Pizza
                        57 Leonard St, Belmont, MA 02478

                        1. Fiorella's in Newton, on the Waltham line. Great Italian, with both pasta and pizza. Should be in your price point, and it's casual while still feeling like a nice sit-down restaurant.

                          187 North St, Newtonville, MA 02460

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mabelm4050

                            Fiorella's has been closed for 2 weeks for construction. I think they are not back open until tomorrow.

                            1. re: failingwannabevegan

                              Fiorella's would be great, but it doesn't seem to be open for lunch on Sundays.

                              187 North St, Newtonville, MA 02460

                              1. re: bear

                                On Facebook they just said they won't be open until the 13th.

                          2. What about Kouzina in Waban? Not too "ethnic-ey" and plenty of selections for carnivores and non-carnivores at your pricepoint. Open for lunch


                            1649 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468