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Secrets of Salem??

I am new to the boards, but am spending the week in Wakefield and Salem! I would love any and all suggestions in the area for great food, drink, sweet treats!! We are pretty flexible and I promise to share what we find!

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  1. On the same street as the Peabody Essex Museum is Rita's for Italian ice and frozen custard. The frozen custard was jut OK, tasted like soft serve to me, but the Italian ice was delicious, especially the chocolate fudge flavor. Very, very chocolatey and rich, hit the spot on a hot day. Lemon was good as well, but the chocolate tasted just like taking a big bite of fudge. Yum.

    1. Buttered popcorn at Hobb's at the Willows.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DoubleMan

        I would also add Hobb's salt water taffy and popcorn bars to the list.

        1. re: nlg

          I have a soft spot for the flavored popcorn as well (from working there for five summers), but it's not something I would give an unqualified endorsement to, like I will for the buttered popcorn (and the peanut butter taffy when soft).

      2. I'm a fan of Polonia Cafe next to the Bewitched statue. It's hearty Polish & Eastern European food. Their Polish sampler is terrific but also try the Gypsy Pancake (two huge potato pancakes with excellent goulash between them) and the raspberry-flavored Polish beer.

        1. If you go no other place, get to Turtle Alley in the East India Sq. Mall, diagonally across from the PEM. Incredible turtles of all types, fudge and a whole array of amazing chocolates all made at the Gloucester shop. Hands down, my all time favorite chocolate shop and I've been to them all.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tweetie

            Yeah- Turtle Alley is truly great, a rarity on the North Shore.

          2. Great hot dog joint:

            Boston Hot Dog Company
            60 Washington Street
            Salem, MA 01970
            (781) 576-9290

            Amazing Bakery:

            And folks seem to like this place quite a bit though I've never been:

            Sixty2 on Wharf-62 on Wharf

            1 Reply
            1. re: StriperGuy

              Second the Boston Hot Dog Company! I haven't gone up to Salem for work in a few years, but I used to have business nearby and I'd look forward all day to my favorite hot dog for lunch on the way home, loaded with mustard and sauerkraut. Glad to hear they are still there and still good.

            2. Just had a couple of sandwichs at scratch kitchen, in the first floor of a parking garage and they were pretty tasty with great onion rings and smoked wings. They have some bbq themed menu items. The kitchen does make a lot from scratch, bacon, brisket, bread, etc:))

              They were a little heavy handed with their home made spreads so you might want to see if they can put it on the side.

              1. In Salem, Reds is good for casual lunch or breakfast. I also had a really tasty chicken and cranberry salad wrap at the Seaport Cafe which is right next to the Salem Waterfront Hotel. Rockafella's has decent food..a different kind of atmosphere...and a really good chocolate cake that will need to be shared. FInz is nice for the seafood and the view.

                In Wakefield, try Brother's Deli for breakfast. I ate here a couple of months ago and the breakfast was pretty good. Also, for a nice treat...drive the 15 -20 minutes to nearby Middleton Ma and enjoy ice cream at Richardson's Dairy.

                231 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

                Richardson's Dairy
                1471 Bridge St, Dracut, MA 01826

                Brother's Deli Restaurant
                404 Main St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                1. WOW..Thanks everyone!! That is a great list...

                  1. i don't know if you are familiar with the Search function on CH; but it is excellent. Here are some recent Salem threads. Easily competetive w/ the best Boston sushi is Sushi Island in Wakefield center.
                    We are regulars there. Other than it, we are fans of Tryst in Beverly and 62 on Wharf in Salem.




                    1. Bella Verona is a small authentic Italian restaurant across from the Hawthorn Hotel near the Salem Commons (a hidden gem i'd say)...for more upscale Mediterranean, "62" located in Pickering Wharf is wonderful, u can order several tapas to sample...I havent been to Greenland Cafe yet, but have heard great things...they cook with local produce/ organic ...Gulu Gulu Cafe has one of the larger beer selections and great sandwiches def. has an idie /art house vibe to it and usually there is some entertainment in the evenings...for breakfast hit Red's diner, been there forever local favorite greasy spoon cookin...

                      Bella Verona
                      107 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

                      1. My 3 favorite places are all in Wakefield.

                        Slice Pizza for great pizza and eggplant rollatini

                        Fred's Franks for awesome grilled hot dogs and sausages.

                        And Sushi Island for world class sushi.

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

                        Sushi Island
                        397 Main St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                        Slice Pizza
                        587 Lowell St, Wakefield, MA 01880

                        1. I'll second Cafe Polonia and 62 Restaurant.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AngerHeSmiles

                            Fine dining wise 62 it absolutely great. Best place in Salem at the moment for an upscale dinner. Finz is second on this list as far as I go, Red Lu Lu is third. Nobody mentioned Reds, but for breakfast what more could you ask for than Eggs Benedict like 10 different ways, mostly for under 7 bucks? Lunch is not as good but just as cheep. No good Chinese in Salem, (closest is Su Chengs in Peabody). Passage to India very good Indian (southern).

                            Bar wise I Love Gulu Gulu, for sandwiches and wide ranging beer menu selections. They always have something I never tried, and that I usually like. Salem Beer Works has really good fresh beer, (esp. monthly selections), but food is disappointing except for the best nachos in Salem (or maybe anywhere). My kids do like the children's menu. Hate Tavern on the Square, but thousands of drunk college students disagree with me, and the TVs are great for football.