Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Aug 16, 2011 10:17 AM

Casual dinner recommendation in Acton/Concord/Maynard?

New to the area and looking for casual dinner recommendation, something other than a 'Not Average Your Joe's'?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You'd do well to visit Helen's in Concord. It's casual, efficient, and serves delicious food.

    6 Replies
    1. re: lescaret

      Sorry I completely disagree about Helen's. We've always had terrrrrible service there and one time I asked the woman who was waiting on us (the main waitress) who the restaurant was named after (ie was she Helen?) and she explained that it was her grandmother and she'd been roped into restaurants because it was the 'family' business but she'd never actually wanted anything to do with food. Well lady, it shows.

      I really like Cast Iron kitchen in Maynard and Vincenzo's in West Concord isn't Awful but isn't great. The Colonial Inn in Concord can be fun on a Friday night, if you eat in the pub way in the back. They have a house band that plays and the guitarist is actually the guitarist from the Kinks, music is really quite good.

      Colonial Inn
      48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

      1. re: trotliner

        Who is the guitarist from the Kinks?

        1. re: trotliner

          I think you may want to check your facts on the guitarist from the Kinks! The guitarist that plays every Friday is Tom Yates and he was never in the Kinks! He is awesome though!

          1. re: trotliner

            The guitarist from the Kinks (Dave Davies) lives in London, though he has played the Sit n Bull. Tom Yates was in Fair, Yates and Bechtart, who regularly played Timothy's in Framingham.

            1. re: trotliner

              Hmm, well, that's never been my experience. Trotliner, you say you've "always" had bad service - how many times is "always"? And if it's more than twice, why did you keep going back?

              1. re: lescaret

                We've ended up there at least six times, and we keep going back because there's like a grand total of maybe 5 breakfast places in a 15 mile radius? And the food isn't awful I just hate her surly attitude so my husband talks me into it when we're starving.

          2. Honestly, local Concord / Acton/ Maynard casual fare can't hold a candle to Arlington, Somerville, and Cambridge, so when you have the chance, drive the extra 20 to 30 minutes down Rt 2, it's worth it (been living here over year now and doing that a lot). Here are your options if you have to stay local:

            Little Pusan Korean in Maynard - very casual, but solid Korean food. Very much the family run little place where dad cooks and mom manages the front.

            Asian Gourmet Rt 2 Concord - 2 floors, one Chinese food & hibach, the other sushi. Not nearly as vile as the decription sounds! The Chinese is surpizingly authentic and well executed!! Don't be throw off by the tacky exterior or pan-asian offerings!

            Spicepepper Garden Acton - Really tasty Chinese American food. Very fresh ingredients and not too oily / fried.

            Vincenzo's is very decent if your local, but not worth it if you live elseware.

            Helen's was extremely forgettable when I went. Good for ice cream.

            The 99 is just like you'd expect it to be, but with nicer waitresses than most 99s.

            Cast Iron Kitchen is again solid for local but not worth the drive for anyone else. Their menu tends to be a bit hit or miss, but never terrible and sometimes really tasty. Very family friendly.

            Colonial Inn is pretty tasty if you stick to things like Chicken Pot pie and other Yankee fair, but fails at anything adventurous.

            Though you didn't ask for it, your best lunch spot is Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord (behind the gas station). Hidden gem alert! Wonderful sandwiches on fresh baked bread....any toppings or fillings you want with very nice options like pea guacamole, arugala, brie cheese, smoked turkey, curry chicken salad, etc....all for $7 a sandwich!

            Nashoba Brook Bakery Cafe
            152 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, MA 01742

            Colonial Inn
            48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

            Cast Iron Kitchen
            177 Main Street, Maynard, MA 01754

            Spicepepper Garden
            36 Great Rd, Acton, MA 01720

            Little Pusan
            83 Main St, Maynard, MA 01754

            6 Replies
            1. re: InmanSQ Girl

              Nashoba Brook is very hidden indeed! Great hippie style bread and food.

              1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                For Korean its worth the drive to Ayer to WooJung rather than the place in Maynard. Much better food, service, etc...

                We have tried Spice Pepper twice and will not be back. Maybe they are ok for their americanized food but their spicy sichuan food is not very good. We were very disappointed with it both times. We continue to drive to Billerica to go to Sichuan Gourmet instead.

                Asia Gourmet is an interesting one. Have only had the Chinese downstairs. Expect your clothes/hair/self to stink of food/smoke from the hibachi if you go. Some dishes have been ok. The spicy dishes are extremely oily.

                Some local places for fried seafood:
                Twin seafood has solid takeout fried seafood but isn't open very late. They are in Concord and opening a 2nd one in West Acton.

                Tiny's diner in Ayer for real casual diner food and fried seafood.

                Kimballs in Westford or Lancaster for great ice cream and fried seafood..

                We drive to Lowell alot for thai,vietnamese, cambodian food. Not really that far from this area.

                Marlborough is also not very far and has a few gems that i could list if interested.

                Sichuan Gourmet
                502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

                1. re: hargau

                  Hargau--Would love recommendations for Marlborough. New to area (just moved out of the city) and know we are going to miss Boston area restaurants, but feel that we need to explore our new neck of the woods.

                  1. re: jgmcl

                    In Marlborough you can get decent pub food at Kennedys pub.
                    There is a five guys for fast food.
                    Linguines has decent pizza at casual italian, i prefer it to go as the room can be very loud
                    Coral seafood isnt bad
                    Yoong tong in northboro is ok thai but not as good as going to lowell
                    For the best pizza and wings around drive out to Sterling Also great for free live music..(note this is a bar, 21+

                    1. re: hargau

                      Hargau, what Thai restaurant do you like in Lowell? I know there's good Cambodian (Simply Khmer), Vietnamese (Pho 88), and Laotian (Phien's Kitchen), but I didn't know about Thai. I thought I had to get into Brookline. The Yoong Tongs are related to Ka Noon in Bedford, which I think is good, but nothing special in terms of authentic/spicy. Are they better? How do they compare with board favorites like Rod Dee?

                      1. re: justbeingpolite

                        Well none that are strictly thai but we like VietThai

              2. For very interesting and delicious food, i recommend to you 80 Thoreau in Concord and AKA Bistro in Lincoln. Now,these may or may not be considered casual for you.casual dress is standard at both places and prices are boston level bistro (entrees in the $20s).

                AKA Bistro
                145 Lincoln Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773

                1. Cast Iron has been VERY hit or miss lately. Last time we called (for carry out) we were told they took the burgers off of the menu...because "they kept getting sent back", which I thought was a strange thing to tell someone. They need to change the menu as well.

                  (sorry meant to post this under the replys not the original post.)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maxevan

                    Agree. We stopped going to CIK because the price point is too high for the inconsistency. It sometimes smells like a wet basement in there too. Too bad about the burgers - they used to be good. They do have good beers on tap though.

                    1. re: MrsCheese

                      I think is they changed up the menu a little too. It skewed towards "wintery" food. Make it more seasonal. It does smell funny in there....Its just too much of a crap shoot now.