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Moved from North End to North Andover....Need help please.

We just moved from the North End to North Andover and desperately need help finding anything/everything chow worthy within a 20 minute or so drive.

What I've found so far...

North Andover

Burtons..mediocre food a bit overpriced.
Smolaks..great cider donuts,produce, and other baked goods
Butcher Boy..great meats and prepared foods
Tripoli..ok bakery with decent bakery pizza
Harrisons..serviceable North Shore roast beef


Brasserie 28....nice wine bar, haven't tried any food yet.
Andolinis....solid Italian
Yella...intersesting menu, some items executed better than others, nice dining room
Andover Liquors..best beer section in the area
Grassfields...chain quality
The little seafood market..good quality fresh fish


Keons...great pork chop in a bar like setting
Haverhill brewing..good beer, decent pub grub

Any other help will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Burtons is a bit over priced..I agree. It is the type of place you go to more for atmosphere than for the food. It is on my list of places to meet friends/coworkers after work for a drink and appetizer..that is about it.

    Instead of Smolaks..try Ingaldsby Farm in Boxford. In my opinion it is superior to Smolak in every way. It is right off of Route 133 in Boxford. On the way back, stop in at Nason's Stonehouse Farm for fantastic homemade baked beans as well as other homemade goodies including jams, pies, and the best blueberry muffins in the areas.
    Butcher boy is great if a bit overpriced. Also try Thwaites Market in Methuen, Ma. Smaller, friendlier and to me better quality of what they do sell ( butcher boy has more variety).
    For Roast Beef sandwiches..skip Harrisons and try Phil's Roast Beef in Andover. You won't be sorry. They have the best RB sandwiches in the area..and we grew up going to Harrisons.

    Andover Liquors is the best in the area. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. They do have an amazing beer selection. They are the only place around that sells a particular belgium beer favored by my nephew. I am not much of a drinker..but they have helped me select the right bottle of wine many times.

    Hometown Seafoods in Andover has the best fresh fish in the area...second to that is Whole Foods..also in Andover. ( also, their lobster dip is loaded..and I mean loaded with lobster meat.)

    Try the following:
    Teresa's in Middleton ( on Route 114..maybe 15 minutes from North Andover)
    Rocks Tavern in Middleton ( also on Route 114)
    Salvatore's Restaurant in South Lawrence along the Merrimack River
    The Loft - North Andover..nice atmosphere...decent food..exceptional clam chowder and lobster roll.
    Keon's Grille at the Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown ( located on Route 133). Great food, atmosphere and service.

    For Breakfast ..no question..Shawsheen Luncheonette in Andover, Country Kitchen in Methuen, Al's Diner in Methuen, and a little further ..but very well worth the nice scenic drive is Village Pancake in Rowley Ma.
    The Tap in Haverhill is good as is Krueger Flatbread, also in Haverhill.

    Also Tripoli is good. Their pizza is best if you get it with a slice of provolone on the top...since th sauce tends to be on the sweet side. I like tripoli's a lot but the better bakery is Piro's in Methuen on rte 113. If you go there..down the road is Borrelli's Italian Deli ..I think you might find that interesting.

    Phil's Roast Beef
    38 Andover St, Andover, MA 01810

    Hometown Seafoods
    28 Chestnut St, Andover, MA 01810

    Krueger Flatbreads
    142 Essex St, Haverhill, MA 01832

    2 Replies
    1. re: BlueMagic

      Thwaites is the venerable Chowish market of the area.


      1. re: BlueMagic

        Ingaldbys was great, we grabbed a lot of apples and veggies.The cider donuts and muffins are better at Smolaks Imo.

      2. In Lawrence, there's a nice place for breakfast called Three Dogs on rte 28, also Cafe Azteca for Mexican, in Salem NH Ralphies is old school Italian, in Bradford Joseph's for a bit more upscale Italian with a good bakery and Keon;s either in Georgetown of Haverhill is very good. Most of the places you have in Andover I'd skip. Agree, Burton's is over rated and priced like a high priced 99. Lastly, in N. Andover Shadi's for Middle Eastern is very good.

        Cafe Azteca
        180 Common St, Lawrence, MA 01840

        8 Replies
        1. re: treb

          Have you tried 3 dogs..? Is it really good? I can't remember the name of the place that was there before but I didn't care for it. I have heard mixed reviews about 3 dog from coworkers...

          1. re: BlueMagic

            The place before Three Dogs Diner was Sam's Steak Out and I didn't care for it either.
            Three Dogs on the other hand isn't that bad. When I stop for lunch their I usually get the brisket sandwich, if not the turkey. Both smoked on site.
            I haven't been for breakfast or dinner there since this past winter.
            Service can be slow when they are busy, but its good home cooked quality food.

            1. re: BlueMagic

              I've been for breakfast several times, solid american comfort fare although you can get an omeltte with some of their house smoked meats if you wish, the place is fresh and clean, good wait staff and it's very reasonable. They recenty had a groupon deal.

              1. re: treb

                We just went to Three Dogz for lunch, and were impressed. Run by a hard-working couple, who smoke meats twice a week, The breakfast menu looks impressive, and I plan to try that soon.

                1. re: cocoabrioche

                  I had the brisket and eggs..what a deal! A huge mound of brisket with 2 eggs and homefires for around $8..Very nice people working there as well. Will be back soon.

                2. re: treb

                  I finally got around to trying 3 Dogs Diner today. The food was great indeed. My boss and I both had the same thing..chicken salad melt with provolone cheese. Was perfectly done. We also had a cup of the soup..today was Turkey Noodle. Definitely homemade and very tasty. We will be back again for sure.

                  1. re: treb

                    Hi Treb.,..wanted to let you know that I finally made it to 3Dogz Diner for breakfast this morning. We ordered lunch there a couple of times from work over the past few weeks and all enjoyed it. Yesterday..we ordered breakfast at work and it was really good. One of the girls ordered a slice of chocolate cheesecake for the afternoon snack. We all had a bit and it was..in a word..amazing.
                    Anyhow..I usually go out for breakfast on Saturday mornings and this morning my SO and I decided to give the diner a try. We were impressed in every single way. The breakfast was delicious ( couldn't finish it) and the service was very friendly. Delicious coffee too ( always a plus).
                    On the way out..I got a couple of slices of the chocolate cheesecake for dessert tonight. FYI...all their food, including baked goods are homemade.

                    1. re: BlueMagic

                      Glad you enjoyed it, the couple running it are very hard working folks and do make everything from scratch. Been going there, frequently, since it opened. Also, it's a great deal that's affordable.

              2. I sound like a broken record but Joseph's in Haverhill/Bradford is good. Their creamy polenta is to die for, lol! :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: mcel215

                  I agree that Joseph's is good. For some reason they don't come right to mind. The last time I was there I had a really good spinach ravioli.

                  1. I sympathize. The hinterlands are tough. You might try doing a CH search under Lawrence. i remember some active threads for ethnic places up there. have also heard good things from a friend about Blue Fin on 114 in middleton for sushi (same owners as now-closed Blue Fin in porter exchange.) For really superb Boston level dining, drive 45 min. to Black Trumpet in Portsmouth NH (really lovely town and a number of good restnts.) And The Clam Box in Ipswich is 30 min from you. Lowell , 20 min from you,has some good asian and indian spots.

                    Blue Fin
                    1815 Massachusetts Ave # 1, Cambridge, MA

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Another good place for phatchris is PJ's Pizzeria in Methuen, they make an excellent Italian meat pie. Also, in Methuen, Piro's bakery.


                    2. Dolce Freddo Gelato in Methuen for, obviously, gelato.
                      Fusion House in Methuen for Chinese, Japanese/sushi.
                      Sahtaine in Methuen, Excellent falafel.
                      Mann Orchards in Methuen for local produce, pies and other items.

                      Dolce Freddo Gelato
                      300 Merrimack St, Methuen, MA 01844

                      1. Amici's pizzeria in North Andover, get the Leo's Signature.

                        1. What, no one has mentioned Lowell/Chelmsford area? But let's start with my addiction (and folks come up from Boston for this place) Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica is outstanding sichuan. Lowell has all my favorite asian spots: Pho88 for vietnamese, Simply Khmer for awesome cambodian as well as Tepthida: www.tepthida.com/. Ole in downtown is doing really nice tapas. An awesome seafood market and restaurant is just off 495 in Chelmsford (Fishbones). Best breakfast in the area (particularly if you are a benny lover, this is the best); Owl Diner in downtown Lowell. Best vietnamese bun mhi sandwiches at Hung Cuc in downtown Lowell. A little healthy; Life Alive is always fantastic.......just a start!

                          Sichuan Gourmet
                          502 Boston Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

                          Owl Diner
                          244 Appleton St, Lowell, MA 01852

                          Life Alive
                          194 Middle St Apt 3R, Lowell, MA 01852

                          1. In addition to many of the comments already made, I can add a few.

                            The Vineyard in North Andover has a very different wine dept from Andover liquors. The owner, Bill Dwyer, has a very different palette than Andrea DiFiore, the wine manager at Andover liquors. I prefer Bill's selections to Andrea's, but both are good. Both also host Grand Tastings quarterly, usually a week or two apart. It's actually a great way to see how different the stores are--it's usually many of the same distributors pouring at each event, but the selections are often miles apart.

                            Wine Connextion (sic) in North Andover has the best prices around, bar none. They also do periodic grand tastings. I try to divide my custom among the 3, because each has something different to offer, and I want to keep them all happy. (The note about beer at And. Liquors is spot on, by the way.)

                            Take a look at Palmer's in Andover for a less pricey, somewhat better experience than Burton's. It's not terrifically awesomely fantastic, but it's pretty good, nice atmosphere, and about 20-25% less than Burton's.

                            Dylan's is more of a neighborhood bar/eatery, but pretty inconsistent. The food is often very good, sometimes very disappointing. But it's not very pricey and a comfortable space.

                            for breakfast, I can't recommend Carleen's in Lawrence highly enough. Prices are very very good, and it's big and open compared to Shawsheen Luncheonette. (Or Lantern brunch, another similar place in Andover.) It's cash only, but they have an ATM that only charges a $0.95 fee. Food is quite good, esp. for the price. It's always busy but there's also not usually a long wait for a seat. I have only eaten breakfast foods there, so can't speak to other meals.

                            If you are willing to drive a little bit, there's a McKinnon's in North Salem NH that beats Butcher Boy in just about every regard. Prices are better, quality is quite good as long as you pay attention to the grades--they are all properly labeled, but sometimes quite hard to see the labeling.

                            Welcome to the neighborhood, a bit late!

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: headmaster

                              Headmaster, thanks for the information on The Wine Connextion and the Vineyard. I have been disappointed at the selections the last two times at Andover Liquors.
                              I went to Carleen's for years and stopped going last summer. The quality of the service seemed to have gone downhill..and the prices went way up..but I agree they are cheaper than Shawsheen Luncheonette..but I get treated like royalty at Shawsheen :-)
                              Good point about Butcher Boy. I live 10 minutes from there and rarely go. The prices are just too high. I was going to McKinnon's in Salem..in addition to Thwaites market..but now that I am spending more time in Saugus stop off at Hilltop Butcher shop. Their chicken prices just can't be beat.

                              1. re: BlueMagic

                                I have lived in Andover for a very long time. The staff at Andover Liquors make the customer feel as though they are doing you a favour. I have recently discoverd Beer and Wine at the Andovers in Market Basket Plaza in North Andover. If you know what you want they have the best prices arouns...beat NH by a longshot! Breakfast...Brighams in the same Plaza is independently owned and she is there everyday! Right on about Hometown Seafoods...best anywhere and again family owned and operated. Introduce yourself to the butcher at MB... he will accomodate your every need. As for restaurants, coming from the North End is a tough one! I love Boston and usually go into town. But the food at Brasserie 28 is great, try all suggestions in Lowell, Fishbones in Chelmsford and have fun!

                                1. re: ParisLady

                                  The Bollywood Grill in that same plaza is decent; we are probably getting takeout from there on Christmas Eve for a family gathering. It has a nice layout for sit-down dinners, too.

                                  Two nearby Korean places that are funkier are Garden House in Lawrence just north on 114; they have an incredible kimchee pancake. And Rega's Grill has replaced the late, great Hee Bin on 28 also just north into Lawrence. We recently had a family dinner there and really liked it. The server took a while to warm up to us, but once she did, she warned us away from a couple of dishes (the tempuras) and towards another (grilled beef) that turned out to be wise, and later brought us out some samples of a couple of great stews that were simmering back in the kitchen.

                                  But Aquila is right about Dolce Freddo Gelato in Methuen. That is the most exceptional gelato I have ever had, and I have friends in the inner suburbs who have a standing request with me to pick them up some gelato when I am up that way (8 scoops for $10, and the styrofoam brick it gets packed in travels well and keeps it frozen for quite a while).

                                  1. re: Kunegunde

                                    I was at Bollywood yesterday. I go through the area once a week on biz, during the day. I liked their buffet lunch because it was very quick, and although inconsistent, sometimes really good dishes showed up. Alas, no more buffet. They moved to the "thali" model I have seen at some other Indian places. I got the meat thali, and came away unimpressed.

                                    Got some dishes off the dinner menu a few weeks ago. They were pretty good. for a suburban Indian place

                                    1. re: dg18aub

                                      If you like Indian food, another place to try is Kashmir in Salem NH. More authentic than Bollywood.
                                      I like Bollywood too, but Kashmir is a bit better to me.

                                      1. re: BlueMagic

                                        Kashmir now does a weekend buffet that's not bad at all, especially for $9.95. Not the biggest selection but everything I tried today was really good.
                                        My first plate was Rice, Saag Paneer, Eggplant, Chickpeas, Tandoori Chicken and fried bread. Everything was really tasty and the Eggplant packed some serious heat, especially for a buffet. The chickpea preparation was different as well with a bit of tartness. Tandoori Chicken was tasty and moist. The fried bread was new to me and really excellent and was supposed to go with the chickpeas but went well with everything.


                                        1. re: Ferrari328

                                          Funny you mention it..the fried bread and the chicken Tandoori are my favorites there. Did not know about the lunch buffet special since it's been some time since I've been to Salem so thanks for sharing.

                                  2. re: ParisLady

                                    I could really care less about the staff at Andover LIquors, for me its about the great selection ( old stock bourbon barrel aged, older viscosity, speedway stout, angel share, Firestone Walker XV, Sculpin...need i say more? Oh and if you buy 6 or more bombers you get 15% off...Market Basket is cool for Macros and maybe finest kind, or sierra nevada pale.

                                  3. re: BlueMagic

                                    Just an FYI - you'll never see USDA grading marked on the meat labels at Hilltop butcher shop and if you ask you won't get a clear answer. If I'm in the Saugus area, I'll hit Costco, best prices around.

                                    1. re: treb

                                      II believe it is not lawful in retail establishments to sell meat that is not Grade A. I have found the butchers at Hilltop very informative...but I guess everyone has their preference. I know one thing..the quality I get at either Hilltop or Thwaites is worlds better than at any supermarket ( with the exception of Whole Foods).

                                      1. re: treb

                                        It is illegal to sell meat that is not USDA grade A without labeling it as such. I find the quality of both Hilltop and Thwaites far better than anything purchased in a supermarket ( or chain). I have always found the butcher at Hilltop very informative and chatty.

                                        1. re: BlueMagic

                                          No doubt, Blue. I was referring to the sub grades of select, choice and prime. The price difference usually (but not always) gives it away. At some stores though the difference isn't enough to tell.

                                          I too like Hilltop but they sometimes have sold me select at what I consider a choice price, though just as often the other way around. McK's sells a lot of select at very good prices. And their choice prices are often terrific

                                          1. re: headmaster

                                            Hi Headmaster..okay. I get what you are saying. I actually don't buy beef or pork from Hilltop ( unless you count the breakfast sausages that my son loves..but I really never consider that stuff real meat..!).
                                            Also..I agree with Treb that Thwaites is in a totally different league. Thwaites is the only place I will buy beef or pork from. They just can't be beat..and since I don't eat a great deal of either beef or port..I am very picky when I buy it.

                                          2. re: BlueMagic

                                            Thwaites is in a totally different league, their food is excellent. BTW - with regard to Hilltop their meat is, of course, USDA graded but, the question is what grade. I've never seen Choice there.

                                      2. re: headmaster

                                        Thanks, I do enjoy the Vineyard for both wine and beer as well as Andover Liquors. Does the Mckinnon's in Salem have better quality than the one in Everett? I don't mind the marinaded steak tips and sausages, but the steaks and chops really do nothing for me. I have actually had great luck at Andover whole foods for steaks and chops. Love the filet's at Butcher Boy. We recently has a really good breakfast at Three Dogs in Lawrence, solid brisket and BBq sauce .

                                      3. Wow, no love yet for Mad Maggie's?! It's an ice cream place on 125, across from the airport and Butcher Boy. I find their base pretty good and their flavors good-to-exceptional. (In particular their coffee flavors actually have enough coffee, and their black raspberry variations are all standouts.)

                                        I realize ice cream is a somewhat (hah!) contentious topic, but they're worth a look. Website is at http://www.madmaggies.com/ ; the hours posted online aren't always current, though the flavor rundown is interesting reading.

                                        1. George's Bakery in Methuen is a wonderful Middle Eastern market similar to the ones in Watertown. They always have fresh pita bread, a variety of olives and numerous exotic packaged goods, cheeses. It's just over the Lawrence line, set back at the corner of Spruce St. You have to keep an eye out for it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: gracenote

                                            I agree..George's is good. For pita bread ( especially whole wheat)..I love Korbani's Bakery..also in Methuen.

                                          2. I lived in Andover for six years, and sympathize with your difficulty finding good food in the area. Two places I found reliable, both inexpensive and tasty, were:
                                            Shawsheen Lunch for fabulous breakfasts. Lots of variety, house-made hash rather than pried out of a can and warmed up, good eggs benedict, plus all the other American breakfast standards. Fast, efficient, capable service and relaxed atmosphere as well. Just get there before 10 a.m. on weekends or be prepared to wait. And remember they close at 2 p.m.
                                            Azteca on the green in Lawrence. Again reliable, this time Mexican. We always had chicken mole and chile rellenos, both always tasty.
                                            Good luck!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mcvole53

                                              +1 on Shawsheen Luncheonette. Also..recently tried their lunch and the food is just as good as the breakfast offerings.
                                              Cafe Azteca is someplace we order from on a regular basis at my office. I liked it enough until I tried Mexico Lindo in Methuen...they ruined me for all other Mexican food...really good and great service.

                                            2. I've lived in Andover for 12 years and can't figure out why our restaurant scene is so paltry. One name I've not seen on this thread is Joe Fish on Rt 133 in North Andover. They have the best oysters around, great mussels and if you want a lobster roll, order the Big Kahuna. It's big enough to share. Fish is well prepared. Beer and wine selection is adequate if not exciting.

                                              I've dropped a lot of funds on beer and wine over the years, mostly at Andover Liquors but more recently at Wine Sense, a tiny store adjacent to Whole Foods. Andrea (at AL) and Samantha (at WS) have very different paletes but both are good at what they do. I don't think I have ever seen as good a beer selection as the one at Andover Liquors.

                                              More recently, we've been going a bit farther afield and found The Ale House in Amesbury. Fantastic beer taps and bottle list. Food is a bit pubby but well prepared.

                                              But I still can't figure out why a town like Andover can't develop a more interesting restaurant scene. Andolini's is decent. Palmer's is a good pub atmosphere with good but not great food. Brasserie 23 started out great but the food hasn't kept pace and the wines are not at the level I'd expect for a wine bar. Samuel's at the Andover Inn is good. They have some great deals on wines by the glass. I could go on but you get the picture. I appreciated some of the suggestions for Asian food in Lowell. I'm going to hunt for those places.

                                              Good luck!

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: Essex County

                                                Essex County..that is a common complaint among many in Andover. If we had a restaurant for every bank..we'd have a wonderful selection. I actually heard that there will shortly be an am Indian Restaurant opening up in the old Shawsheen Plaza..but don't know if that is true or not.

                                                I love the food at Joe Fish. I rarely recommend it, however, because of the dozen or so times I've been there..in groups of varying size from 2-9...the service has been consistently less than stellar. I don't understand this since the service at the Loft next door is better and they are both owned by the same person. ( FYI..you can get the same lobster roll at The Loft..you can also get Lobster Mac&Cheese..I dined there last night and had the baby Lobster Mac & Cheese).

                                                I will be at Whole Foods later this afternoon and will have to check out WIne Sense...I have to admit, I have never noticed a liquor store adjacent to Whole Foods and I've been going there once a week or so for years. I am guessing it must be on the right if you are facing the store? I usually walk there so come in from the left.
                                                Palmers is "eh" and is more of a pick up place.
                                                You might like Keon's Grille at the Georgetown Country Club..not a far ride from Andover and great food and service.
                                                I agree Barsserie 28 is a big disappointment. Yella's is good.

                                                1. re: BlueMagic

                                                  Have to agree with Essex County about the scene. Also, I'd choose Shadi's over Yella. As for seafood, I'll travel to Gloucester, for basic old school Italian, I like Ralphies in Salem NH for a good honest burger, in another old school tavern scene, I like Century House in Peabody. Lastly, for some honest BBQ, I like Three Dogz in Lawrence. If you want more gourmet etc, you'll need to get out of town.

                                                  1. re: BlueMagic

                                                    Hope you found Wine Sense. If you're facing Whole Foods, it's behind you in that little group of yoga studios and nail salons. (oops. this was supposed to go under BlueMagic's post....but while I'm here...)

                                                    I've been to Ralphies a number of time. Good red sauce Italian. I haven't been to the Century House for many years but have a brother who swears by it. Gotta try Three Dogz too. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: Essex County

                                                      Give Shadi's a try, they have excellent raw kibbee, only on the week-ends, and good traditional arabic selections.

                                                      1. re: treb

                                                        I recently heard raving reviews about Shadi's....cant wait to try

                                                        1. re: lexpatti

                                                          sorry, but when i went to post a link for it, i found it has closed for good:


                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            Hi OpinionatedChef...not to worry. The info in that link you posted is outdated. While it's true that Shadi's original location closed due to a fire ( burned practically to the ground!)...Shadi's is alive and well in North Andover on rte. 125. They went into the old Cedar Crest location after Cedar Crest closed months ago.
                                                            I haven't been to Shadi's new location yet..but judging from the parking situation when I drive by a few times a week..they seem to be doing very well.

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              It recently took over this location in N. Andover, they used to be in Methuen. here's their website:


                                                        2. re: Essex County

                                                          I did find Wine Sense. So thanks. I was looking in the wrong place ..lol.

                                                          FYI 3 Dogz is now open for dinner on Saturday nights. They specialize in BBQ, but also added other things to the menu. I tried a half rack of the BBQ ribs last weekend. They were the best BBQ ribs I've ever had and very meaty. I took half of them home.

                                                          1. re: BlueMagic

                                                            Glad to hear you tried their Q, the ribs are quite meaty and huge. I was waiting for them to open for dinner again. First time I ordered a full rack, it was a full complete rack, I ate off them for 2 additional days.

                                                            BTW - your other post about Thwaites, I'd eat a hub cap if it had filling from them!

                                                            1. re: treb

                                                              When I was talking to one of the owners last week, she told us that they are planning to do a "food challenge". Free t-shirt if you can eat a full rack of ribs plus sides ( they may add more to it). My son will be first in line..based on what she's putting on the t-shirt..lol.

                                                              I agree about Thwaites. :-)

                                                      2. re: Essex County

                                                        I second the feeling that the Merrimack Valley is a vast wasteland when it comes to quality dining. However I agree that Joe Fish is the best prepared seafood around. A large menu means you can usually find something for everyone; beit fried or some innovative things

                                                      3. Casa Blanca in downtown Andover is serving breakfast on Sundays. You can get American or Mexican food and the Mexican is really good. Homemade chorizo, chillaquilles, roast pepper salsa- delicious!

                                                        1. Also, try Buono Bistro on Sutton St. I have only been there for lunch but their paninis are very good, and their house salad is excellent. Attractive room and bar also.

                                                          1. Stopped in at Thwaites yesterday, late afternoon to pick up a few things. I usually don't buy the pub pies on a regular basis, but I had missed lunch and was starving and glad to see they still hot pies left...but not the usual chicken that is my standby. Matt recommended the chicken parm pie so I went with that. Wow..I think that is my new favorite. Perfect ( late) lunch.