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The Area's Worst Food Towns

FinnFPM Oct 22, 2012 05:05 PM

Keeping up with the Acton/Concord thread -- and having recently moved to that area -- has made me wonder about the towns in the Greater Boston Area that literally do not have any good restaurants.

The board is home to many extensive travelers of the region; what are some of your votes for the Greater Boston Area's worst towns to eat out in?

I'd like to nominate Littleton. It's a cute place, has a commuter rail station, and is highly accessible via both Route 2 and Route 495, but it's a restaurant wasteland. There are, I think, three sit-down places: Tre Amici, a yawny steak-and-shrimp Italian sort of place; Chip Shots, a sports bar and grill that seems to be named after their little golf simulation arcade games; and Yangtze River Restaurant, a run-of-the-mill American Chinese place, where the locals get General Gao's chicken with steamed broccoli (but they probably throw away the broccoli).

There's also the Littleton Sub Shop, a place that makes Pizza Hut look line fine dining. The town's saving grace is probably Spring Dell Farm, which has a nice market where they sell a bunch of their own produce, baked goods, etc.

The other towns around it -- Ayer, Groton, Westford, etc -- all have at least one place a diner would be happy to go to eat.

Let's get some other nominations; teach us about places on our maps that we should ignore 'til further notice!

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  1. MC Slim JB RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 04:55 AM

    I thought Westord was a wasteland when I worked there not long ago.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. Bob Dobalina RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 05:06 AM

      What about that old timey independent doughnut shop on 2A? Thought that was in Littleton - any good?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina
        FinnFPM RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 23, 2012 05:29 AM

        I'm unfamiliar with any place matching this description, but am certainly curious as to whether or not it exists.

        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          Kat RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 23, 2012 05:48 AM

          What old time donut shop? What was it near? I would love a good donut shop in this area.

          1. re: Kat
            Bob Dobalina RE: Kat Oct 23, 2012 06:03 AM

            Sorry, the place I am thinking of must not be in Littleton - maybe further up the road on 119.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              FinnFPM RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 23, 2012 06:15 AM

              Are you thinking of Donut Shack in Lowell, maybe? That's on 3A.

              http://www.yelp.com/biz/donut-shack-l...

              1. re: FinnFPM
                Bob Dobalina RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 06:24 AM

                Found it - I was headed in the right direction...

                Gourmet Donuts in Townsend. http://www.gourmetdonuts.com/

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  Kat RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 23, 2012 07:00 AM

                  Hey, thanks! Great to know there is something good out that way!

        2. hiddenboston RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 06:12 AM

          Probably Carlisle, because other than the sandwich place in the center, there aren't any places for food (except for seasonal ice cream). Dover is pretty bad as well. Actually, does Dover even have a place to eat?

          2 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston
            l
            loper RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 06:40 AM

            The irony behind the discussion of Carlisle, Westford, etc.... is that while there isn't a restaurant scene to speak of, the abundance of local farms can make it a fabulous area for food from the perspective of someone who cooks at home. And it's easy enough to get to Cambridge for a night out. (In the case of Carlisle, there is talk of a buyer for the dilapidated property next to Fern's trying to put a restaurant in it's former barn space, so someday we might get an option other than weird pizza, sandwiches and ice cream.)

            1. re: hiddenboston
              FinnFPM RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 06:45 AM

              Supposedly! Dover does look like a good suggestion though.

              http://dovercafeanddeli.com/

              http://www.yelp.com/biz/isabellas-ita...

              We all love really good hole-in-the-wall joints, but I'm often just as curious about the really bad or just totally unheard of ones, and I feel like there are probably restaurants or food-service places in these towns that are barely even discoverable on the internet. These places are a big part of the region's food culture and I'm a little bit fascinated by them. They tell stories about how people around here eat: someone, after all, supports these places and keeps them in business. They're just the voices we tend never to hear from.

            2. s
              ScotchandSirloin RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 06:34 AM

              Charlestown, which is really inexcusable given it is in the city. Unless you want to eat at the new Olives, otherwise known as Even Worse Olives, it is a wasteland. Which is strange because there are so many yuppies there who want to pay for restaurants.

              14 Replies
              1. re: ScotchandSirloin
                d
                drbangha RE: ScotchandSirloin Oct 23, 2012 07:31 AM

                Everyone I know who lives in Charleston says they love it, and then say they love it subject to this substantial exception.

                1. re: ScotchandSirloin
                  k
                  Klunco RE: ScotchandSirloin Oct 23, 2012 12:37 PM

                  My brother lived in Charlestown and I always found both the Warren Tavern and Figs solid, especially compared to some of the places in these other suburbs.

                  At the same time, with Kendall Square exploding, most of my Charlestown friends don't mind that there isn't much.

                  1. re: Klunco
                    d
                    drbangha RE: Klunco Oct 23, 2012 04:02 PM

                    Interesting. What do you mean by your last paragraph?

                    1. re: drbangha
                      k
                      Klunco RE: drbangha Oct 24, 2012 04:25 AM

                      Sorry for the confusion. I meant that with all the restaurants opening in Kendall/Area 4 my friends don't mind driving 5 minutes for a whole host of food options. Even though it's a different town it's probably a shorter drive than driving from one side of a suburb to another.

                      1. re: Klunco
                        FinnFPM RE: Klunco Oct 24, 2012 04:49 AM

                        This is precisely why no place on the subway can really qualify for this discussion. It is the great equalizer.

                        1. re: FinnFPM
                          s
                          ScotchandSirloin RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 06:30 AM

                          I think it is just a different question. People who live in the city (many don't have cars) expect to be able to walk to things (let's say 10 min walk) the same way people in the suburbs expect to be able to drive to things close to them (again maybe 10 min drive is what I thought was "nearby" when living in the burbs). Most of Charlestown is not actually close to the T and cabs are not nearly as prevelant as downtown, only great option is to walk back over the bridge and into the North End.

                          1. re: ScotchandSirloin
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                            pemma RE: ScotchandSirloin Oct 24, 2012 06:47 AM

                            Paolo's Trattoria in Charlestown is pretty good, but admittedly I haven't been there in a while. How's Tangier? Most of the places in Charlestown are clustered by down by City Square, the rest of the Town is pretty devoid of restaurants. You'd think there would be more, spread out elsewhere. One explanation -- although there are a lot of "yuppies/toonies" there, there is still a very large portion of the population living in subsidized housing and projects.

                  2. re: ScotchandSirloin
                    p
                    phatchris RE: ScotchandSirloin Oct 24, 2012 07:44 AM

                    Navy Yard Bistro and Tavern at the End of the World both do what they do very well.

                    1. re: phatchris
                      Beachowolfe RE: phatchris Oct 29, 2012 02:13 PM

                      Google does confirm that Tavern at the End of the World is Charlestown but that's a tough walk from the rest of the neighborhood.

                      I went to Tangierino for RW a few years ago, it was pretty good and has a cool hookah bar downstairs. Doesn't ever get mentioned here for some reason or other.

                      1. re: Beachowolfe
                        k
                        Klunco RE: Beachowolfe Oct 29, 2012 02:22 PM

                        I found Tangierino mediocre and overpriced. Good North African food is one of the things I miss most about France. For my North African cravings, I prefer Café Baraka. That said, besides Tangierino I don't think there are any other Moroccan restaurants in Boston, so they have that going for them.

                        1. re: Klunco
                          Beachowolfe RE: Klunco Oct 29, 2012 02:46 PM

                          I couldn't tell you what I ate but I remember being happy (maybe it was a rack of lamb?). Also didn't pay $35 for my main course because it was RW, that may have affected my perception.

                          However, it's the only Moroccan restaurant i've ever been to so it may be completely off-the-mark inefficient.

                          How would you feel if the price range there was $18-26 instead of $31-44. ($44! ouch)

                          1. re: Beachowolfe
                            Beachowolfe RE: Beachowolfe Oct 29, 2012 06:12 PM

                            think I was looking for "unauthentic" not sure how "inefficient" came out. Wish I could blame that on auto correct.

                            1. re: Beachowolfe
                              k
                              Klunco RE: Beachowolfe Oct 29, 2012 08:01 PM

                              No worries, I get what you're saying. I just looked at the menu and it seems they have changed directions since I last went. Whereas before they were more traditional Moroccan now they are Moroccan/"Chop House" It almost seems like they're going for a sort of Moroccan Oleana by way of a steak house type deal. I can't judge the new menu since I haven't been and I wouldn't say the new menu draws me in.

                              As far as more traditional Moroccan food, I'd say that $18-26 would be more in line with what I would hope prices would be. That said, there are a lot of variables that go along with prices so it may be a bit moot to throw out those kind of arbitrary numbers. I will say this though, you can eat very well at a number of Moroccan restaurants in the Philadelphia or DC areas for that price. Personally, I think charging $28 for a classic Couscous is setting a pretty high bar.

                        2. re: Beachowolfe
                          m
                          Madrid RE: Beachowolfe Oct 29, 2012 05:38 PM

                          The staff at Tavern at the end of the world told me the name is from the fact that they are just a few feet away from the somerville line on that side of the street. I think most people think it's in Somerville and that part of western Charlestown is so at the "edge" if not the "end" that it might as well not be in Charlestown at all.

                    2. Trumpetguy RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 06:54 AM

                      Rockland, MA :(

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: Trumpetguy
                        FinnFPM RE: Trumpetguy Oct 23, 2012 07:13 AM

                        I see a few places on Yelp: Anita Marie's, Little Bangkok, Bella's, Mike's Pizzeria...

                        no good?

                        1. re: FinnFPM
                          Trumpetguy RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 07:28 AM

                          Have not been inspired to try those... Mike's doesn't look good...Bella's looks like its for blue hairs, but I know some people liked it, years back... Thai food, I love, but am picky and don't enjoy sweet, americanized Thai food.

                        2. re: Trumpetguy
                          hiddenboston RE: Trumpetguy Oct 23, 2012 07:48 AM

                          Rockland is bar pizza country, so there are some options for those of us who like to clog our arteries and mess up our livers at the same time.

                          1. re: hiddenboston
                            Trumpetguy RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 08:15 AM

                            Where in Rockland?

                            1. re: Trumpetguy
                              hiddenboston RE: Trumpetguy Oct 23, 2012 08:38 AM

                              Players and Bella's are two that come to mind, and O'Hurley's, I think? These are all second-hand, as I've never been to them, but I've heard people rave about Bella's pizza.

                              1. re: hiddenboston
                                Trumpetguy RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 08:47 AM

                                Wow--I live across the street from O'Hurleys, except it's now called Rock Vegas :0- Never tried any of those--Players? Wow! Never thought to set foot in that place :) I am skeptical :)

                                1. re: Trumpetguy
                                  hiddenboston RE: Trumpetguy Oct 23, 2012 09:32 AM

                                  Maybe we should all do a Chow crawl to these places. :-)

                                  1. re: hiddenboston
                                    FinnFPM RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 09:42 AM

                                    Those places in Rockland are another reason I'm interested in this topic: to learn about the places that Hounds live right near and have either a) have never tried or b) eat frequently at out of quiet, shamed convenience. What's a restaurant lover do when he's not at a place he loves?

                                    We all live near more nondescript/bad places than good, because there quite simply are many more nondescript/bad places than good. It's one thing to have a certain kind of relationship with a "destination" restaurant we travel to, but our relationships with the 99%, so to speak, are much more varied and oftentimes more interesting.

                                    1. re: hiddenboston
                                      Trumpetguy RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 09:53 AM

                                      I am in!

                              2. re: hiddenboston
                                s
                                Swankalicious RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 08:19 AM

                                Westford boasts the excellent Bamboo, as well as the very luscious Westford Deli (called Metropolitan Deli also). But it's a locals-only kind of place. Also, Pauls' Diner is very good (en route to Carlisle, in fact!). Also in Westford is Kimball Farm, with yummy fried seafood and ice cream.

                                1. re: Swankalicious
                                  justbeingpolite RE: Swankalicious Oct 23, 2012 02:22 PM

                                  I've heard good things about Belle's Bistro in Westford, just haven't gotten there yet.

                                  1. re: justbeingpolite
                                    m
                                    musicman RE: justbeingpolite Oct 23, 2012 02:33 PM

                                    I had also heard very good things about Belle's, but was underwhelmed during our one visit. I do like Karma in Westford. Their sushi chefs turn out some pretty good stuff, especially the salmon ceviche.

                              3. re: Trumpetguy
                                p
                                Pegmeister RE: Trumpetguy Oct 23, 2012 04:50 PM

                                It's been awhile but the bar pizzas at Bella's were always good. I do miss Not Just Seafood though. So, guess you're right. Sorry , just for clarification I meant to link this to the Rockland post.

                              4. BuffaloJill RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 09:19 AM

                                I think Wellesley has a very poor restaurant selection, especially given its available clientele. The only real quality restaurant is Blue Ginger. Figs is gone, and unfortunate recent additions include Upper Crust and Boloco.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: BuffaloJill
                                  Science Chick RE: BuffaloJill Oct 23, 2012 09:33 AM

                                  Not a restaurant, per se, but Wellesley is lucky to have Quebrada bakery! Good bakery chow....

                                  1. re: BuffaloJill
                                    hiddenboston RE: BuffaloJill Oct 23, 2012 09:34 AM

                                    Wellesley actually has a few decent restaurants, including Cafe Mangal.

                                    1. re: BuffaloJill
                                      r
                                      RockinChef RE: BuffaloJill Oct 23, 2012 09:53 AM

                                      Blue Ginger has taken a significant dive in quality. Hope it improves.

                                      1. re: RockinChef
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                                        Gordough RE: RockinChef Oct 23, 2012 10:18 AM

                                        Wellesley is also fortunate to have a superb sandwich place in the Linden Store. Not to mention solid fish at Captain Mardens and meat at Dewars. Not to mention nearly every single local ice cream place you could want. Not to mention respectable suburban Chinese, Thai and Japanese. Not to mention pretty good Italian at Alta Strada. One thing Wellesley sorely lacks is decent pizza.

                                        How about Weston? Beyond a Bruegger's and a lousy supermarket and pizza place, there is zilch.

                                        1. re: Gordough
                                          hiddenboston RE: Gordough Oct 23, 2012 11:26 AM

                                          Yeah, Weston has next to nothing. Also, Nahant--other than The Tides (which is better for drinks than food, IMO), there is very little there.

                                          1. re: hiddenboston
                                            p
                                            phatchris RE: hiddenboston Oct 24, 2012 07:45 AM

                                            You can throw Swampscott in that mix as well

                                            1. re: phatchris
                                              FinnFPM RE: phatchris Oct 24, 2012 07:48 AM

                                              Swampscott was good enough for the Five Guys folks though, eh?

                                              1. re: FinnFPM
                                                p
                                                phatchris RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 08:13 AM

                                                It's full of chains, 5 guys, Uno, Panera, Bertrucci's

                                          2. re: Gordough
                                            g
                                            Gabatta RE: Gordough Oct 23, 2012 01:16 PM

                                            also Tutto Italiano, and Wasick's cheese shop...

                                            1. re: Gabatta
                                              nsenada RE: Gabatta Oct 23, 2012 03:04 PM

                                              And I really like Singh's Cafe a lot for Indian/Kebabs.

                                            2. re: Gordough
                                              f
                                              Foodie_BBQ RE: Gordough Oct 24, 2012 06:15 AM

                                              There's a good prepared food / deli called Off Centre in Weston. Also, Coach Grill is right on the line with Wayland. For a tiny town center, that's not bad.

                                        2. h
                                          hargau RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 11:25 AM

                                          How about Harvard?? There is a Sorrentos and another pizza joint.. i think thats it.. at least littleton has a few places to get something and you have kimballs not far away and some places in Acton.

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: hargau
                                            FinnFPM RE: hargau Oct 23, 2012 11:46 AM

                                            Harvard is pretty bad, yes. We went apple picking there last weekend -- orchards were great, but there doesn't appear to be much else in town. The General Store was funny; great-looking rustic building that stocked a lot of like, candy and Cheez-its.

                                            How is Sorrento's?

                                            1. re: hargau
                                              hiddenboston RE: hargau Oct 23, 2012 12:24 PM

                                              Definitely Harvard, though I love going to the country store at Westward Orchards. They have really good donuts, and I think they have some sandwiches there as well.

                                              1. re: hiddenboston
                                                s
                                                steve999 RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 06:16 PM

                                                Harvard General Store (on 111) has George Howell coffee, decent beer, wine, pasta, and other goods. Also around 15-20 individual flavors of Jelly Belly's by the pound.

                                                1. re: hiddenboston
                                                  trufflehound RE: hiddenboston Oct 23, 2012 10:02 PM

                                                  Stow too

                                                  1. re: trufflehound
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                                                    phatchris RE: trufflehound Oct 24, 2012 07:48 AM

                                                    And Bolton

                                                    1. re: phatchris
                                                      FinnFPM RE: phatchris Oct 24, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                      I've heard good things about J's at Nashoba Valley, and The Fireplace Room...

                                                      Speaking of Bolton, did you get to try Local 225? I heard a couple of opinions saying that it was astoundingly good. I'm curious about whether they'll expand it...

                                                      http://www.local225bbq.com/index.html

                                                    2. re: trufflehound
                                                      FinnFPM RE: trufflehound Oct 24, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                      One day I'll get out to Stow and see about that infamous Kale Eggs Benedict...

                                                      1. re: trufflehound
                                                        maillard RE: trufflehound Oct 24, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                        Stow and Maynard are awful. I'm not even looking for anything exciting or fancy. Just something okay.

                                                        1. re: maillard
                                                          MrsCheese RE: maillard Oct 25, 2012 07:20 AM

                                                          Maynard isn't that bad. I mean, not a dining destination, but not as bad as some. The chicken tagine at river rock grill is very good, though the couscous that comes with it is flavorless. The Thai place isn't bad (the good one, not the bad one). And hey, there's always halfway cafe. :-)
                                                          I've also wondered about el huipil but haven't been yet.

                                                          1. re: MrsCheese
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                                                            Foodie_BBQ RE: MrsCheese Oct 25, 2012 11:59 AM

                                                            I agree that Maynard does not make this list...

                                                            Thai Chili is the "good" Thai restaurant in Maynard. Their ramen that comes with lunch is excellent. The other Thai restaurant is totally average. El Huipel is fine, but not destination worthy. The Indian restaurant (Monsoon?) is also at the ok level. I've never been, but people used to rave about Cast Iron Kitchen. Still the case? Blue Coyote is also very good for a local bar/grill spot. Beyond that there are lots of lunch spots to support those that work at the mill.

                                                            1. re: Foodie_BBQ
                                                              MrsCheese RE: Foodie_BBQ Oct 25, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                              Thanks, I can never keep the names of Thai restaurants straight. Cast Iron Kitchen went way downhill, but now they're under new ownership, so I can't speak to the quality these days, maybe it's improved.

                                                        2. re: trufflehound
                                                          Kat RE: trufflehound Oct 24, 2012 12:03 PM

                                                          Yes, Stow is food awful. Papa Ginos, DD and bad Chinese at Red Ginger. Have tried it three times and the best was just meh. However, all three times they managed to get our orders wrong.

                                                          1. re: Kat
                                                            hiddenboston RE: Kat Oct 24, 2012 01:42 PM

                                                            A few south-of-Boston spots--Plympton, Halifax, Carver, Sharon, and Holbrook.

                                                            1. re: hiddenboston
                                                              Trumpetguy RE: hiddenboston Oct 25, 2012 08:15 AM

                                                              Sharon has Schezuan Gourmet--off the list!

                                                              1. re: Trumpetguy
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                                                                Foodie_BBQ RE: Trumpetguy Oct 25, 2012 11:50 AM

                                                                I'm from Sharon, and didn't add it due to SG, plus:

                                                                Indian - Coriander
                                                                Coffee/Pastries - French Memories (sister to Cafe Vanille)
                                                                Mangia - Good pizza finally!
                                                                Charlies - Hole in the wall jewish style deli that's very good food (if a bit rundown).
                                                                Mick Morgans is also technically in Sharon (sandwiched between Walpole and Foxboro on Rte. 1) and is a decent bar for a small chain.

                                                                Tough to complain with that list for a small town that had almost none of those places 5 years ago.

                                                                1. re: Foodie_BBQ
                                                                  FinnFPM RE: Foodie_BBQ Oct 25, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                                  Interesting... at about 18k population, Sharon's bigger than I thought it was. It makes me hopeful to see towns outside of 93 that are seeing a lot of restaurant growth. Thanks for the details!

                                                              2. re: hiddenboston
                                                                t
                                                                T.Clark RE: hiddenboston Oct 25, 2012 10:57 AM

                                                                If you find yourself stuck in cranberry country, Little Red Smokehouse BBQ in Craver (Cahva) ain't half bad.

                                                                http://www.littleredsmokehouse.com/lrsh/

                                                                And If your Berkenstocks lead you to Plympton, Just Right Farm is worth a look. I did not dine there this year, I'm not much of a communal table kind-o-guy, but I did hear it was very good. Not really a restaurant but a garden-to-screened in porch and BYOB kind of deal.

                                                                http://justrightfarm.com

                                                      2. pinehurst RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 11:29 AM

                                                        I'll have to say Methuen. There's a good turkey farm and a decent Italian bakery/deli, but beyond that, it's a nightmare of chains and pizza places. Apart from Thwaite's, there's nothing outstanding or drive-worthy.

                                                        1. b
                                                          Blumie RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 01:07 PM

                                                          I vote for Concord because it's a town in which you'd expect there to be a quality restaurant, and there just isn't!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Blumie
                                                            hiddenboston RE: Blumie Oct 23, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                            That could change. My sources say a big-time restaurant is coming to Concord Center. :-)

                                                            1. re: Blumie
                                                              h
                                                              hargau RE: Blumie Oct 23, 2012 01:45 PM

                                                              I like Asia Gourmet in Concord

                                                              1. re: hargau
                                                                MrsCheese RE: hargau Oct 25, 2012 07:21 AM

                                                                Love it!

                                                              2. re: Blumie
                                                                m
                                                                musicman RE: Blumie Oct 23, 2012 02:35 PM

                                                                80 Thoreau is actually pretty good, but after that... Many of us would welcome another option, so HiddenBoston's post is pretty exciting. Asia Gourmet's been a mixed bag.

                                                                1. re: musicman
                                                                  l
                                                                  loper RE: musicman Oct 23, 2012 04:15 PM

                                                                  I think what Concord needs isn't the craigslist-promised big time boston restaurant (already made my call on that one), but a small, creative, chef-run place w/ a bit of quirk factor going on, a la Strip-T's or Nudel (lenox).

                                                                  And a Cutty's for lunch after a bike ride.

                                                              3. ipsofatso RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 04:36 PM

                                                                Essex, MA

                                                                So many places, not very good overall.

                                                                1. n
                                                                  newhound RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 05:38 PM

                                                                  Duxbury. Though I haven't tried the taco stand, it's pretty grim down there.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: newhound
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                                                                    Swankalicious RE: newhound Oct 23, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                                    A Nudel-like shop would be a phenomenal addition to Concord. I could see it going right next to the Cheese Shop. Yum, yum.

                                                                    1. re: Swankalicious
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                                                                      ParisLady RE: Swankalicious Oct 23, 2012 06:44 PM

                                                                      Swank: I have had an incredibly loooong day. When I first read your post I thought that I read a "nude shop"...too funny for me. BUT I bet it might go over big time next to the cheese store :)

                                                                  2. trufflehound RE: FinnFPM Oct 23, 2012 10:01 PM

                                                                    Framingham, being the larget town in the country has so few independants and so few decent restaurants, Where's a 'burban guy to eat? Kens? Chicken Bone? At least there is Sichuan Gourmet and La Cantina.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: trufflehound
                                                                      h
                                                                      hargau RE: trufflehound Oct 23, 2012 10:53 PM

                                                                      hey at least you can eat there and in many of these towns!!

                                                                      1. re: trufflehound
                                                                        MC Slim JB RE: trufflehound Oct 24, 2012 07:20 PM

                                                                        Are there no good Brazilian places in Framingham?

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                          trufflehound RE: MC Slim JB Oct 25, 2012 07:36 AM

                                                                          I like a couple of the bakeries, Tacos e Papusa, a Columbian place, and then some. I was referring more towards the rt 9 center and north side.

                                                                      2. p
                                                                        phatchris RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 07:51 AM

                                                                        The Andovers

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: phatchris
                                                                          m
                                                                          missfoodie RE: phatchris Oct 24, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                          I nominate Nahant.

                                                                          1. re: phatchris
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                                                                            treb RE: phatchris Oct 25, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                            Totally, and sad. However, there's Lawrence!

                                                                          2. Small Plates RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 08:22 AM

                                                                            My home town Wilmington - home to the 99, a handful of unmemorable pizza/sub shops, Bill & Bob's Roast Beef, Michael's Place (in the sub shop category), Rocco's (actually OK), and the forgettable Foccacia. New owners are taking over Royal Dynasty, and they reportedly have other successful outlets. Will be happy to see them take over!

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Small Plates
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                                                                              T.B. RE: Small Plates Oct 24, 2012 11:27 AM

                                                                              You beat me to nominating Wilmington so I'll just second it. Thankfully there are now good options in neighboring towns, but the biggest local improvement recently has been the Heav'nly Donuts opening. Just hope they can compete with the 4 (or is it 5?) Dunkies already in-town.

                                                                              Great news about the Royal Die-Nasty and I've also heard that Rocco's is okay. Oh hey, don't forget the Sonic and Panera! We've even got a Starbucks now!

                                                                              I cook at home a lot.

                                                                              1. re: T.B.
                                                                                FinnFPM RE: T.B. Oct 24, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                Dunkin' Donuts is the scourge of a lot of these little towns. Towns with barely a handful of restaurants somehow manage to have four Dunkin' Donuts locations. They attach themselves to convenience stores and gas stations like cancerous growths. Ugh. They are the Wal-Mart of New England Food. Towns should ban them.

                                                                                1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                  maillard RE: FinnFPM Oct 25, 2012 04:31 AM

                                                                                  I completely disagree. :) Actually, I mostly disagree. There are too many Dunkin' Donuts, but it's not like there were tons of mom & pop coffee shops that were closed down by the arrival of DD. And if the DD all closed down, where would one get coffee in these towns? I would happily trade Dunkin' Donuts for an independently owned coffee shop that served decent coffee, but if the choice is Dunkin' or nothing? Definitely not.

                                                                                  1. re: maillard
                                                                                    FinnFPM RE: maillard Oct 25, 2012 05:41 AM

                                                                                    I know, I know, it's me being elitist, especially concerning a product like coffee. It's not like there are a bunch of Ethiopians around making it like they did in the old country. Still, the existence of Dunkin' Donuts does create certain additional barriers to enter the market for small breakfast restaurants. It's a point that was made a few times in the Acton/Concord thread: clearly there is enough demand here to sustain a bunch of restaurants, so why the hell can't we get something GOOD?

                                                                            2. h
                                                                              hargau RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                              I find it amusing how people list places like Framingham or list towns and then list a dozen places that are not good or chains.. Heck if my town had a McDs it would improve the dining scene by 1000% !!! I think when the original poster posted about nothing to eat, they meant it, that seriously is every place in that town including chains, etc.. Actually littleton does have a subway too! lol Harvard has 2 pizza joints, nothing else unless you are counting the jelly beans at the general store..

                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                              1. re: hargau
                                                                                p
                                                                                phatchris RE: hargau Oct 24, 2012 05:00 PM

                                                                                How about Boxford? can't think of a single restaurant.

                                                                                1. re: phatchris
                                                                                  FinnFPM RE: phatchris Oct 24, 2012 07:08 PM

                                                                                  According to Yelp, it has the "Boxford House of Pizza!"

                                                                                  Sounds tantalizing. I bet it's the exact same pizza you can get in a lot of these places.

                                                                                  1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                    hiddenboston RE: FinnFPM Oct 25, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                                    I think Boxford has a little cafe in the center of town, unless it closed.

                                                                                    1. re: hiddenboston
                                                                                      Infomaniac RE: hiddenboston Oct 25, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                                                      The Boxford Community Store you may be thinking of for soups and sandwiches, and also Far Corners Golf Course for lunch however; I think the club house with the restaurant part is located across the border in Haverhill.

                                                                                  2. re: phatchris
                                                                                    t
                                                                                    treb RE: phatchris Oct 25, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                                    It's a snooze town. No business per se.

                                                                                  3. re: hargau
                                                                                    FinnFPM RE: hargau Oct 24, 2012 07:08 PM

                                                                                    Yes, some people (like you) certainly understood the nature of my question more than others. I'm trying to have a little exploratory session on the towns in the region that go completely unmentioned on these boards, because every town, no matter how bad, has SOMETHING. But what are those somethings? What food do they serve? Who goes there to eat? A "Chowhound" should pay attention to all food. He (or she) doesn't have to love it all, but he should have an appreciation for it; like it or not, a lot of people eat at these places, and in many instances there are few or no other options. They have owners and histories and stories. It's chowish to someone, somewhere.

                                                                                    So yes, a town like Framingham is a bad suggestion, and it completely misses the point of the conversation. A town like Harvard is a great example; I passed, last time I was in there, on having the overcaffeinated kid behind the counter whip me up a latte. Do they ever have Taza there?

                                                                                    Hiddenboston has mentioned a few other good places, though I wish we were hearing more specifics about these dead-in-the-water towns. Anyone who has personal knowledge of these places is encouraged to chime in!

                                                                                    1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                      ipsofatso RE: FinnFPM Oct 24, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                                                      If a place has NO FOOD it can't also have the WORST food. Boxford MA and Harvard MA are not about The Food so who cares? Take a FOOD DESTINATION like Essex, MA or which has really mediocre chow....and WORSE....but many weak choices.........make it THE WORST food per SF of tepid restaurant choices.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                        FinnFPM RE: ipsofatso Oct 25, 2012 02:57 AM

                                                                                        Who cares about the food in Harvard? Probably the people living in and around Harvard.

                                                                                        1. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                          p
                                                                                          phatchris RE: ipsofatso Oct 25, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                          People go to Essex for more than fried clams?

                                                                                          1. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                            p
                                                                                            phatchris RE: ipsofatso Oct 25, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                            I took it as worst food town, not town with the worst food.In any case I was in North Andover for a year and while there were options, the vast majority just sucked.

                                                                                            1. re: phatchris
                                                                                              hiddenboston RE: phatchris Oct 25, 2012 09:53 AM

                                                                                              Harrison's Roast Beef is pretty good, but yeah, not much else in North Andover.

                                                                                            2. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                              t
                                                                                              treb RE: ipsofatso Oct 25, 2012 08:50 AM

                                                                                              Why do you say Essex is a food destination? cus of Woodman's?? I don't look at Essex that way. Go a few miles up 133 to Gloucester.

                                                                                              1. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                cambridgedoctpr RE: ipsofatso Oct 25, 2012 12:29 PM

                                                                                                i hear that the clam shacks such as Woodman's are good though i have not gotten there.

                                                                                                and i think that they are byob.

                                                                                                1. re: ipsofatso
                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                  hyde RE: ipsofatso Oct 29, 2012 02:43 PM

                                                                                                  @ ipsofatso:

                                                                                                  agree with this reading of the question, which is why i did not comment on my hometown of sherborn.

                                                                                                  a little inn place, a touch overpriced and dull and a little independent burger place (which used to be Brewster's but current name escapes me) which was ok to get your kids something after swimming in farm pond but thats ALL of it.

                                                                                                  just too small a town to sustain any business with framingham and natick next door.

                                                                                                  1. re: hyde
                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                    rshock RE: hyde Nov 7, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                                                    C&L Frosty's is the burger place, and it's underrated IMHO. Flat top burgers/fries/ice cream/etc with picnic tables outside. Their ice cream is meh, but I'm a fan of their burgers. Sherborn also has the Sherborn Sandwich Shop which has pretty decent sandwiches, or at least it did many years ago. But you're right, that is ALL of it.

                                                                                            3. s
                                                                                              spectra21 RE: FinnFPM Nov 6, 2012 04:37 PM

                                                                                              Very amused by this thread - thanks to FinnFPM for starting it. Wanted to add a comment to the OP's point about Littleton - agree about the lack of options, but have found that Yangtze River's "traditional Chinese" menu is more acceptable than their Americanized Chinese food (which was really gross in my opinion from my one try at their buffet). This traditional menu is only written in Chinese on their website, and I had received a separate bilingual insert listing the same dishes when I had dined at the restasurant. For takeout, I have tried their Chicken with Chinese Egg Plant Casseraole, Seafood Casserole, Imperial Ribs, and Sliced Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables. The seafood and ribs dish were the better of that bunch. I will probably try other dishes off this menu in the future.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: spectra21
                                                                                                FinnFPM RE: spectra21 Nov 7, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                                                                That's a great, great tip. I always see a lot of Chinese people eating at the restaurant, and I've been confused as to why: the Americanized stuff, as you say, just isn't that good. I never even clicked on the Mandarin section of the website because the character don't render in my browser, so I didn't even notice it.

                                                                                                Can you get the traditional Mandarin dishes as take-out? We'll have to go in-person and try picking some things off this menu. Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                  hargau RE: FinnFPM Nov 7, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                  As much as i like good/authentic Chinese, i say DONT.. Screw them, they dont want your business, they have made that clear. I have been there a few times, years ago.. Once for the horrible buffet that was mostly celery and mostly empty/cold, and at least 2x to give the menu a try. Always horrible. There are plenty of other places that have the courtesy to offer all their offerings to everyone and to not discriminate.

                                                                                                  1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    spectra21 RE: FinnFPM Nov 7, 2012 06:31 PM

                                                                                                    FinnFPM - yes I've ordered these dishes as takeout with no problem. I will also try to upload the bilingual trad menu here. Again don't expect out of this world, but definitely WAY better than their buffet food.

                                                                                                    1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      spectra21 RE: FinnFPM Nov 9, 2012 06:04 PM

                                                                                                      Here it is below:

                                                                                                      1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                        spectra21 RE: FinnFPM Nov 9, 2012 06:08 PM

                                                                                                        This is the Yangtze River traditional Chinese menu.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1. re: spectra21
                                                                                                          FinnFPM RE: spectra21 Nov 11, 2012 05:26 AM

                                                                                                          Most excellent! Thank you.

                                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                                      janzy RE: FinnFPM Nov 8, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                                                      Moved to Marshfield 2 years ago,on the whole the few restaurants here suck.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: janzy
                                                                                                        FinnFPM RE: janzy Nov 8, 2012 12:45 PM

                                                                                                        What are your feelings on Arthur & Pat's?

                                                                                                        1. re: FinnFPM
                                                                                                          Trumpetguy RE: FinnFPM Nov 8, 2012 06:39 PM

                                                                                                          Does not suck in the least!

                                                                                                      2. h
                                                                                                        hfhifi RE: FinnFPM Dec 10, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                                                                        I think Framingham is awful. Other than Sichuan Gourmet, everyplace else is bad chain food or poor local joints. Before you guys say "what about Sel de la Terre or other places" on Route 9, look carefully and you will note that most of what SEEMS to be Framingham is actually Natick. Framingham must give out liquor licenses like they are going out of style because even the dives serve alcohol

                                                                                                        1. 5
                                                                                                          5thAndNowhere RE: FinnFPM Dec 10, 2012 01:17 PM

                                                                                                          Lexington. Considering the town's flush demographic you'd think there'd be better restaurants. Arlington and Waltham have far better offerings. Kushboo is great, like Yangtze for Chinese (used to love), and godblessem for trying something like Nourish, but it aint good.

                                                                                                          have yet to check out the new Vine Brook, but will.

                                                                                                          1. s
                                                                                                            southie_chick RE: FinnFPM Dec 10, 2012 06:49 PM

                                                                                                            I'm glad I work in Boston - so many good places to grab all kinds of good food. Unfortunately, I live in Merrimack, NH - there's really no place to go for good food there (but Nashua is just 15 minutes up the road & there's plenty of options there).

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