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Underwhelmed by Dairy Joy

Hit it last night.

My SO had the burger and was quite happy with it.

My kids had the hot dog, which came on a nicely butter griddled roll (sadly my daughter ate the dog and had no interest in the roll) and a grill cheese. Both of which were fine.

We also had a side of fries. They were some pre-coated variety but came un-salted and were somehow oddly flavorless even with salt and ketchup. Plain old Sysco would have been better.

We also had onion rings which clearly came out of a Sysco pouch and were oddly card-boardy AND flavorless. Burger King's are way better. These were almost inedible.

I had the haddock sandwich. I wondered why it too tasted so carboardy and flavorless. I just realized, it tasted like they bought the fish prebattered/breaded frozen and threw it in the fryer. Just no flavor, no fresh fish-ness, nearly tasted like a fish stick.

Compared to the AMAZING fish sandwiches at Twin, which I have raved about, this was just slightly better than public school lunchroom fish sandwiches of my youth. Not totally horrible, but nothing I would ever eat again.

Soft serve was good as usual, and really like the dark chocolately chocolate dip shell coating. Best version of that I've had.

Moral of the story, stick to the burgers, dogs, and ice cream.

As an aside, I was gonna get fried clams, but the small side order was $28 (they had a sign saying due to 50% price increases all fried clams were 25% more than posted prices). That made the fried clam dinner plate $43 and the half plate $30.

I'll stick with Twin Seafood for my fried clams where the prices were half the cost at Dairy Joy. With the quality issues I have mentioned, it certainly does not feel worth the risk to pay $43 for a fried clam dinner plate.

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  1. For a decent fried clam dinner that doesn't require a mortgage give The Village a try on Tuesdays. Well worth the trip.


    1 Reply
    1. re: treb

      That's a bargain.

      Twin Seafood in West Concord is excellent and quite reasonably priced as well.

    2. Yeah, while it's a cool place in that retro way, I stopped going several years ago when the price of two soft-serve vanilla cones rang up at like $14. (Don't quote me on that) It rang up at something so ridiculous though that I thought they had double charged us. How much is a cone these days?

      At the time I remember looking at the seafood prices and raising an eyebrow. After reading your post; I can't believe those prices!

      1. The only part of this post that i find shocking is the onion ring part. Back in the 80s-90s that was the best thing to eat at dairy joy (although very expensive and nver with any salt).. One of my best friends in the 80s had a job there where he stood at a deli slicer, slicing onions for them all day.. They were always very thin,delicate and tasty.. Last time i had BK onion rings (years ago, they were made with chopped onions and perfectly round) Even back in the 80s the prices were always a joke.

        1. That's kinda crazy. I just had a delicious fried clam plate, freshly batterd O-rings and two drinks for $27. at the Willows in Salem.

          1. Give the seafood at Kimball's a try sometime. I have split the seafood platter between 3 people and still had leftovers and the onion rings are very good too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hargau

              My favorite thing is a hike up Mt. Monadnock, followed by a lobster roll, waffle fries and a slice of watermelon at the Kimball's in Jaffrey, NH.

            2. I just don't get why this place is so stupidly expensive compared to similar fried food and ice cream joints. $43 for a fried clam plate? Who are they kidding? Maybe it is the high income neighborhood?

              6 Replies
              1. re: Kat

                It's in a restaurant desert in the town with the highest average per-capita income in the Commonwealth. Of course, if I had that kind of cash, I'd send my valet out for takeout from some place that doesn't use canned lobster.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Back in the late70s-early80s we used to frequent the place and almost always would get the combo specials... usually the cheeseburger with fries and miniscule drink.. back then at least this was only $2-3 more than say Mcds combo and a higher quality.. The rest of the menu was always outrageous..

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    For that price I'd go to AKA every night and have a good meal.

                  2. re: Kat

                    "Maybe it is the high income neighborhood."


                    And per what MC said, it may well be the only restaurant in Weston....

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Forgot to ask, did that clam plate take all of your social security check?

                    2. How is it that they have a 50% price increase, and I just bought a couple of delectable pounds of steamers from Shaw's for 3.99 lb? Somethings not right in dodge. Same when prix fix charges you for the lobster course when the bugs are going for $4-5 lb - meaning it is one of their cheapest food costs.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        It is called free market... If people are lined up 20-30 deep every weekend for the stuff, why not!?

                        1. re: hargau

                          No it's called lying to your patrons. If there are not major increases in soft shelled clams right now, then to claim that their prices reflect the high cost of a wholesale product by %50 is outright dishonest.

                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            Maybe they have a different supplier than the Shaws you shop at? Who knows where they buy them or what they are charged.. Maybe they import them from iceland where they are hand fed from birth and massaged 8 hours a day by monks.. Who knows who is lying really... I suppose its no more a lie than our increasing gas prices...

                            1. re: Bellachefa

                              maybe they used to pay 2 bucks and now are paying 3.

                              hey, lines are a sign that things are underpriced.

                        2. Granted clams always spike in the summer due to supply and demand. If they paid $100. gallon in April and sold 50 orders per week, they figure it's OK to raise prices way more than everyone else that also pays $150. gallon and sells 100 orders per day. Yet, they have lines 20 deep.

                          1. The only thing which drew me there was the occasional javaberry cone. Once I discovered the same at Celebrity in Watertown, I haven't been back.

                            The high pries probably make it more appealing to Weston residents. Seriously, these are people who live in a town with one of the top school systems in the state, but look down their noses at neighbors who don't send their kids to private school (not to generalize or anything).

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Gabatta

                              Pizzi Farm in Waltham also has Javaberry, plenty of tables and a tented area with picnic tables.

                              1. re: Velda Mae

                                Pizzi flies totally below the radar.

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  I think they have some of the best soft serve around....and it is a 3 minute walk from my house!!!

                            2. For years, Dairy Joy has been a good rest stop in the middle of a hot bike ride. No more. We stopped a few weeks ago for a lemon-lime slush only to find out it was green Kool-Aid. When we went back up to the counter, we were told their slush machine doesn't work well in the heat, which is why we had a liquid instead of a semisolid. We didn't get a refund or an explanation of why they'd continue to sell un-slush without warning customers first. They don't have a website so I posted a message via Facebook but never heard back. And I won't be going back.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Velda Mae

                                That is disgusting, total liquid?? Their slush has always been very loose icy-liquid mostly drinkable with a straw unlike the types you have to eat with a little spoon like richies. Usually even thinner than slush puppy

                                1. re: hargau

                                  As a longtime Dairy Joy customer, I know exactly what you're talking about. Their slush has always been slurpable but not spoonable. This didn't have any icy bits, it was just cold, green liquid. I think what bothered me the most is that they knew they weren't selling slush but went ahead and took my money anyway. Let's just say there were customers far younger than myself who were equally irate, if not more so.

                              2. It's been about the atmosphere there for at least a decade.

                                Always been overpriced, and the food (not the ice cream, the food) was never better than average.

                                The burgers currently are pretty good, but pricey. The ice cream is still good.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: L2k

                                  i have never thought the icecream was that good. It comes in a friggin milk carton and they pour it in a machine, god knows whats in it... I prefer real ice cream like kimballs or Richardson. Sorry but a 99 cent twist cone at any mcdonalds tastes just as good as a twist at DJ for 4x the price.. even better if you have them make a mcflurry out of it!

                                  1. re: hargau

                                    I didn't love the ice cream the one time I tried it. It didn't seem to have any fat or richness to speak of. I prefer soft-serve with a little body to it.

                                    I did enjoy the clams, though, but they were not cheap!

                                2. I'm very surprised by your report on the onion rings, which have always been their strong spot. In fact, I go to DJ for exactly two things: their fried clams and onion rings. I was there about a month ago and got only the clams (no rings) and they were amazing.

                                  1. $43.00!!!!! I am an extravagant foodie that is not cheap and who just returned from Nantucket....BUT those clams better come with caviar aoili and more...just my opinion :)

                                    1. Pretty certain that $43 is an exaggeration. I think the real price is in the twenties.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: Blumie

                                        "As an aside, I was gonna get fried clams, but the small side order was $28 (they had a sign saying due to 50% price increases all fried clams were 25% more than posted prices). That made the fried clam dinner plate $43 and the half plate $30."
                                        Sounds pretty specific regarding the price. If the regular price of a dinner is $35 (which isn't surprising if the "side order" is $28) then a 25% increase would make it $43.75

                                        1. re: ac106

                                          The small side price was $22 plus the surcharge, etc etc.

                                        2. re: Blumie

                                          Uh NO. I was not exaggerating.

                                          $35 was the posted price PLUS the "clams are expensive 25% surcharge" which was listed in printed signs all over the place.

                                          If you are capable of the extremely tricky math in fact = $43.75.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            Just curious striper, can you estimate what the 'per clam' price was? Wait... I need to get my O2 mask on!

                                            1. re: treb

                                              I'll order 10 orders, count the clams, do an average, and get back to you ;-).

                                            2. re: StriperGuy

                                              I stand corrected. By the way, when I go, I just get the small side, which I believe is the same amount of clams you get in the "plate." The box looks small, but I find it's just the right size for me. (That said, while I think I may have paid $22 for it on my visit earlier this year, I think that's close to my upper limit. I don't see going to $28!)

                                              1. re: Blumie

                                                Good to know the small side is at least a decent portion.

                                                Don't think I'll be returning for anything other than burgers any time soon with the FAR superior Twin Seafood just as close to my place.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  Are the burgers any good? Will they cook them to at least no worse than medium rare?

                                                  1. re: KWagle

                                                    They are flat patty burgers and i cant recall them ever asking how you would like them cooked. It would be like trying to order med rare at Wendys or something..

                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                      well after striper's comments, i will tell my butler not to send the valet out there for a burger.

                                                      1. re: hargau

                                                        Thanks for the info. I'll stick to Fuddruckers, which will sell me a 1# burger cooked rare or medium rare (depending on the store) for under $10.

                                                        They also have elk burgers, and I'm planning to have one just to add elk to my list. I had ground moose a while back, and it wasn't cooked well enough to judge the quality of the species. I also had reindeer steaks a few years ago for Xmas eve dinner, cooked rare, and those were the best red meat I've had so far in my life.

                                                      2. re: KWagle

                                                        Don't think you are gonna get anything medium rare here, I agree that Wendy's is really the comparator.

                                                      3. re: StriperGuy

                                                        I'm sorry, but I don't get why they are charging SO much for clams. There might be seasonal problem, but Bob Lobster is charging $17.99 for a clam dinner, so I can't justify DJ's rationale for such outrageous pricing.

                                                        1. re: Science Chick

                                                          noticed a similar sign at Belle Isle this past Sunday. Didn't see how much they raised clam prices, but they did raise 'em.

                                                2. As a point of comparison where clams are concerned, we were at Farnham's last weekend where a small side order of clams is $16 and they are putting a $1 surcharge on small orders of clams and $2 on larges, well below the 25% being assessed by Dairy Joy.