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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2012 archives >> May, 2012 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- May, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lunch at The Tavern at Wrentham

It seems that whenever a restaurant has a preposition in its name, there is a good chance that the place is an upscale eatery or trendy cocktail lounge. Such is not the case with The Tavern at Wrentham, however; this is an actual tavern, not a fern bar, and one that caters mainly to locals in the area who are looking for inexpensive food and drinks in an atmosphere that seems to be one part dive bar and one part diner. So how is the place? Well, based on a recent visit that several of us made there, it seems to be a decent spot to get a bite to eat, though there was a blip or two along the way.

photo of The Tavern at Wrentham, Wrentham, Massachusetts The Tavern at Wrentham feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, wedged between Routes 1A, 140, and 115 in a scenic area of fields, woodlands, and lakes. The structure is pure roadhouse, with tiny windows, a nondescript entrance framed by a couple of beer signs, and a dusty parking lot with more than a few cracks in it. The interior of the place, as mentioned earlier, has the feel of both a townie bar and a diner, with a low ceiling, exposed pipes, a long, narrow dining area with counter seating along with high-top and regular tables, and antique-style lights. A small bar area can be found by the entrance, complete with Keno and TVs. By the way, some folks may know this spot from its days as Tom's Tavern, a dining and drinking establishment that was known in part as being a place to spot members of the New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium is only about five miles away).

We arrived at The Tavern at Wrentham during the peak of the lunch hour, and the place was maybe 1/4 full, with most folks being at the bar. Our group grabbed a couple of tables in the middle of the dining area and were greeted by a server who could only be described as "sassy," but in a good way, as she was full of personality and very funny. We ordered some appetizers, including a meaty and rich-tasting chili that ranks among the best I've had in quite some time, and some briny "stuffies," or stuffed quahogs, that had a nice mix of clams and stuffing. Our meals were mostly decent, with the burger (which was stuffed with onion rings) and fried haddock sandwich being particularly well-received. The lobster macaroni and cheese impressed as well, though it was just a bit on the thin and runny side, while the bacon pizza was a disappointment, with an odd sourdough taste to the crust and a sauce that was rather bland. Prices were mostly reasonable (though the burger was over $10) and portions were large.

Pizza aside, I generally liked The Tavern at Wrentham; it is a classic roadside joint in an out-of-the-way location that feels like it is many, many miles from the Boston area. The name may fool some people (I would have called it the Wrentham Tavern myself), but it is a neat little spot that lovers of dive bars, townie joints, and diners may want to check out.

For those who want the address for The Tavern at Wrentham, here it is: The Tavern at Wrentham, 263 Shears Street, Wrentham, MA, 02093. The phone number is (508) 384-0010.

Related Blog Entries: Wrentham restaurants

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