The Greater Boston area remains (for the most part) a region that is heavily Irish, so it goes without saying that hearing an Irish brogue is not an uncommon experience in and around the city. This is certainly the case at a friendly little breakfast and lunch spot in Weymouth called the Mad Hatter Cafe, with both the staff and many of its customers being from the Emerald Isle. And while this dining spot is a favorite among both Irish immigrants and locals in the nearby neighborhoods, very few outside of Weymouth and the towns immediately surrounding it seem to know about the place, which is a bit of a shame, as it is a really special little spot in a location that is easy to get to from many areas.
Located in a small commercial structure across the street from a large shopping center that has power lines cutting through it, the Mad Hatter isn't in the most attractive area, and because it is housed in what looks a bit like an apartment building or medical offices, it is extremely easy to overlook. But it is actually in a very convenient location just north of Route 3 and just south of the Route 18/53 intersection, making it a perfect stop on the way to places such as Cape Cod, Boston, or any number of South Shore beaches. The interior of the restaurant is pure greasy spoon, with rows of tables sitting next to a counter with more seating, all kinds of cooking equipment behind the counter, and a takeout window where customers can grab coffee or to-go items. A waiting area that includes picnic tables and benches--and which has a heated section in the colder months--can be found outside, and it is put to good use on the weekends when lines typically go out the door.
Much of what the Mad Hatter Cafe serves is traditional breakfast and diner fare, such as pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict (including a very rich crab cake benedict), omelets, home fries (some of the best this writer has had in the Boston area), and bagels, but there are some not-so-common items mixed in, such as an over-the-top breakfast pizza that includes scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, jack cheese, and tomatoes; a yankee pot roast breakfast with tender braised beef, gravy, eggs, and home fries; French toast that is encrusted with Frosted Flakes; a dish on special called the Mad Hatter Delight that includes pastry stuffed with corned beef hash; and another dish on special--a belly-busting prime rib hash. Speaking of hash, the house-made corned beef hash here is outstanding (heavy on the corned beef, light on the potatoes) while the freshly-made blueberry and cranberry muffins are moist and not too heavy. And of course, being that it's Irish-owned, a signature dish at the Mad Hatter is the traditional Irish breakfast that comes with black and white puddings, Irish bacon and sausage, grilled tomato, baked beans in tomato sauce, eggs, and soda bread, the latter of which is one of the best of its kind in the entire Boston area. The lunch menu focuses mostly on sandwiches (including ham and cheese, BBQ chicken, and tuna salad) with freshly-made soups--including an outstanding potato leek soup--and daily specials also offered.
Weymouth has a number of good breakfast spots, and the Mad Hatter Cafe is definitely one of the best, if not the best (Niko's in East Weymouth is up there as well), and its easy parking, friendly service, and decent prices are all big pluses. It may not look like much of anything from the outside, but this little Irish eatery is one of those places that almost exclusively gets repeat visitors, which should tell you a little something about its reputation in the local area.
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