It used to be that nearly every neighborhood in America had an independent coffee shop, but thanks in part to chains such as Starbuck's, they are a bit harder to find these days (though in all fairness, Starbuck's isn't all that bad a place, in this writer's opinion). There are still a number of these places in the Boston area, however. And one of these, a little-known breakfast and lunch spot in Brookline Village called Martin's Coffee Shop, is a terrific little place where locals go day after day to enjoy a hearty breakfast and a coffee or two while relaxing with their newspapers.
Martin's Coffee Shop is very easy to miss, as it is on the outer edge of Brookline village and has a storefront that doesn't stand out all that much. But residents of this low-key neighborhood know exactly where Martin's is, coming to the tiny place for good, cheap meals. The breakfast menu has a number of familiar dishes, including such standbys as the delicious melt-in-your-mouth French toast, the freshly made (and sinful) chocolate chip pancakes, and the reasonably-priced egg sandwiches on toast, a bagel, English muffin, or croissant. There are also a few less common items on the menu, including a wonderful Albanian omelette (leeks, meatballs, and cheese), an oddly appealing Hawaiian omelette (ham, pineapple, and cheese), a breakfast burrito with a Spanish sauce that leaves a pleasant burn after eating it, and a sweet-tasting pear and banana pancake dish. By the way, Martin's has also received some fanfare for their coffee, and while we don't think it's quite up there in the upper echelons of Boston-area coffee, it is certainly decent enough.
Martin's is a bit tight on space, with a narrow front area that includes a handful of stools at the counter and a few two-person tables against the wall. There is also a small room in the back which overlooks the rest of the place, with a few tables for four up there. As a result, Martin's can sometimes have lines on weekends, though the lines tend to go fairly quickly.
It may not quite be a destination spot, but for a lot of people who live in Brookline Village, Martin's Coffee Shop is a special little place. It might not have the familiar surroundings of a Starbuck's or the spacious dining room of an IHOP, but Martin's does have a ton of character, and the food and coffee are both satisfying. For those looking for a place to get a hearty breakfast and a good cup o' joe, Martin's might just be your place.
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