Breakfast places tend to be homey, friendly, unpretentious spots that are usually filled with locals from the surrounding neighborhood. And while it seems like this type of restaurant is increasingly difficult to find these days, a few cities and towns around the Boston area (especially those with distinct neighborhoods) seem to be chock full of them. One of these communities--Quincy--indeed has a treasure trove of breakfast places in its many neighborhoods, including South Quincy, which is home to a popular townie joint called McKay's Breakfast and Lunch.
Located on a main thoroughfare that leads from Quincy Center to Braintree (and across the street from the historic Adams House), McKay's is nonetheless an easy place to overlook. It is housed in a squat, plain building that looks like countless other commercial buildings, and its location at a busy intersection often keeps drivers from even recognizing its existence. But locals certainly know about this place; indeed, the counter area in the main room is often filled with folks who know the names of the people behind the counter, while the three other dining rooms (yes, it has four rooms, as it continues to expand to the right through the building) have servers calling regular patrons "honey" and "sweetie."
The food offered at McKay's is simple and straightforward (no creme brulee French toast or maple ganache cinnamon bread here). But they do offer items that you might not find at some greasy spoon places, including grilled soda bread (a somewhat unusual way to prepare this type of bread, but it seems to work nicely); grilled brown bread (every bit as good as the soda bread); homemade corned beef hash (excellent, though don't order it if you don't like chopped onions); Texas-style French toast (full of flavor--and filling enough to keep you going until dinner); a traditional Irish breakfast (including blood pudding); Irish-style baked beans (beans in a tomato-based sauce); delicious Irish oatmeal that is served with brown sugar and blueberries; and pigs in a blanket (the "pigs" are sausage links rather than hot dogs). The menu also includes a rather filling but tasty ham and egg scrambler, which has a mix of ham, cheese, and eggs with toast and home fries on the side, as well as a kielbasa plate, Belgian waffles (including waffles with strawberries), pancakes, eggs benedict, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches, all of which are very reasonably priced. McKay's also offers some lunch and dinner items, including a variety of comfort food items and sandwiches.
Places like McKay's Breakfast and Lunch seem to be a dying breed, especially as more and more people frequent chains such as Panera, Dunkin' Donuts, and Starbucks to get their breakfast fix. But there is indeed a need for McKay's and other independent breakfast and lunch spots, as they are places where locals can go day after day to enjoy good food cheap while chatting with the workers as well as fellow diners. It may not be the prettiest place around, but McKay's is a terrific dining spot that South Quincy residents are fortunate to have around.
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