The city of Malden is home to a number of hidden gems and under-the-radar restaurants, including some that are easy to miss because they sit in the middle of residential neighborhoods (like the wonderful Pasta Market Cafe) or because they just aren't easy to find, especially if you don't know Malden all that well. And such is the case with Pearl Street Station Restaurant, a spacious neighborhood place that you'll probably never even see if you're just passing through the city, and even if you think you know how to find it and aren't using your GPS, you may end up having to turn the car around a couple of times. But once you do find the place, you'll discover that it's a warm and comfy eating and drinking spot with lots of charm and character.
Housed in a former railroad station that was built well over 100 years ago, Pearl Street Station oozes history, with a working fireplace, a cathedral ceiling with beams and hanging wagon wheel lights, memorabilia in every nook and cranny, plenty of dark woods used throughout, and old-looking booths can be used for both large and small groups. The front of the restaurant has a pizzeria window where folks can do takeout, while a huge sports bar area (with an attractive U-shaped bar) is situated to the left and a second bar is just across from it to the right, which is where entertainment such as trivia and karaoke take place. The main dining section just beyond the bars has plenty of seating for both smaller and larger groups, and the area by the back wall is a slightly more private-feeling section with a low ceiling that is generally the quietest part of the restaurant (except when the trains go by).
Pearl Street Station offers a mix of foods, with BBQ, pub grub, Italian fare, and American classics all being on the menu. Some of the highlights here include wings with a spicy (but not too spicy) Buffalo sauce; boneless Buffalo tenders with that same sauce; a plate of relatively firm meatballs in tomato sauce that is now on the menu after being one of those items where you would need to ask if they could bring it out to you; excellent steak tips with a zesty marinade (a mixed grill with steak tips and chicken and a mixed grill with steak tips and sausage can also be ordered, with both being delicious, while a sausage and pork chop combo plate is also worth getting); turkey tips that are tender have also have the tasty marinade used for the steak tips; a half-pound char-grilled burger that you can smell cooking from outside the place; huge calzones, with the steak and cheese calzone and chicken parmigiana calzone options being particularly good ones; the aforementioned pizza that leans toward Italian-style, though the crust is a bit more puffy than thin (the shrimp pizza and hamburger pizza are particularly good options); and a terrific chicken parmigiana that rivals that of the long-closed Salem Wood Cafe that had been on the other side of town. Drink options are what you might expect at an old-school neighborhood spot such as this, with popular American beers being king here (and the margaritas being quite tasty--and quite strong). Prices are reasonable, with most dishes being in the $10-20 range.
If you can find it, Pearl Street Station Restaurant in Malden is a comfortable spot that is well worth checking out if you like old-fashioned family restaurants--and especially if you are part of a large group that has varying tastes in food. The historic train atmosphere alone is worth the trip, but the menu items here are impressive as well, and the people-watching can be rather interesting, too. So set up your GPS or smartphone in order to find this place, and one tip to remember--Pearl Street is WEST of the train tracks in Malden Center, which, if you remember that, finding the place will be relatively easy.
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