Hyde Park is often a forgotten part of Boston, perhaps because it's so far away from downtown or maybe due to the fact that much of it is residential and industrial. Whatever the reason, whenever you look into a lesser-traveled part of a large city, you tend to find some of the best and most hidden of gems when it comes to restaurants, and this sprawling section of the city is no exception. Home to such under-the-radar places as B.C. Baking Co. and The Fairmount Grill, Hyde Park is certainly a treasure trove of dining and drinking spots that you rarely hear about, and one of the least-known (and most interesting) is an old breakfast and lunch spot called Richy's, a place with a lot of history--and one that's so little-known that most Bostonians are not even aware of it, which is too bad because it's the kind of local eatery that every neighborhood should have.
For those who aren't familiar with the outer neighborhoods of Boston, Richy's can be extremely hard to find if you don't know it's there. Located in a quiet section of Hyde Park that's mostly residential with a bit of industrial space mixed in, the dining spot is almost exclusively a place for locals, and one that's easy to drive past if you don't know what it is because it looks more like a convenience store, which, in a way, would not be too far from the truth. Richy's actually resides in a space that had been a pharmacy long ago, and there are still hints of this inside, including a back area where people play the lottery that looks like it could have been a pharmacy counter back in the day, while an ancient scale that also gives "character readings" sits in the middle of the room. Opposite the breakfast/lunch counter (and cooking area) is a mini-grocery section where people can buy such items as snacks, candy, soft drinks, juices, and water, and the setup almost feels like an afterthought as does the lottery section in the back, as the counter is really the main part of the space. And if you like people-watching, the counter is quite the place to do so, as you get to see the comings and goings of longtime customers who aren't afraid to sling wisecracks back and forth between the folks cooking the food.
As you might expect, the menu at Richy's holds few surprises, but this, in a way, is part of its charm; you won't find inventive twists on bacon and eggs, pancakes, French toast, omelets, corned beef hash, sandwiches (including subs, burgers, and tuna melts), frappes, raspberry lime rickeys, or coffee, but they're all here, and the food is done up in basic, hearty, and inexpensive forms, which is pretty much what neighborhood folks seem to want. As indicated earlier, the food is cooked right in front of you as you sit at the counter, with the flattop sometimes getting awfully crowded as more and more customers come in while the coffee just to the right of the griddle area is always brewing. The people behind the counter are every bit the characters that much of the clientele is, but they're incredibly efficient when it comes to preparing food for diners and it seems as though they've been doing this for a long, long time. Prices at Richy's are unsurprisingly low, with breakfast and lunch items generally being well under $10, and some dishes are actually around the $5.00 region, which is very tough to beat considering the decent-sized portions.
Back in the 1950s (when Richy's first started out), breakfast spots and luncheonettes like these could be found on seemingly every other block in some neighborhoods, and while you can still find them in and around Boston if you look hard enough, they seem to be a dying breed, getting fewer and fewer with each passing year. You may have never heard of Richy's before, but if you like old-fashioned local spots with a cast of characters on both sides of the counter, you probably won't want to miss this one.
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