Boston Restaurant Blog -- February, 2007
Tuesday, February 1, 2007
A friend of mine and I followed up on our food-based road trip to Connecticut by going on a shorter (but similar) trip to Rhode Island, then back toward Boston, hitting classic roadside restaurants along the way. On this trip, I went to three restaurants I had never been to, as well as a pizza joint I am definitely familiar with. The pizza joint was our first stop; we arrived at Fellini Pizzeria right at noon, enjoying some of their excellent slices of whole-wheat pizza. Fellini's is featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants so I won't get into a description of it here, but believe me, it was a great way to start a Sunday road trip!
After Fellini's, we spent some time in Providence, checking out various food places for future reference, then we drove up to Pawtucket to have breakfast (yes, we had breakfast AFTER lunch) at the funky Modern Diner on East Avenue. The diner itself is actually on the National Register of Historic Places, as part of the dining spot is a railroad car from the 1940s. We ate in that part of the diner, enjoying some bacon and eggs and a large heaping of good, though slightly mushy home fries. It is obviously difficult to judge a restaurant by breakfast alone (I hope to get to the Modern Diner for lunch one of these days), but I would say that this diner is worth going to just for the historic aspect of the place. Indeed, the Modern Diner definitely has a great overall feel to it.
We briefly headed into Central Falls, RI, after the Modern Diner to see if Stanley's Restaurant was open (it wasn't), then we veered northeast on Route 123 to what was probably our chief destination of the day, which was Wendell's Pub in Norton, MA. If you have driven by Wendell's and not actually gone into this dark and gloomy place, you may be wondering why this absolute dive would be our main goal. Two words sum it up: Chicken wings. Wendell's has perhaps the best chicken wings in all of Massachusetts; these crispy, immensely tasty morsels are worth the drive from nearly anywhere, and the buttery, heavenly boneless wings are every bit as good. We ordered the traditional buffalo wings extra spicy and the boneless wings 3.5 (which is average in the spicy category). Both were plenty hot, which makes me wonder what "suicidal" and "double dare" (the latter of which isn't even listed) would be like. I'm not about to find out!
After going to wing heaven at Wendell's, we knew that we wouldn't be able to top that meal, and, well, we were right. And though Henry's Root Beer Stand, which was our last stop of the day, wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be, it turned out to be a good alternative to all the fast food places that dot the landscape these days. Henry's, which has several locations (we went to the one in Quincy), is a basic hot dog and hamburger joint that also has a few other items on the menu, including, of course, root beer. And the root beer was something special, as it had a slightly creamier taste than the root beer you might find at the local market. The food, however, was a mixed bag; my cheeseburger was not good at all, as the meat seemed to be of a low quality. The hot dog was terrific, though, bringing to mind the dogs at Sullivan's at Castle Island in South Boston.
Welp, another food trip etched into the record books (with the record perhaps being "strangest road trips ever taken by anyone in New England"). And while this one didn't quite have the oomph of the classic Connecticut road trip of last July, it was indeed a fun time, and introduced me to one restaurant in particular that will likely be featured on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site (Wendell's Pub).
Just a quick note that Henry's Root Beer Stand is now closed.
Posted on 5/22/07
Gail M. said:
It comes as no surprise that Henry's Root Beer Stand closed in Quincy. It was terrible from Day One - dirty tables, rubber-like food, bad service. The Phantom Gourmet gave it high marks; of course, he went to the Cohasset establishment. Don't know if that one closed, but Quincy certainly did us all a favor by closing down.
Posted on 9/10/07
Larry Cultrera said:
Just to let you know, the Modern Diner in Pawtucket is not a train car (a common misconception) but a factory-built restaurant. This one is a Sterling Streamliner, a very popular model by the Sterling Diner division of J. B. Judkins Company, late of Merrimack, Mass. Most diners were prefabricated buildings and not converted train cars.
Posted on 9/12/07
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