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The Best Local New England Restaurant Chains

Standardized food doesn't always means average food -- these local New England-based restaurant chains turn up the notch significantly with something wonderful for everyone on the menu

by Eric H.

Not Your Average Joe's -- This lively restaurant chain has style and substance with colorful overhead lights, nice wood tones, a hip but casual crackerjack staff, and some innovative dishes. Not Your Average Joe's pleases the 21st century palette with appetizers like New England crab cakes, a fresh house salad with baby greens, honey mustard chicken on toasted ciabatta, grilled black Angus sirloin meatloaf and balsamic glazed salmon. Not Your Average Joe's also offers some wonderful "stone hearth pizza" baked at 700 degrees and towering desserts including the "Peanut Butter Thing," with peanut butter and chocolate chunks folded into vanilla ice cream and rolled into Oreo cookie crumbs. Not Your Average Joe's is a terrific dining choice with many peaks and few valleys -- not typical for a restaurant chain. Like all high quality restaurants, they can also personalize its food offerings, according to your health needs. View Not Your Average Joe's locations

Legal Sea Foods -- Generally recognized as one of the best seafood in the United States, Legal Sea Foods has maintained its quality even with expansion into the suburbs. Lobster and the best chowder in the world will give you a proper New England seafood introduction, and the 40 or so menu items will leave you in seafood heaven. While the seafood theme is predominantly New England, Legal Sea Foods also has the vision and intelligence to offer seafood dishes from other parts of the world, courtesy of well-known chefs from outside the United States. They also have labs that test for the quality of the seafood, thus eliminating any unhealthy elements of seafood (partnering in 1990 with the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Commerce Department to ensure freshness and food safety), as well as offering a menu for those with Celiac's Disease. The ambiance is sleek, modern, and spacious. If all restaurants were like this, we'd feel better about dining out! View Legal Sea Foods locations

Bertucci's Brick Oven Ristorante -- This loud, colorful chain is known for its delicious dinners rolls, raw dough for the kids to play with before dinner, an open kitchen with some theatrical-like food preparation, and Italian selections that aren't that much of a drop off from the best offered at the famed North End in Boston, MA, and Federal Hill in Providence, RI. The restaurant menu varies from state to state. From our humble Massachusetts taste point-of-view, we highly recommend the unbeatable brick oven pizza with loads of fresh tomato and cheese flavors and ample toppings (try the rosemary ham!), as well as the chicken marsala with mushrooms, and the chicken piccata with lemon, capers, white wine, romano cheese and fresh herbs on chicken scallopine. Bertucci's also makes a great Caesar salad, with or without anchovies. View Bertucci's locations

Kelly's Roast Beef -- Specializing in -- surprise -- tender, ample roast beef sandwiches, Kelly's also hits the market with great fried clams, onion rings and a substantial, tasty lobster roll. The roast beef/seafood sandwiches menu has kept customers coming back since its humble Revere Beach, MA, origins in 1951, with food made fresh daily and quick, and with quick, courteous service. Occasionally, the wait staff offers a sense of witty humor, almost unknown to the fast food industry. Kelly's has also kept up with modern times offering healthier items like salads. The most fun location is the flagship Revere Beach, right across from the Atlantic Ocean -- a nice take-out place to enjoy a meal by the sea (although Revere Beach is not the best example of pristine coastal New England). The most practical location is in Natick, MA, located in the Jordan's Furniture building. This location houses a large fish tank (with fish), and a colorful carousel theme. View Kelly's locations.


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