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Colonial House Restaurant in Norwood, Massachusetts: the Ultimate Hidden Neighborhood Townie Pub

Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood, Massachusetts
The Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood, Massachusetts.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on May 3, 2013. All photos by Eric unless otherwise noted.

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Driving on a residential side street in Norwood, Massachusetts feels like the last place you'd find a restaurant, but that's what makes The Colonial House Restaurant a true hidden gem.

The Colonial House Restaurant -- once the Olde Colonial Cafe (now located on Nahantan St.) and before that in the 1950s, an odd combination of a biker bar and barber shop -- fits seamlessly into the densely populated Savin St. neighborhood as it looks like another house. The difference can be seen, however, when walking to the door where the Olde Colonial Cafe, "V.I.P. ENTRANCE" signs, a packed-to-capacity back parking lot, and the amazing aromas of steak cooking clearly revealing a thriving, beloved local restaurant "In the Neighborhood."

That "In the Neighborhood" Slogan refers to a restaurant a great local gathering place, well-known to locals and virtually unknown to those outside the region. Rick "Miggy" McGowan owns this terrific pub, first having startedout at age 14 as a dish washer in 1970 and working his way to prep cook, cook and bartender through 1986. He left for many years to work in construction, but feeling a work calling to "come back home," bought the restaurant and reopened it as The Colonial House Restaurant in 2004. It's a dream-come-true for "Miggy," a lifelong Norwood resident, who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives within walking distance of his business.

With co-owners Jeannie McGowan (his wife) and family friend Joanne Roof, McGowan has a restaurant that many locals call home when looking to dine out. The comfort foods, extensive drink selection and cozy atmosphere lend itself to the ultimate townie restaurant.  Let's take a look...

The V.I.P. sign at the front door helps make you feel welcome in the neighborhood...
Colonial House Restaurant V.I.P. sign
The main dining room and bar with its wooden floor, post-and-beam ceilings and old-fashioned wallpaper has an incredibly welcoming look...
Colonial House Restaurant main dining room and bar, Norwood, Massachusetts

What makes the main dining room and bar even better is the roaring fireplace next to the "best seats in the house."
Colonial House Restaurant fireplace, Norwood MA

The back room is especially popular with families and larger groups. Miggy's wife, Jeannie, said  "No televisions back here," as she wanted families to talk with each other!

Back room at The Colonial House Restaurant in Norwood MA

The middle room bridges the look and feel of the front and back dining rooms with its cozy look and ample seating away from the bar...

Middle room at The Colonial House Restaurant in Norwood MA

But what would a cozy neighborhood restaurant be without great food and drink? Well, it would just be a cozy restaurant, and hungry people deserve more. The Colonial House offers excellent comfort foods. Let's start off with a fried shrimp appetizer...

Fried shrimp appetizer from the Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood MA

Comfort foods like steak tips and chicken/broccoli and ziti Alfredo, along with a few drinks, fit in perfectly with the unpretentious atmosphere...

Diner and drinks from The Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood MA

The bar pizza is delicious (cheese and sausage pictured below)...
Bar pizza from The Colonial House Restaurant
Sausage bar pizza from Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood MA

Check out the extensive drinks selection in the background. Here Miggy pours a drink...
The bar at The Colonial House restaurant in Norwood MA

Many locals don't have room for dessert, given the ample dinner portions. For those who do, a hot fudge brownie sundae will satisfy the sweet tooth...
Colonial House Restaurant hot fudge sundae, Norwood MA

On the way out, don't forget to see all the pictures lined up on the wall including local charity and sports honors and events, as well as this one of the Hanson Brothers -- the pugnacious hockey players in the 1977 Paul Newman classic movie Slapshot -- who ate here many years ago after playing in a charity hockey game. Here, they express their gratitude to Miggy...
Hnson Brothers from the movie Slapshot visit The Colonial House restaurant in Norwood MA

Driving away after a great meal, I take a last look at the Colonial House Restaurant and the neighborhood, and can hardly wait to return soon!

Colonial House Restaurant, Norwood MA

Savin Street in Norwood, home of the Colonial House Restaurant

Colonial House Restaurant is located at 33 Savin St. Norwood, Massachusetts. Tel. 781-762-3000.

Related article:
Best Irish pubs from Boston to Worcester

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