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The Top 14 Comfort Food Dishes in the Boston Suburbs

Article and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz. Updated Oct. 7, 2017

The suburban Boston area restaurant scene has really picked up over the past 20 years to the point where locals often prefer staying closer to home than wresting with traffic and then paying a high price for a parking spot in Boston.

Many suburban Boston restaurant owners and chefs have either worked in the Boston restaurant scene, or taken cues from the very best spots to bring that culinary excellence to the suburbs. Occasionally, a suburban Boston restaurant will surpass the quality of well-known, highly-regarded Boston restaurants in a specific genre!

Focusing on comfort foods, here is my top list of dishes you just have to try in the Boston suburbs broken down by category...

Burger - Brothers Marketplace, Medfield
Burger from Brothers Marketplace in Medfield, Mass.
Roches Bros. supermarkets owns this wonderful neighborhood grocery store in downtown Medfield that also features a diner. That diner serves up incredible comfort foods, including a piled-high cheeseburger that is nothing short of mouthwatering! Read more about Brothers Marketplace here...

Calzone - Lambert's Fruit, Westwood
Calzone's from Lambert's in Westwood, Mass.
Lambert's Fruit might look like another grocery store outside, but inside is where the culinary magic begins with one of the biggest salad bars in New England, a fabulous burrito bar, and some of the best calzones in suburban Boston. Besides tasting great, the calzones can be cut to any size! In addition to the calzones, read about Lambert's salad bar here...

Chili - Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk
Boot Hill Chili from the Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk, Mass.
This restaurant with a western saloon look is actually family-friendly and serves some tremendous steak, chicken and fish dishes along with surprisingly good pizza and many ales, but my favorite is the Boot Hill Chili. This amply-served bowl is loaded with tender beef, plenty of gooey cheese, onions, a full-bodied tomato sauce with the right combination of herbs and spices, and nachos. Read more about the Eagle Brook Saloon here...

Club Sandwich and Sweet Potato Fries - Kravings, Millis
Club sandwich from Kravings in Millis, Mass.
Millis might be a small town, but the servings are huge at Kravings -- including amazing club sandwiches with a heaping amount of delicious sweet potato fries. Read more about Kravings here...

Chicken parm - Cafe Assisi, Wrentham
Chicken parm from Cafe Assisi in Wrentham, Mass.
This quaint, little Italian bistro comes across every bit as good as many of the best restaurants in the North End of Boston. The chicken parm is to die for with its homemade pasta and tomato sauce and an incredibly flavorful, large portion of lightly breaded chicken. The photo above is the lunch version!  Read more about Cafe Assisi here...

Eggs, bacon, corned beef hash and toast - Don's Diner, Plainville
Eggs, bacon and corned beef hash from Don's Diner in Plainville, Mass.
Don's Diner knows how to cook a great breakfast, having been in the business since 1936. When dining at this classic dining car, I recommend starting with the eggs, bacon, homemade corned beef hash and toast.  Read more about Don's Diner here (as part of an article on Plainville)...

Fried clam plate - Woodman's of Essex in Essex
Fried Clams from Woodman's of Essex in Essex, Mass.
Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Travel and Tourism.

Why reinvent the wheel? Woodman's of Essex is reportedly the birthplace of the fried clam, dating back to the early 20th century. It doesn't get any better than this in terms of taste and serving size! Read more about Woodman's here (as part of The Best Seafood Restaurants in New England) article...

Ice Cream - Crescent Ridge Dairy, Sharon
Orange pineapple ice cream from Crescent Ridge Dairy in Sharon, Mass.
Named twice as one of the best ice cream places in the world by National Geographic, Crescent Ridge Dairy lives up to its reputation with some of the creamiest, flavorful ice cream, well, on the planet. Equally good news: This welcoming ice cream stand is open year-round! Photo above: orange pineapple ice cream.  Read more on Crescent Ridge right here...

Lobster roll - Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach
Lobster roll from Kelly's Roast Beef in Revere Beach, Mass.
Is it me, or is a tasty lobster roll not enough? Sometimes, lobster rolls can be eaten in virtually a few bites and at a premium price. Kelly's Roast Beef waterfront food stand, on the other hand, serves a huge, tasty lobster roll, year-round, that will provide a challenge to even the hungriest to finish this delicious masterpiece at one sitting. Read more on Kelly's Roast Beef here...

Pastrami and Swiss - Michael's Cafe and Deli, Wrentham
Pastrami and Swiss from Michael's Cafe and Deli in Wrentham, mass.
Owner Mike Lewicki was once a truck driver who dreamed of opening his own restaurant.  More than 25 years ago, he did just that, and customers had their sandwich dreams come true at Michael's Cafe and Deli with some of the best served in the area. Normally pastrami and Swiss is optimal on rye bread, but Michael's version on a freshly-made, braided sesame roll is a brilliant, well-executed idea that bursts with classic deli flavor. Michael's is a bit hard to find as it is located in a rural area off the main drag, so employ your GPS! Read more on Michael's here...

Pizza - Prince Pizzeria, Saugus
Pepperoni pizza from Prince Pizzeria in Saugus, Mass.
Photo source: Price Pizzeria web site.

Prince Pizzeria -- known for its Leaning Tower of Pizza structure outside -- has been making a tremendous Italian-style pizza since the early 1960s. A great crust, the right amount of quality toppings and a phenomenal cheese blend help elevate this pizza to local hall of fame status. Plus, it's a fun, family-friendly place with a large, colorful dining room saturated with "local" pictures on the walls, as well as having a separate comedy club. Read more about Prince Pizzeria here...

Onion rings - C&L Frosty, Sherborn

Onion Rings, C&L Frosty in Sherborn, Mass.
C&L Frosty cuts through the grease -- all too well known to restaurant goers -- to make crispy, clean, perfectly-formed onion rings. They have been doing this since 1975, and the new owners have no plans on changing what works so well at this classic ice cream and comfort foods restaurant!  Read more on C&L Frosty right here...

Pu Pu Platter - Kihei Dynasty, Walpole
Pu Pu Platter from Kihei Dynasty in Walpole, Mass.
With all the trendy, expensive Asian food out there, sometimes you just have to go with the tried-and-true-basics of old school Chinese food. Few do it better than Kihei Dynasty -- a hidden gem located at the side of a gas station in Walpole. The pu pu platter is one of the signature dishes here, and with good reason: it's gigantic, delicious and offers everything you would expect in a pu pu platter. Read more about Kihei Dynasty right here...

Steak and Cheese - Carl's Oxford Diner, Oxford
Steak and cheese from Carl's Oxford Diner, Oford, Mass.
I know Carl's isn't located in a Boston suburb -- Worcester is more like it -- but just had to include it! Carl's Oxford Diner is best known for its over-the-top portions, but this classic diner also prioritizes high quality menu offerings. I know Phildadelphia takes honors when it comes to steak and cheese, but is Carl's any less in quality when it comes to its own version? I think not! Loaded with steak and cheese -- and virtually covering the whole plate -- you might not be able to finish the whole sandwich. If you don't, be prepared to have written on the leftover bag something like "Real Big Wimp"!  Read more about Carl's Oxford Diner here...

Related articles:

Best lobster rolls in New England
Top destinations for fried clams in the Boston area

Best vintage and modern diners in New England

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