In today’s world of chain restaurants and overpriced eateries, there’s something special about tucking into a meal at a place where you know that home-style cooking and family tradition is still being served. Check out these awesome mom-and-pop restaurants across Massachusetts where you can get delicious food just like your family used to make.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Soup on the Fly, Athol
Just because "soup" is in the name, doesn't mean that's all this family-owned place can do. This spot serves homespun, from-scratch, breakfast and lunch options. And, yes, they offer multiple soups daily. Try the Louisiana's Muffuletta Sandwich, with house-made olive relish and Italian cold cuts, and a side of creole potato salad.
2. The Twisted Fork Bistro, Cherry Valley
Also known as Uncle Jay's Twisted Fork, this place proves that just because a restaurant serves home-cooked-style meals doesn't mean it can't also be gourmet! Using local ingredients to craft thoughtful menu items, this mom and pop shop offers great customer service and creative dining. Try the Irish Skillet for a breakfast that will pack you full of delicious homemade hash, spinach and mashed potatoes.
3. Sir Cricket's Fish & Chips, Orleans
This cozy shop serves classic seafood fare like decadent lobster rolls, tasty fried oysters and HUGE portions of fried fish. Seating inside is limited, but the picnic area is a lovely outdoor alternative.
4. Joe's Diner, Lee
This diner was the inspiration for Norman Rockwell's famous painting of a police officer and little boy. It's a great spot for a cheap and delicious breakfast, featuring tremendously thick pancakes and generous portions of bacon.
5. Sugarloaf Frostie, Sunderland
This family-owned soft serve stand has been a Pioneer Valley summertime staple for years. Enjoy their yummy frozen or fried treats while relaxing in the sunny picnic area.
6. Pajer Superette, Agawam
This tiny Italian grocery is famous for its gigantic sandwiches – the grinder in the photo is actually a small, and only costs $4.50. That's value and taste in a great, family-run package.
7. Webster's Fish Hook, Northampton
Webster's isn't fancy, but it is a homespun family restaurant with old-fashioned counter service and delectable fried seafood. Pictured is the Cajun triple combo, and it packs more than enough flavor to satisfy your whole table.
8. Oxford Creamery, Mattapoisett
Mom-and-pop dining with a five-star view. This place has been serving delicious homemade ice cream and tasty, classic New England fare since 1940. There's almost always a line on hot summer days, but it moves quickly and the food is worth the wait.
9. Mr. Z's Pizza, Clinton
Huge subs, homemade bread and delicious pies make Mr. Z's Pizza a must-try. Just don't forget the extra napkins – this grub is good, but sloppy.
10. Angler Fish Market & Chowder Co., Westminster
This place has a cozy atmosphere, very fair prices and the freshest food around. Though it may not look like much from the outside, this fish market and restaurant prides itself on great service and quality eating. The cornbread is an unexpected menu hidden geum, and first-timers should definitely try the shrimp-n-grits for a homestyle seafood treat that's sure to satisfy.
11. Casa de Nana, Springfield
This Mexican cantina's name literally means "grandmother's house," so you know the food has a cozy feel. They've been serving homemade food since 1968, and their weekly Taco Tuesday promotion (buy one taco, get another free) is definitely a great option for large groups with a hankering for some south-of-the-border eats. The beef chimichanga is enough to feed two, and totally delicious.
12. Duguay's Chicken and Seafood, Gardner
This place is the proud home of "Jo-Jo potatoes," which are some of the most addictive potato wedges to be found anywhere. The fried chicken is perfectly seasoned and just the right amount of crispy. The interior design might be a bit dated, but the food more than makes up for it.
Let us know what mom and pop restaurants you think should have made the list. And if you have a craving for more hidden Massachusetts restaurant gems, check out these
great little-known places.