We all know that one restaurant that looks like a total dump from the outside, but magically serves up incredible munchables again and again. Some truly amazing food spots don’t show their true colors until you take that first bite. Here are a few awesome restaurants across Massachusetts that may not look fancy, but are definitely worth trying.
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. Harrison's Roast Beef, North Andover
This is not a classy joint. It’s a bare-bones, simple eatery that specializes in mouth-watering roast beef sandwiches. They’re not fancy, but once you’ve had one, you’ll be back for another.
2. Dave's Fresh Pasta, Somerville
From the outside, this spot seems to be some sort of specialty food grocer. Step inside, however, and you’ll discover they’re dishing out way more than deliciously fresh pasta. Dave’s actually has some of the best sandwiches you’l find anywhere, and they. are. HUGE. Seriously tasty and seriously huge. Double win.
3. Mesa Verde, Greenfield
Need awesome Mexican food in the Pioneer Valley? This place has you covered. Though it sort of looks like some sort of zany skate shop, this little burrito joint whips up awesome fare for incredibly low prices. Good luck finding anything over eight bucks on their menu.
4. Colonial House Cafe, Norwood
This restaurant looks like somewhere you’d buy mulch, not incredible traditional New England dinner fare. Appearing to be just another home on a residential street, the Colonial House boasts a gigantic menu and some really gorgeous interior touches, like post and beam ceilings and a cozy, roaring fireplace. The steak is pretty great and the clam chowder is the best in the area.
5. Shanty Rose Pub, Plymouth Harbor
This is a former fish market that looks rather like a utility storage shed. However, the Shanty Rose Pub stays true to its fishy roots by serving up some of the freshest seafood you’ll find on the harbor, and for prices that are way lower than the touristy spots in the area. Locals love their whole belly fried clams and family atmosphere. Definitely a townie spot, and that’s part of the charm.
6. Bub’s Bar-B-Q, Sunderland
This place falls into the category of “restaurants that look like bait and tackle shops.” If it weren’t for the gigantic, red “BBQ” lettering on the side of the building, you might just drive on by. That would be a terrible mistake, because this unassuming joint has some of the best barbecue in the state, and probably America. In a 1985 nationwide poll, Bub’s barbecue was deemed 5th best in the country. Today, head on over for some insanely good pulled pork and alligator tail. Yes. Alligator tail.
7. Krau Thai, Buzzards Bay
If you’re looking for a restaurant that packs a lot of punch into an insanely small package, this is it. Though their dining room many only seats a few people, their offerings are ridiculously good. Your best bet might be takeout due to their tiny dining quarters, but no matter where you actually sit down to eat, the crazy noodles are a must-munch.
8. Antonio's Pizza, Amherst
This place looks like any other tiny neighborhood pizza place. Step inside, however, and you’ll smell that bready, saucy, cheesy scent that is the unmistakable mark of delicious pizza production. If pizza isn’t your game, try their honey mustard chicken pies. Delicious and cheap, what more can you ask for?
9. Thai House, Hyannis
Thai House is at the end of Hyannis’s uber-charming main street, so its the perfect place to refuel after an afternoon of strolling. This place looks kind of plain from the outside, but their Thai offerings are surprisingly authentic and varied. Plus, they’ll make your dish as spicy as you desire, even approaching true Thai heat.
10. Pit Stop Barbecue, Mattapan (Morton Village)
This place may not look like much (okay, it looks like a sketchy convenience store), but oh my lord: one gnaw of their ribs and you’re going to be asking them to cater your next party. The cajun-spice seasoning and tangy Carolina-style sauce will blow you away. A quick word of warning: there’s only seating for four. Yes, four people. And they’re only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So plan accordingly.
11. Amanouz Cafe, Northampton
This spot is pretty tiny, but that just gives the dining room a more intimate feel. The real draw here is the rare combination of truly tasty and authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, and genuinely low prices. Amanouz gives you nice, hearty portions and free pita chips for the cost of a much less exciting meal elsewhere. The shawarma is definitely a highlight of the menu, and the a slice of their fresh baklava would end dinner on a perfectly sweet note.
Do you know of any other Massachusetts restaurants that may look a little rough on the outside, but offer some incredible eats? Let us know!