A week or so ago, my very dear friend, Maria suggested that I do series on the diners of Worcester. Well Maria, this one's for you, kid...
On Sunday, I found myself up bright and early with not much going on. Jackson had a fantasy baseball draft (this from the guy who just passed up tickets to opening day at Fenway...) and I didn't have plans until the afternoon. I busied myself cleaning my apartment, which is honestly a constant item on my to-do list. When I'd made a significant dent in the project, I decided to scavenge for some breakfast food. Talk about a wasted effort. We didn't have anything that even resembled breakfast food... okay a slight lie, but if I eat any more oatmeal, I might turn into the Quaker Oats guy. Anyway, I found myself without an appealing breakfast option and decided I needed to remedy the situation. Instead of being a responsible adult and using my free time to grocery shop, I determine the much better plan was to call Maria, pull her away from her Graduate thesis work and entice her to meet me at the Boulevard for chocolate chip pancakes. Let's just say, I really had to twist her arm to get her to agree.
The Boulevard Diner is located on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester was established in 1936 - so bonus points for being historic. The exterior is an old club car design, with a red and white awning and neon lights for the late-night crowd. I have to admit that this is the first time I've been to the Boulevard in the daylight. My normal Sunday morning at the Boulevard is normal in the wee hours of the morning, after frequenting some of the other establishments on Shrewsbury Street. The place is hopping late at night, I've often had to wait in line for seating at 2 a.m. and there is rarely parking without a bit of a walk after midnight on any weekend. It's also a great place to meet really interesting (ie. drunk) individuals who are just as enthusiastic as I am about food ... heh. But, no matter what the hour, the cheery staff of the Boulevard welcome patrons with a hello and a cup of coffee. (God bless their smiles at 3 a.m., I always leave a big tip, because they put up with a lot.) Inside you have the choice of a booth or the "bar" which is right at the grill with those twisty stools that can keep kids (or me) occupied for hours. Maria and I opted for a booth this time.
At the Boulevard, you don't get a personal menu, you read the sprawling list of possible options above the grill. However, you don't necessarily have to order for the menu, just ask what you are considering and it's possible they'll have it or be able to make it - which also gets bonus point because this makes me feel like a celebrity or VIP. They're pretty fantastic in that regard. Being a greasy spoon diner, you'd think that you ought to stick to the breakfast items, but the food is solid across the board. It's all artery-clogging good (no weight watchers friendly options and Vegans should just keep walking [I'll review EVO soon for that crowd]) and the portions are heaping. A local favorite is their Italian toast, which I would equate more to a loaf of bread, grilled in what seems like pure butter. The chocolate chip pancakes are my go-to selection, but this time I ordered a breakfast sandwich - bacon, egg and cheese on a grilled bagel.. So delicious. Maria ordered the 3-egg breakfast. It comes with toast (she opted for the italian) and home-fries and to drink - a hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream, delightful! You can't beat the prices. The facebook page says it all. Entrees range from $0-$10, accessible to any budget.
While there, I overheard a family who were connoisseurs of diners. They'd traveled from Pennsylvania and just had to stop at "the Famous Boulevard." It's no surprise that the Boulevard is a prominent stop on "diner's of the North East" tours. It's got quiet a reputation for excellence. Just from a quick Google search it turns out my humble (hehe) blog will now join the ranks of some extremely popular food blogs that have reviewed the Boulevard.
The Boulevard is a Worcester treasure and is definitely tipping the scales in the city's favor. It's part one in my series of competing Worcester diners and I am totally up for the challenge! Any one want to join me for breakfast?