The Greater Boston area certainly has its fair share of old-fashioned diners, but it isn't really true diner country like, say, New York, Connecticut, or New Jersey, the latter of which is often considered the diner capital of the world. Still, Boston and the surrounding cities and towns do have some good ones, including a classic spot in Watertown (which has several diners, by the way) called Deluxe Town Diner that has been around for a long, long time and is an especially popular place with those who live in or near the town's bustling Coolidge Square area. And while the Deluxe name has become a bit more known of late with the opening of sister spots in Newton and Framingham, the place still flies just a bit under the radar after all these years, with tourists, businesspeople visiting Boston, and those who live on the North Shore and South Shore mostly not knowing about it at all.
The Coolidge Square section of East Watertown is known in part for its variety of Armenian and Middle Eastern shops and eateries, though it also has several other dining spots offering other types of foods (including Stella's, a tiny storefront that has some of the best New York-style pizza in the Boston area). Deluxe Town Diner resides right in the heart of the square, standing out a bit as it has all the neon and stainless steel that you expect from an old-fashioned diner that has been around since the 1940s. The interior of the place is a bit more spacious than it would appear from the outside, with a U-shaped counter area with stools taking up much of the space and a good amount of booths, tables, and bench seats along the outer edge of the room, most of which have views from the windows. Because it is a diner, the Deluxe can be hectic and a bit noisy at times, but that tends to go with the overall vibe of such an authentic old spot.
Diner food tends to be more or less the same from place to place, and there are few surprises at Deluxe Town Diner as far as what is on the menu. But it is the quality of the dishes here that makes this place anything but your typical diner, with so many items being standouts that it really is more about what you like than what you should order--and because both breakfast and lunch items are served all day long, the choices are many no matter what time you come here. A few favorites at the Deluxe include classic Rhode Island-style jonny cakes that have a nice crunch on the outside and are served with real maple syrup (though purists tend to only put butter on jonny cakes); thin French-Acadian buckwheat and wheat pancakes called ployes, which contain no eggs, milk, or sugar; a sublime house-made corned beef hash that is shredded rather than diced and comes with a good amount of potatoes and carrots; outstanding home fries made with red potatoes and are just a bit heavy on the rosemary; loaded home fries which are a meal in themselves, as they come with fried eggs, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheddar cheese, along with a bit of hollandaise sauce; a classic chicken noodle soup with egg noodles, carrots, celery, and onions; a variety of sandwiches including great takes on turkey clubs, reubens, and monte cristos; griddled burgers and hot dogs along with a veggie burger option; and dinner items (served after 4:00 PM) such as meatloaf, steak tips, pot roast, fish and chips, New England baked haddock, and a relative rarity in restaurants--a broasted half chicken seasoned with herbs and butter. Drinks at the Deluxe Town Diner include coffee, tea, soda, lime rickeys, frappes and shakes, a NYC-style egg cream, and beer and wine, while desserts run the gamut from apple pie to carrot cake to bread pudding.
Some consider the Deluxe Town Diner to be the best diner in the Greater Boston area, though it does have some strong competition from such places as Victoria's, the South Street Diner, and Mike's City Diner in Boston and Mul's Diner in Southie. It is certainly up for debate as to which is the best, but it would not be a stretch to say that the Deluxe is at the top of the heap when it comes to diners in the suburbs, and unlike its competitors in the city (except for Victoria's, which has its own lot), parking is pretty easy to find at the Deluxe. If you like old-school diners and you haven't been to this spot yet, do yourself a favor and head over to this little section of Watertown to see why so many locals come here time and time again.
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