The city of Worcester is one of the largest urban areas in New England, so when a restaurant within its borders is relatively little known (except among locals and those in the know), it is a given that the place is all but nonexistent to Boston residents. But the Gold Star Restaurant, which is located a short distance north of the downtown area, isn't simply another obscure place; it is also a terrific little family diner that is well worth a stop, whether you are a local, a visitor, or are simply passing by the city on the Mass. Pike.
The Gold Star Restaurant is housed in a rather nondescript building just east of Indian Lake and a few blocks away from the intersection of Routes 290 and 190. From the outside, it almost looks like one of the many superettes that can be found in Boston, Worcester, and other New England cities. But the inside almost has the feel of the fictional Monks Diner on Seinfeld, with its counter stools and comfy booths, its bustling overall feel, and its satisfying breakfasts and lunches.
The menu at the Gold Star Restaurant includes all the standards you would expect at a family diner. Breakfast options include eggs, pancakes, corned beef hash (some of the best this writer has had, by the way), pancakes, and waffles. Lunch options center mostly around sandwiches, including griddled, messy burgers that are similar to Wendy's in looks, but much superior in quality. Prices are reasonable (as you would expect in a place like this) and area parking isn't bad. One note: The Gold Star does have quite a following among locals, so there can be a wait at times.
A big part of Worcester's history includes diners, as this is the city where lunch wagons were first manufactured commercially, and, in fact, a number of historic diners crafted by the Worcester Lunch Car Company can still be found throughout the city. The Gold Star Restaurant is by no means in this category (as mentioned, it is housed in a rather plain building, not a restored diner), but it is a place that can hold its own against some of these historic diners in the food department. The locals are certainly onto something with the Gold Star Restaurant; it's surely worth trying if you are looking for a place to get good food cheap on the north side of Worcester.
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