It is no secret that finding a 24-hour restaurant in the Boston area can be a difficult task, but there are a few here and there if you look hard enough. At least a couple of them are located in or very near the downtown area of Beantown itself, including the popular South Street Diner near South Station and a relatively little-known place a bit further out (the Newmarket Square and South Bay area near where Roxbury and Dorchester meet) called Victoria's Diner. And while Victoria's isn't open 24 hours all the time--they are open all day and all night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--they are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, which is a relative rarity among diners in and around the city.
Located in a dusty and rather gritty industrial section of Boston that is starting to see some new development, Victoria's Diner is one of a handful of dining spots in the immediate area, and had once been home to a long-closed one that is greatly missed--Speed's, a hot dog wagon that had been a local institution. Needless to say, truckers and warehouse workers frequent Victoria's and the other restaurants around here, but Victoria's also attracts college students, families from Roxbury and Dorchester, South Shore suburbanites, and many others who happen to know of this restaurant. The place itself is fairly spacious for a diner, with a bright and relatively cheery front room that has about 20 tables and a few stools at the counter, and a cozy and quiet back room with another 10 tables or so and stained glass windows bringing a little bit of light into the otherwise dimly-lit space.
Victoria's focuses on diner food, of course, but there are certainly some surprises on the menu (more on that later). Breakfast items run the gamut from your basic breakfast plate to waffles, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, omelets (including a Newmarket omelet which has bacon, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, asparagus, and jalapeno peppers, and a hashlette), eggs benedict, breakfast sandwiches, grits, and, if you'd like a bit of everything, dishes such as the "Rehab," which includes eggs, potatoes, toast, meat options, and either pancakes or French toast. Some specific highlights at Victoria's include a decadent Monte Cristo breakfast sandwich that consists of turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese stuffed between two pieces of French toast; a "hashlette" that includes a mouthwatering combination of corned beef hash, cheddar cheese, and eggs; a grilled and buttered banana bread that has a ton of flavor; a scrumptious breakfast burger that comes with eggs, ham, green peppers, mushrooms, and cheese, all packed into an English muffin; a ham ciabatta that includes diced ham, scrambled eggs, roasted red peppers, and provolone cheese, all placed in a fresh, soft ciabatta roll; a breakfast burrito that comes complete with shaved steak, eggs, cheese, peppers, and onions; and a breakfast quesadilla that comes with bacon, eggs, and cheese. A few items that have been retired from the regular menu include an absolutely sinful Nutella-smothered French toast, a waffle with Nutella, and an equally sinful Cinnabon French toast with maple cinnamon mascarpone syrup, but ask your server if they can make any of these just in case.
Lunch and dinner at Victoria's includes soups, salads, burgers, hot dogs, paninis, and more substantial dinner entrees. Among the highlights are a plate of poutine that comes with melted cheddar cheese and lots of gravy; a terrific macaroni and cheese that has a flavorful mix of cheeses complementing the salty goodness of pancetta; a homemade baked meatloaf that has just the right amount of herbs and spices and comes with a side of mashed potatoes; a meatloaf sandwich for those who might be just a big less hungry; a short rib macaroni and cheese that is as coma-inducing as the French toast with Nutella; an open-faced roast beef sandwich with demi-glaze and toasted Texas-style white bread; a turkey dinner that includes everything from mashed potatoes to stuffing to squash and is substantial enough to fill most people; and a New England classic--a great version of American chop suey with plenty of meat and noodles. And as mentioned earlier, there are also a few surprises on the menu, including marmalade-marinated glazed pork loin medallions, grilled trout seasoned with a lemon-pepper mix, and a Mediterranean chicken plate with Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, roasted red peppers, veggies, and Greek salad dressing. Don't forget desserts here; Victoria's has some tasty ones, including an impressive pecan pie that comes with a scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream.
For those who know of the place, Victoria's Diner is indeed a spot to return to again and again; the menu is varied and extensive, the folks who work there are generally pretty friendly and laid back, and the overall feel is almost that of a classic truck stop, which is something definitely tough to come by in the Boston area. Add to this free parking (both on the street and in their smallish lot) and reasonable prices, and you have yourself perhaps one of the best diners inside Route 128, AND one that you can go to at 3:30 in the morning on some days (if you are so inclined).
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