North Quincy and the adjacent Wollaston are two neighborhoods in Quincy that seem to mostly buck the trend of generic restaurant chains. Sure, a few have popped up here and there, but for the most part, these two close-knit communities have more or less retained their character, in part because of the burgeoning Asian community in both neighborhoods, and also because much of the area is residential and not prone to a lot of development other than around the North Quincy T station area. One restaurant that represents the old-fashioned feel to the area is the Wheelhouse Diner, a classic food joint in an old railroad car diner on Hancock Street just south of the heart of North Quincy. Everything about this place screams out old-school, from the neon sign out front to the well-worn booths and stools in the tiny dining area.
The Wheelhouse Diner doesn't have much room inside (they have a row of stools along the counter and a few booths along the outer wall), but it is usually not too difficult to get a seat, even on weekends, in part because it isn't all that well-known outside of the immediate area. The people working the counter and the grills are in constant motion, and even though the pace can be rather hectic, the food is cooked to order and tends to be one step above your basic greasy spoon grub. One breakfast standout is the house-made corned beef hash, which is a bit more crunchy and less watery than what you might typically find in a diner, and has just a bit of onion but not so much as to overwhelm the other ingredients. Other good options for breakfast include waffles, French toast, and a variety of pancakes including some specials such as caramel apple and blueberry cheesecake. Diners also can order from an array of benedicts and omelets, and oat cups are available to those who are looking for something a bit more healthy. If you head over to the diner for lunch, some of the items you will find here include burgers and hot dogs as well as variety of other sandwiches and a handful of more substantial entrees. By the way, many diners tend to open up either really early or stay open really late (or both), and in the case of the Wheelhouse, it is indeed the former, as on weekends the place opens at 12:30 AM, which is definitely good news for truckers, night owls, and those who work the late shift.
Back in the middle of the 20th century (around the time the Wheelhouse started out), there must have been hundreds of places in New England like the Wheelhouse Diner. But today, it seems that there are fewer and fewer of these places each year; let's hope that the Wheelhouse Diner sticks around for decades to come, as it is a truly unique place that deserves to be discovered by those outside of the North Quincy neighborhood.
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