At Good Days, the gears on a 1950s vending machine turn, sending a Coca-Cola bottle tumbling to the bottom. Smiles festoon vintage photos hanging on walls. And on hot days, an ice cream window refuses to stay shut, its staffer serving an endless line of customers who await their chance at a locally-made scoop. This is where the nostalgic and the simply hungry go to quell their cravings for American fare and breakfast served all day. In booths and at tables, forks dive into fish and chips, moist turkey roasted in house, and French toast made with dense slices of banana-nut bread. The restaurant is open seven days a week, just enough time to try almost everything on the menu or proclaim a new favorite dish 21 times.
Patriots Diner is a throwback to the 1950s, a time when restaurants and soda fountains served as important hubs of socialization. The menu there deepens nostalgia with dishes that the owners hope emulates the cooking most people grew up with. Under glowing lights like hanging martini glasses, plates brim with juicy burgers, fish and chips, meat loaf, and pork chops. Coffee cups warm hands next to all-day breakfast offerings of omelets and waffles beneath walls decorated with vintage magazine covers and photos of Christopher Columbus’ wooden scuba flippers. The restaurant’s neon-blue lights are easily seen from the roadside and match the dining room’s royal blue booths and chrome-trimmed stools.
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Sugar Baking Co. & Restaurant’s kitchen is always full of appealing ingredients: cage-free eggs, certified humane meats, real Vermont maple syrup, and fresh picks from the Roslindale Farmers’ Market. It’s also almost always open; diners flock to the eatery for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the morning, diners bite into lemon ricotta pancakes and French toast stuffed with brie, and at dinnertime, they feast on braised lamb shank and pan-seared salmon. They complement their meals with wines from New Zealand, Argentina, and France and craft beers from nearby breweries such as Ipswich and Smuttynose. While they enjoy their meals, they also delight in the smell of fresh bread from the on-site bakery, whose treats range from cannolis and éclairs to apple turnovers—regular apples you eat with your feet touching the ceiling.
Allston Diner forges hearty breakfast platters all day long, filling a significant gap in the area's dining scene with its "down-South comfort food," according to a feature in the Boston Phoenix. The cooks ladle sausage gravy over house-made biscuits and top crispy cornbread waffles with golden-brown pieces of fried chicken. They also do their best to accommodate a range of diets by whisking together vegetarian-friendly omelets and vegan pancakes.
Much like the menu, the dining room toes the line between a nostalgic diner and a contemporary urban eatery. Backless stools line the front counter, and turquoise trim adorns the walls and booths. Even the tables embrace this whimsical eclecticism, featuring carefully arranged collages of comic-book panels and napkins that are made from hand-woven cotton candy.
Wielding a bountiful bevy of certified U.S. comfort foods, Johnny's Luncheonette has garnered fame and fortune from myriad magazines. No matter how late you get up, Johnny's celebrated crunchy french toast ($7.95) is always waiting to greet your face. For diners whose style doesn't include a breakfast out of bed, Johnny's serves burgers and sandwiches as well as classic American dinners. Eating a 50s burger (served with coleslaw and a pickle; $7.50) brings people back to a time during which they almost certainly weren't alive, and a roast turkey dinner with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and choice of bread ($12.95) transports the mouth to a different day and age without the aid of a flux capacitor. Pair any delectable selectable with an old-fashioned malt ($5.50) or a raspberry-lime rickey ($3.50) to complete the mouthsemble.