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.
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.
The chefs at Cookin Cafe & Grille bake up a full menu of classic American eats, specialty pizzas, succulently filled subs, and all-day breakfasts for pickup or delivery. Pizza prodigies spin out 14 specialty pies that blanket crispy crusts with tomato or buffalo sauce, fresh veggies, and classic meats such as pepperoni, grilled chicken, and sausage to comfort growling stomachs without swallowing a teddy bear. Steak tips, falafel, and shish kebabs pile into a choice of sub, triple-decker sandwich, wrap with a whole-wheat tortilla, or calzone with fresh, house-made dough. Cookin Cafe & Grille's all-day breakfast menu quells midday cravings for bacon and eggs, which can be ordered by clicking online or sending a postcard with binary scribbled on the back.
During its 17 years in business, Mike’s City Diner has been visited by dignitaries such as Bill Clinton and personalities such as Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host Guy Fieri. But Mike's owes its initial fame to the blue-collar types who flocked to the diner in its earliest days. Back then, the South End neighborhood was still up-and-coming, and the construction crews that gave the neighborhood its facelift soon became loyal patrons of this breakfast and lunch spot thanks to the heaping portions of homey fare, made entirely from scratch. As South End transitioned, so did Mike's clientele, bringing in the college students, taxi drivers, and families who have made this spot a Boston institution. That made-from-scratch philosophy extends to nearly every ingredient at Mike's from the down-home breakfast dishes––the kitchen cracks as many as 6,000 real eggs each weekend––to the pastrami, which they smoke themselves. The most famous dish, however, is the turkey dinner. Fresh turkeys are roasted in-house every day, then served with all the traditional Thanksgiving fixin's such as homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, creamed candy corn, and a vegetable. And the cooking isn't the only thing contributing to Mike's old-fashioned vibe: a recent renovation unveiled a vintage art-deco inspired interior, complete with a vinyl textured ceiling, chrome-rimmed tables, and red barstools, perfect for perching over a bottomless cup of coffee.
It may not look like much from the outside—a diminutive brick wedge of a building with a small front window cluttered with outsized slogans such as “Home Cooking” and “Free Delivery.” But something almost transcendent happens when you step inside My Diner. There’s a sense that the city around you is disappearing, gradually giving way to a family gathering that’s been waiting for you all this time. The family-run diner has a way of making guests feel at home with its heaping portions of comfort food and special birthday meals. Turkey roasts on a vertical spit, slow-cooking for dinners served with homemade stuffing, butternut squash, and cranberry sauce. Like that of any diner worth its salt, My Diner’s menu runs the gamut from sirloin burgers to bottomless mugs of coffee. If you’d still rather enjoy your meal in the comfort of your home, My Diner will deliver it to your door free of charge.