I’ll start with a confession. We are regulars at the East Side diner. (As regulars, we reserve the right to call it by its original name!) All breakfast joints will be measured against it. The girls love the pancakes and love the fact the waitress knows their order. We all love the quick service, frequent coffee top-offs and dependable breakfast staples.
You likely won’t have a transcendent meal (though the homemade griddled muffins are great) there (c’mon it’s a diner) you will always get a solid one, never disappointing, for a fair price and as much coffee as you can handle. And likely some gossip. That seems like a fair measuring stick for a breakfast place.
So we have pretty unwavering breakfast loyalty, but it turns out there’s a new breakfast place in town and it just happened to open when the East Side was closed for renovations. That gave us a loop hole to try out a new place without feeling guilty!
The Griddle Cafe is located in Medfield at the intersection of Route 109 and Route 27 in the small strip mall with the Papa Gino’s, Jing’s Garden and Re/Max office.
Since living in the area the past 10 years, I believe this is the third or fourth restaurant to give it a go in this space. The first two, also breakfast and lunch focused places, folded pretty quickly and it appeared both were in over their heads. The third, a BBQ place, last a few years, mostly on the strength of having a liquor license. I never heard very good things about the food. To be fair, as a vegetarian, I never actually ate it either.
Despite the first two going under quickly, I think there is definitely room, even in small Medfield for another breakfast place. There is actually a surprising lack of sit down quick eat places in the area. Medfield has Blue Moon Bagel, the counter at Brother’s and Noon Hill brunch on the weekends, but not much else beyond donuts and weird heat lamp warmed egg sandwiches from gas stations.
So how does the Griddle Cafe measure up?
It was no surprise then that when the Griddle Cafe opened recently that lines quickly formed on the weekends. Our first try on a late Sunday morning was thwarted, but we did get in early on a weekday morning during school vacation week. I also tried it alone, at the counter, on Marathon Monday.
Inside, the decor has been lightly updated from it’s time as a BBQ place, but mostly remains unchanged. There is still the bar at one end that now serves as a counter section, booths along both walls and scattered tables in the center. It felt open, airy and clean.
Given the low volume when we arrived, we were invited to seat ourselves and quickly given menus, including crayons and kid menus, along with coffee from a friendly waitress. A good start!
Maybe this is a symptom of knowing its previous life was a BBQ place or the fact that I am vegetarian, but the menu seemed to have more meat dishes than usual. Not just the standard ham and bacon, but many included beef brisket, pulled pork or linguica.
Maybe they were trying to be different? There were only a few dishes featuring vegetables or that I’d call healthy-ish. You could argue you don’t eat out at this type of place for healthy fare, but that appears to be the trend in the restaurant industry.
The biggest area of improvement I see if the time to table for the food. Even with the low, weekday morning volume, it took almost twenty minutes (I think there were two other tables, four total people along with us) to get our food. That has to get faster and might just be a symptom of a new restaurant, but plan accordingly.
The girls definitely did not go healthy, but they thoroughly cleaned their plates of their Oreo pancakes. It’s a terrifying plate, but they’ve been talking about them for three days now, so someone knows what they are doing designing the kid’s menu. If anything brings us back it will be the kids asking for these pancakes.
Both of us opted for the omelettes and they were just ok. A little heavy on the griddle oil, both for the eggs and the vegetables inside, and the potatoes were a little soft and bland. I prefer the home fries on the crisp side.
The second time I went, by myself, I opted for the lighter avocado and hard boiled egg wrap with a fruit cup. I actually asked if they could give me the egg white wrap and swap the brisket for an avocado. The waitress, maybe trying to be helpful, steered me toward this other option. I would have liked to see them accommodate my request. They did swap out the bread for a wrap.
To their credit, this (non-cooked dish) did come out much more quickly than the food on our previous visit.
I’d say the prices were pretty good, definitely on the lower side compared to the Toast Office, a similar style place that opened last year in Westwood.
Overall, for us, this is a good addition to the town and a good option to have for breakfast or lunch, but likely won’t challenge the East Side as our breakfast place of choice. Prices are competitive, food is ok, service is friendly, but the kitchen could be a little faster.