The food is fantastic. The menu is mouth-watering. The customers are incredibly loyal. These are eight Great restaurants with a cult-like following.
Kicking off the Great 8 is Wendell’s Pub in Norton. This old school spot opened its doors in 1984, and they have been tossing and saucing addictive deep-fried Buffalo wings to order ever since.
Michael’s Deli in Brookline is an old time Jewish deli that has been making larger-than-life New York style sandwiches for almost 40 years. There’s the Reuben stacked high with their signature corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and housemade Russian dressing on fresh pumpernickel. But if you’re really hungry, look no further than the Slim’s Triple Brisket – a two pound sandwich stacked with corned beef, pastrami, and brisket.
Another Great 8 winner is the NewBridge Cafe in Chelsea. Since 1975, this meat-eaters institution has been known for their signature steak tips served in a casual atmosphere full of characters. Each one of their tender tips is marinated to order, skewered, and fired to perfection on the grill.
Vinny’s at Night
Vinny’s at Night in Somerville is a beloved Italian restaurant hidden in the back of a convenience store and sub shop. Customers in the know come here for the famous marinara sauce, and a whole lot more. There is sweet and satisfying Shrimp Gran Marinier, piping hot Sicilian style Pasta al Forno and a massive Veal Osso Bucco served over risotto. If you have room for dessert, try the fresh-filled cannoli or the homemade tiramisu.
Amsterdam Falafelshop in Davis Square, Somerville is a bright, fun, and affordable quick-service spot. The authentic falafel here has a huge following and you can customize at a toppings bar filled with a smorgasbord of 25 sauces and veggies.
Emma’s Pub and Pizza
Another Great 8 winner is Emma’s Pub and Pizza. With locations in Bridgewater and Norton, this spot is beloved by bargain hunters because they serve all of your favorite foods at crazy low prices, like big sheets of pizza, overloaded lobster rolls, and burgers that will make your jaw drop. It’s all the brainchild of owner Crazy Ron Emma – a man who definitely lives up to his moniker.
Thwaites Market in Methuen is a throwback grocery store that specializes in English meat pies – small savory snacks filled with everything from Mac and Cheese, to Spicy Buffalo Chicken, to Broccoli and Cheese. But if you want to go old school, you have to order the original English Pork Pie.
Rounding out the Great 8 is Bagelsaurus in Porter Square, Cambridge. Customers line up in droves at this artisan, handcrafted bagel shop where they serve piping hot bagels pulled from the oven moments before they hit your mouth. Each one is made by hand and cooked in small batches, in flavors like Cinnamon Raisin, Sesame, Everything, even Pretzel and Black Olive. These babies are so good, spreads like cream cheese and housemade almond butter are available, but not necessary.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.