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Brookline Lunch

l9 Brookline Street

Central Square

Cambridge, Mass.

(617) 354-2983

At first glance, Brookline Lunch doesn’t look like much. It looks a little cruddy, and it isn’t in the most charming of locations amidst the liquor stores and homeless of Central Square. But more important than the décor is the food, of course!

Brookline Lunch serves breakfast all day. That’s right — you can get hearty omelettes, eggy French toast, and syrupy pancakes served with orange juice or a cup of coffee anytime you want. They also offer lunch foods such as salads, sandwiches, soup, and other dishes — but to be honest, I never actually ventured onto that side of the menu. They have pancakes, for Pete’s sake!

I recommend either the spinach and cheese omelette or the tomato and feta. Both are served with toast and a potato-vegetable medley. Unlike many diner-like breakfast joints, Brookline Lunch opts to serve a sort of pan-fried mix of vegetables and potatoes instead of just home fries, which can be greasy, gross, and tend to make me feel dirty and smelly after eating them.

In addition, the portion sizes seem more in line with what a normal person would actually want to eat in one sitting. If you are expecting a plate filled with several potatoes, a half dozen eggs, half a pig’s worth of bacon, and buttery toast, you might be disappointed.

One thing you should definitely go for is the homemade jam and spicy sauce that come with your meal — it is inexplicably good and you can’t get it anywhere else. If this doesn’t sound good, you can’t go wrong with standards like pancakes, French toast, and eggs Benedict.

Besides, the restaurant has character. Once you climb the steps and enter the open door, you are greeted by a kooky and crazy interior. There are mis-matched booths on both sides of the restaurant with a few small tables with dusty fake flowers between them.

You can see the kitchen in the back behind a retro cash register on a cluttered counter-top. On the brick walls, there is usually funky artwork from a local gallery that I suppose one could purchase if so inclined. My recent favorites are the portraits of cats in bowties, adorned with glitter. And take a gander at the ceiling decorations if you go.

Also, you can’t go wrong with these prices: for just a little more than Delicious Lunch Box, you get a meal that doesn’t come in a red and white Styrofoam box and that you don’t have to eat with a plastic fork in the Student Center. Prices are low and represent what I believe to be an excellent value. You will get lunch with tax and tip for around $5–7!

One thing that turns some eaters off Brookline Lunch is the service — but this isn’t Newbury Street. You are getting food for under four bucks, and when you do get a server’s attention, she is friendly and happy to take your requests.

As far as logistics, even the most campus-bound of students should be able to locate and get to Brookline Lunch without a problem; it’s even close enough that you can get there and back during lunchtime. Weekdays, I have never had a problem securing a table or getting my repast in a timely fashion, but weekends are another story when folks line up outside to get a table.

So next time you are feeling hungry but can’t stomach another burrito, Boston cream donut, or LaVerde’s sandwich, check out Brookline Lunch. It may not be for everyone, but those of you who enjoy no-frills food in a quirky environment will not be disappointed.