Heading home from a weekend trip to Southeastern Massachusetts for a high school reunion, I stopped off for a late lunch in Newburyport, one of my favorite North Shore communities. The Garmin pulled up Park Lunch in the list of restaurants. When I saw the word "lunch" in the name, I figured that it was a luncheonette or diner; and, that's the type of place I like for lunch. So, I went there.
Park Lunch is away from the busy downtown area. It has its own parking lot with plenry of spaces.
For the off-hour of 3:00 PM, it was quite busy, but the pleasant hostess/waitress seated me immediately at one of two available tables.
The place is small and cozy with several booths and about six tables of varying sizes. It was what I expected---an old-fashioned casual family restaurant with a luncheonette atmosphere. It's a place where you feel comfortable for casual dining. There was bar seating nearby.
The service was prompt. I placed my order for a grilled ham & cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread. It came out of the kitchen about 10 minutes later. It was grilled to a light golden brown with a light application of butter, so it wasn't greasy to handle. The sandwich had two slices of ham between two slices of white American cheese. It came with a dill pickle spear. It was excellent. I enjoyed it. The price was only $2.95.
There was a party of three at the adjacent table three feet away---a mother with her teenage daughter and pre-teen son. The mom had the fried shrimp plate with French fries and coleslaw. I commented that the meal look good. She replied that, whenever she came up north, she stopped off here for this same meal. The son and daughter shared a pizza. A few minutes later, I heard the son say, "This is the best pizza in the whole world." The daughter concentrated on eating her share of the pizza without comment.
I could tell that a most of the other diners were local regular patrons. One such pair was what appeared to be a middle-aged daughter out with her senior mother. The mom had a plate of fried clams and seemed to be savoring each one. The daughter had a plate of fried food, too. Another party of two senior men had pizza. All these other diners seemed to enjoy their food. Nobody was complaining.
I also read the adult beverage list. It listed about a half dozen draft beers and two dozen bottled beers that included O'Doul's and Redbridge Gluten Free from Anheuser-Busch. There were four wines by the glass available.
Park Lunch is a place where you can spend about $2.50 for a plain grilled cheese sandwich or $10.00 for a pizza or $16.50 for a baked haddock dinner to $19.95 for a fried scallop dinner. Fried shellfish appetizers were also available in small and large sizes in a price range of $16.50 to $24.95. So, you can get a full dinner or lighter fare here.
Before balking at the seafood prices, keep in mind what Grumpy White of Quincy says:
1) Good seafood is not cheap.
2) Cheap seafood is not good.
And, Grumpy White's seafood prices are comparable to Park Lunch's.
I'll call this place a little hidden gem.
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