When you live or grow up around Boston, especially North of Boston, you come to worship these roast beef fast food places for their generally high quality roast beef sandwiches, fast service and great fried sides. If you're from Revere, it's Kelly's. From Salem, it's Bill and Bob's. From Beverly, it's Nick's. Somehow, I'd never made it to North Andover's Harrison's until now but I'm glad I did. These are more than just fast food palaces, these are memories of young adulthood. These are the places that are open after the bars close and you need a stomach full of love before resting your head on your pillow. A friend of mine wanted to revisit this part of his life as we made our way back home to New Hampshire from Logan airport. I have similar memories from Bill and Bob's and Nicks so I was happy to oblige. These places specialize in roast beef piled high on onion rolls. You can choose to add sauce (usually James River or some other well known brand), onion, cheese, mayo, mustard and so on. I confess, I have always preferred the proportion of bread to meat that come with the junior size. My standard order is "two juniors, sauce, cheese, onion, pizza roll, small onion rings and a diet coke". The pizza roll is crucial. It is an unholy marriage of egg roll and pizza filling (sauce and cheese) that should make one cringe but once bitten, makes all the sense in the world. Harrison's is what it is. Clean, reasonably priced, fast and delicious. The meal was made extra special because my friend and I got to swap memories of our early twenties chowing down on this fare after nights of revel. It's roast beef with a side of nostalgia.
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