Monday, September 22, 2008

The Story of a Restaurant Hiding in a Working Class Residential Norwood, MA, Neighborhood

Article and photo by Eric H., at

Driving into a working-class residential neighborhood on Savin St. in Norwood, MA, will lead you to a building that could pass as a lousy-looking home, an even lousier-looking auto body shop or perhaps a warehouse that sells boiler plant parts.

Most locals fondly know this building as the Colonial House Restaurant, but people outside the area generally have no clue about this truly hidden restaurant. For all of its homely exterior, things change quickly upon entering up a few steps into the lively bar area with a modest wide-screen television and chances to play Keno. Upon further inspection, however, the restaurant, as a whole, looks incredibly inviting. The Colonial House Restaurant is truly one cozy looking place with a fireplace that roars warmly in the winter, wall sconces by each booth, wide plank wooden floors and post-and-beam ceilings in the two back dining rooms that would make George Washington, your grandmother, parents and children with colonialist tendencies proud. It's hard to believe that you're in this type of charming atmosphere, given the cruddy building exterior and otherwise nice homes on a street that comprise a real neighborhood, not a place for a restaurant.

The Colonial House Restaurant delivers a fine dining experience to its loyal customers -- some in baseball caps and others earning 22 times what their employees make -- with large portions of reasonably-priced steak, chicken, seafood and pasta dishes. The baked stuffed chicken with stuffing, gravy and vegetable of the day is about as good as its gets for this type of dish, as well as the lobster bisque, prime rib, chicken broccoli and ziti, fried calamari and a surprisingly good Italian-style pizza. There are enough beer selections to please the most finicky Norwood drinking crowd, and there's even a list of fine wines that goes well beyond the Boone's Farm level.

People in Norwood are loyal to their town. Many never leave, which is understandable since it's a close-knit community with a terrific downtown, tree-lined neighborhoods, two classic New England town commons, an excellent hospital and other services, and watering hole/restaurants like the Old Colonial Restaurant. If I lived in Norwood, I would brag about this hidden gem of a place to people outside the area and take them there, at every opportunity. Since I don't live in Norwood, however, I consider myself lucky to know this out-of-the-way restaurant with the ugly exterior and very appealing inside atmosphere and fine, traditional foods.

Colonial House Restaurant
33 Savin Ave, Norwood, MA
Phone: (781) 762-3000

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