Before moving to Cambridge I used to get up early in the morning, catch the C-line to Cleveland Circle where I would then catch the 86 bus to Union Square. Why, one might very legitimately ask, would anyone willingly get up early on a Sunday morning to take a nearly hour-long trip to Somerville? The answer is Neighborhood Restaurant.
I now live within walking distance of this wonderful Portuguese breakfast spot so there's no need to spend the bus fare or get up quite so early. What is so special about this restaurant? It's all in the food. Arrive early on the weekends or you'll be spending most of your time waiting on the sidewalk. There are no reservations and there is no hostess waiting at a greeting desk. You simply walk up to the front door and sign in your name on a sheet of paper, grab a cup of complimentary coffee and a pastry and wait your turn. Once inside the tiny restaurant (or the outdoor grapevine covered patio open only in summer) you will be faced with the daunting task of choosing your breakfast. You can't go wrong with any of the standards, although I usually opt for one of the specials (Belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream or lox eggs benedict.) Be forewarned, a seemingly harmless order such as pancakes comes with what looks like a second breakfast. All meals are served with fresh unlimited coffee or tea, fresh squeezed orange juice, a choice of fruit or hot cereal, homemade pastries, breads, and some of the best homefries I've had in Boston. Depending on what you order, this is often accompanied by some delicious tasting sausage and two eggs. Then you'll get your pancakes.
Don't expect anything less than a no-nonsense welcome from this family run business. Neighborhood is not the place to dawdle and read the paper, someone will be ready to take your order as soon as you sit down. That being said, you will feel as though you are having breakfast at a family home. The food is filling, homecooked and amazingly good. The atmosphere is warm and friendly despite the hustle and bustle of the Sunday morning brunch crowd. Good food, good crowd, good times. You can't get more neighborly than that.
The Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery, located at 25 Bow Street, in Somerville, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (617) 628-2151.