In and Around Fitchburg, Massachusetts

This blog was created to discuss some of the positive aspects of living in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, that are often overlooked by outsiders and residents alike.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Family Cafe

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal, be it an elaborate brunch or a relaxing feast of diner-style comfort food. For the latter, nothing beats the Family Café on Water Street/Route 12 in Fitchburg. It has always amazed me how so many places can churn out soggy pancakes and home fries, flavorless omelettes, and dry bacon - I’ve come to realize that although breakfast may seem like a simple enough meal to prepare, places like the Family Café that actually do it right are tough to find. Everything is cooked perfectly, and there’s quite an array of menu items to choose from (note that the restaurant’s website doesn’t even seem to include mention of some offerings, such as delicious homemade muffins). Prices are unbelievably inexpensive, particularly given the generous portion sizes. The staff is incredibly friendly and will have you feeling at home in no time. And of course, they ensure that your coffee cup is never empty! The decor is comparable to what you’d expect for a casual diner, but it’s very clean and conveys a sense of pride for the hard-working owners, staff, and customers who keep the restaurant going. I’ve never had a chance to try lunch or dinner there, but I can wholeheartedly recommend breakfast at the Family Café!

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Devens Grill

I have been thrilled with my experiences at Devens Grill and look forward to many return visits. In addition to a pleasant indoor dining room and bar, an outdoor seating area is available. There are few things more relaxing than sitting out on the patio with a drink and some pub-style food... (Please, if anyone out there knows of any other good choices for outdoor dining in the Fitchburg area, let me know!) When it’s too cold to sit outdoors munching on things like nachos and mozzarella sticks, my favorite entree is the smoked mozzarella and basil ravioli, which has a fabulous smoky flavor. My husband is a fan of the filet mignon. Salads are fresh, and the french onion soup is done perfectly. There seems to be a decent wine list, although I have not yet studied it in any great detail. Service on all of our visits has been friendly and attentive. On the occasions that I’ve been there, there’s never been a wait for a table - I don’t think that word has gotten out yet about this place! (One side note: the restaurant's website doesn't seem to load correctly in Firefox, but it does work in IE.)

Labels: ,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Filho's Cucina

I plan to continue posting more local restaurant reviews, with coverage of a few places that are within about a 20- to 30-minute drive of Fitchburg. After all, it’s always nice to have some options for take-out on the commute home!

One of my favorite stops is Filho’s Cucina in Groton. There is some seating at this restaurant, but it's generally very busy, making take-out the best bet if your time is limited. The menu is extensive and includes soups, salads, panini, pasta, and other entrees - all are made with amazingly fresh ingredients. Honestly, I can’t stress enough how fresh the meals taste. The food has a wonderful aroma, and there are numerous vegetarian options available. Pricing is very reasonable, with the most expensive dishes on the regular menu being only $13 (specials are sometimes slightly more). The quality and portion sizes far exceed that of more traditional dine-in-only Italian restaurants. The staff gladly works with special requests; for example, consider adding grilled chicken to the Penne con Spinaci for a fabulous meal. If you choose to eat in, there’s a BYO policy, with many patrons opting to select a wine from an adjacent liquor store. The restaurant’s website includes a full menu, and I’m willing to bet that it’s not possible to resist a visit after scanning the menu - you won’t be disappointed!

Labels: ,

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oak Ridge Farm Stand

Those of you who live in the area may already be familiar with Harper’s Farm, which sells fresh vegetables and other items at their farm stand on Route 117 and also at various temporary locations in the region during their peak season. They have an extensive variety of outstanding produce as well as items such as flowers, pumpkins, and other seasonal items. In the midst of the recent spinach scare, Harper's was the ONLY place I was able to find spinach (and trust me, I searched far and wide). In addition to great quality and variety, the prices are unbeatable. It never ceases to amaze me when, for example, I walk out with several large tomatoes and a big bundle of fresh basil for only $1.75.

Needless to say, I was happy to learn that Oak Ridge Farm Stand, operated by the Harper family, is now open on Route 70 in North Lancaster (not far from the Toyota dealership). I stopped in for the first time this weekend and was incredibly impressed - they had so much more to offer than the delicious fresh vegetables that were the original purpose of my visit! Oak Ridge is actually more of a small grocery store than a farm stand. The focus is on locally-made products such as homemade soaps, fresh eggs, salsas, and pasta sauces. The vast majority of the store’s offerings are direct from Harper’s farms and orchards, including high quality hormone-free beef. The highlight of the visit for me, however, was learning that Oak Ridge also includes a deli and bakery. I resisted temptation and therefore have yet to try any of the variety of pies and cheesecakes, but I can attest firsthand that the old-fashioned homemade cinnamon sugar donuts were amazing! A loaf of tomato bread was also fabulous, as was a jar of homemade dill pickles. I’m eager to return to try some of the lunch-time meal offerings, such as chicken potpie, homemade soups, and fresh sandwiches. At my next visit, I’ll also be picking up some unique items, including high-end peanut butters made with ingredients like dark chocolate, white chocolate, banana, and raspberry. And I can’t wait until they open the dairy bar component of the business this spring!

Oak Ridge Farm Stand is currently open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends. Their number is (978) 537-4777. You can learn more about the business in two articles available here and here (though I’m not certain for how much longer they’ll remain available online).

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fitchburg to Get Its Own Free Local Paper

I was thrilled to learn today that the creator of another local blog, Save Fitchburg, will be serving as the editor of a new paper, the Fitchburg Pride, which is set to launch on January 26. I look forward to learning more about community news, events, and establishments through the new publication, which will also be accessible online at I hope that all of you will be reading too!