I’ve been promising to write more about food. I’ve discovered a restaurant that offers great value and great food, the Echo Bridge Restaurant. I first heard about the great pizza at Echo Bridge in the snack room of the Boston Phoenix almost a decade ago. I asked where it was, but I could never really place the neighborhood. It’s wedged into Newton Upper Falls, a blue collar patch near the border of Needham, amid a very affluent town.
We sat in the dining area adjacent to the bar (which I’ll get to in a second.) We ordered pizza and a salad. We got a large delicious pizza with a doughy crust and tasty sauce. The pizza cost $8.00. That is not a misprint. Imagine a full pizza for $8.00 with extra toppings only $1.00. I saw patrons in other booths ordering Italian and American meals, such as veal cutlet or steak. The highest price on the entire menu was $13.75 for pasta and two veal cutlets — just one was $9.50.
I got a chance to speak with one of the members of the Virgilio family, which has owned the restaurant since 1962, and learned the restaurant’s story. He said he believes it is important to offer quality food at a low price. Even with the large crowds the restaurant gets, the increase in costs in recent years has put a squeeze on profits. Despite that, he vowed to continue the tradition of having a locally-owned place where families can come for a meal.
I didn’t get a chance to have a drink at the bar, which forms a square, but can say it had a great homey vibe. The patrons all seemed to be in lively spirits and to know each other well. It’s been described elsewhere as a “townie” bar, but I hate to traffic in cliches. The decor was sparse other than an old placard for an Italian festival, a terrific, homemade-looking, collage of Boston Bruins highlights over the last four decades, and a Larry Bird poster.
The restaurant reminded me of another Gitell favorite, one I too rarely visit as it is across the river, Greg’s in Watertown.
Let me know if you have favorite old-school places that offer great value. I have a feeling Gitell.com readers will be looking for that.