That is sad. I just did some research on the Web and it looks as though even Macy's Herald Square has farmed their dining rooms and lunch counters out to McD's, Annie's Pretzels and Starbucks (please tell me if I'm wrong).
You did remind me that I heard of one still in existence, at least a couple of years ago, on our local restaurant review show, The Phantom Gourmet. http://www.phantomgourmet.com/Showpage.aspx?content=ReportCard&id=3175
Mary Anne's Luncheonette
446 Main St.
Medfield, MA 02052
Lord's in Medfield, Massachusetts, is true throwback. In the age of Super-Duper-Mega-Marts, this family owned department store has thrived for 65 years offering one stop shopping for everything from clothes to canning jars. And at the back of the store, behind the school supplies, is another blast from the past, an old-fashioned lunch counter.
Mary Ann's Luncheonette is one of the few lunch counters still in existence. And as you might expect, the Fonzie-friendly atmosphere is straight out of the fifties. Black and white tiles, a red stool lined counter, and some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet.
Mary Anne Richmann - Owner, Mary Anne's Luncheonette: "You come here to lunch and you're never by yourself, you'll always know somebody, and if you don't know the person you're sitting next to, you'll make a friend while you're having lunch."
It seems like everyone here really does know everyone else, and just like the old days, customers come to chew and chit-chat.
Mary Anne Richmann - Owner, Mary Anne's Luncheonette: "Most of the people that come in here everyday, we know them by first names and 'how's your kids, how's the dog, how's the cat?'"
As friendly as the atmosphere is at the counter, it's just as homey in the kitchen, which looks more like it belongs at your grandmother's house than a restaurant. And the wholesome fare coming off the grill would make granny proud.
Mary Anne Richmann - Owner, Mary Anne's Luncheonette: "There's a lot of TLC that goes into everything that we make. 'And we have a lot of fun doing it too.' That's right."
Everything is made from scratch, like the French Onion soup, smothered in cheese. Other comfort food favorites include Ali's Grilled Cheese, and Mary Ann's Cobb Salad with chicken, blue cheese, and egg. Of course no '50s feast would be complete without a classic cheeseburger.
Mary Anne Richmann - Owner, Mary Anne's Luncheonette: "Sarah's Supreme Cheeseburger has a secret sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato. It's cooked just perfectly, so it's just pink in the center and it absolutely melts in your mouth."
For dessert, you can't beat a slice of homemade Apple Pie, or a thick, creamy Strawberry Milkshake. The prices are a throwback too. Salads are about six bucks, and sandwiches are five and under.
One thing that has changed over the years is the soda. The fountain at the counter is so old; they don't even make parts to fix it anymore. So these days, the cola for the Vanilla Cokes and Root Beer Floats comes out of a can. That's one of the few changes from decades ago, when Bill Kelly used to run the lunch counter. And back then, the food was just a way to get customers shopping.
Bill Kelly - Owner, Lord's Department Store: "Everyday we would put out sandwiches for 29 cents. Once in a while we would sell hot dogs for a nickel, and Coke for a nickel, stuff like that. Anything for promotion. We didn't do it to make money, we did it to bring customers into the store."
Today, Mary Anne's is still bringing in customers. Many of whom are looking to pass this place on to the next generation.
Mary Anne Richmann - Owner, Mary Anne's Luncheonette: "The parents will bring the kids in and say 'I used to come here actually when I was a kid.' And sit at a certain place at the fountain 'and this is where I had my lunch.' So now they're brining their kids in and having the milkshakes and the Raspberry Lime Rickeys with the kids."
It's a time frozen in time, at Mary Anne's Luncheonette, a Phantom Gourmet... Hidden Jewel.
Review Date: 11/20/2004