Concord >Food & Dining > Helen's Restaurant
17 Main St, Concord, MA | Directions 0174242.460183 -71.349270
A Good Meal Plus Ice Cream – If you go here after 2:00pm, you avoid the nursery school set. I've eaten lunch and dinner here and the food is imaginative and satisfying. I like the paninis. And for dessert the peanut butter parfait (ice cream sundae) is out of this world. The service is adequate. The decor is appealing.
Unbearably noisy / unsastisfactory – the noise level alone had me running out of the restaurant. it's like romper room with tons of screaming kids. the food is subpar and overpriced, the waitstaff slow and the overall experience made me wish I had brought earplugs. the next time I go to Concord I will make sure to pick a more peaceful place with better food and service.
Not Just a Diner – Before we knew our neighbors, we knew the staff at Helen’s.
With warm welcomes, hearty laughs, and inviting personalities, they embraced us. But we didn’t know this style was business as usual at Helen’s. We were just grateful for the attention, we’re-new-in-town advice, and most of all, the good food (especially because I was pregnant and our kitchen was being gutted). It felt like home, more than our new house did.
Seven years and two babies later, we still feel the same way about Helen’s. Recently, my older son chose the restaurant for his special 6th birthday lunch, because, in the absence of extended family, we have claimed most of the staff as our own (whether they like it or not). They ooh and ahh over his trophies and medals, hang up his crayon drawings, and give him extra ice cream toppings when he cleans his plate, which he always does because their chicken fingers are his “favorite of everything, for real life.”
It’s actually quite difficult to have a favorite item at Helen’s because all the food is quite good and the menu changes just enough to keep your palate interested. Just thinking about breakfast there makes me dizzy—there have been days (okay, months, but while I was pregnant, I swear!) when I thought I could eat my way through the breakfast menu in one sitting. And it’s an extensive menu. But the granola, honey, banana pancakes with sausage on the side, well, that’s my go-to now…though the scrambled eggs with pastrami give me pause, always, so that I end up with half orders of both most of the time.
My husband is a wrap guy. He likes the Breakfast Burrito in the morning and the Islander for lunch (grilled chicken, grilled bell peppers, jasmine rice, mango salsa, and teriyaki sauce in a tomato wrap), which he orders so often that everyone knows to hold the amazingly delectable salsa—though they still shame him for it.
My little guy, who is turning three, will eat just about anything: sweet potato fries, chicken potpie, steak tips, Texas BBQ pulled pork. No kids’ menu for this kid, though I’ll order him their dreamy mac and cheese sometimes just to take it home and eat it when no one is looking.
It is possible to visit Helen’s just for dessert, and plenty of people do (I just happen to live with three growing boys who require many full meals). Fresh pies always call to us, but it’s tough to avoid the tasty Brigham’s ice cream concoctions. Lately, I’ll admit, their yummy ice cream has taken a backseat to the new Berry Fresh frozen yogurt, at least for me. The flavors change daily so that the fresh toppings of banana, blueberries, mango, strawberries, pineapple (and the not-so-natural ones like Fruity Pebbles, chocolate chips, and Oreos) always make for a new tasty treat. It’s a healthy but equally scrumptious alternative to ice cream, so I don’t feel so bad after I’ve inhaled mine.
Warning: Because the food is so enjoyable, the place is so family friendly, and the staff is so nice, the line to get in can be long at times. But it’s worth it, “for real life.”
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