By Jess Watsky
1261 Boston Post Rd
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6:30am-8:30pm, Sunday, 6:30am-3pm
To walk through the doorway of Cristy’s Luncheonette is to shed your problems and leave the world behind. Like most New Englanders, I both dread and embrace the chill and snow of winter, but luckily for us, that all is whisked away as the scent of pancakes envelops every corner of the small eatery. While Cristy’s is technically a jack-of-all-trades diner, their specialty is their fresh pancakes, served at all hours of the day.
With over 40 varieties to choose from and a seemingly limitless number of combinations, it’s no wonder why the parking lot is always packed around breakfast time. Flavors like Reeses’ Pieces and Oreo mingle with fruitier options like raspberry and blueberry. Even if you’re iffy about pancakes, there’s sure to be a flavor you’ll enjoy. For a mere $1.95 per pancake, diners can have their pick of a wide variety. The plain Cristy’s pancake is a delight to behold. The magicians behind the counter have created the perfect breakfast treat to cuddle into on a cold morning, with a soft, yielding interior behind a crispy, sugar-glazed crust. The pancakes are fluffy and just slightly sweet, but never overwhelmed by the numerous toppings and sauces. They have the unique quality of imitating a delicious sponge, never leaving a lick of syrup or a smear of butter on the plate.
I’ve tried almost all of the various kinds, and the unequivocal showstopper is the sausage pancake stack. What sets it apart from its sweeter counterparts is the balance between the savory breakfast sausage pieces, studded like precious diamonds in a golden ring of crust, and the sweeter elements of the pancake. Cristy’s is not skimpy on the sausage and uses small enough pieces in plentiful amounts to ensure there’s a few pieces in every bite. There’s hardly anything revelatory about using meat with breakfast, and yet Cristy’s continues to raise the standard. Covering these pancakes is a light coating of powdered sugar and a pat of whipped butter, which, when melting on top of the hot cake, creates an instant sugary glaze not unlike that of a cinnamon roll and seeps into every nook and cranny of the craggy cake. With a drizzle of syrup, this is a beautiful breakfast to behold with the perfect ratio of meat to sweet in every moist bite.
Of course, if you’re less inclined to chow down on breakfast meat, there are plenty of fruity pancakes to brighten up the morning. A personal favorite is the raspberry oatmeal crunch pancakes, which contain plentiful fresh raspberries, gently warmed while cooking, a handful of crunchy cinnamon granola, and an interesting addition at the end. For most entrees, the addition of oatmeal would come in the form of oats mixed into the batter, a touch that generally lends a crunchy, raw flavor to whatever it touches, but these pancakes surround pockets of cooked homemade oatmeal, perfectly portioned like the sausages in almost every bite. The melange of textural play is perfect and each bite, sublime. These are best eaten with a pat of butter and nothing else.
For those determined to try something other than pancakes, Cristy’s also offers omelets, daily “blue plate” specials like corned beef hash, homemade macaroni and cheese, and killer sandwiches brimming with fresh toppings. The monte cristo, a classic around these parts combining the familiarity of a turkey, ham, and cheese deli sandwich and the sweetness of a breakfast item, is fried to a bubbly crisp and served with honey mustard and raspberry jam. Needless to say, it’s not hard to take shelter from the cold in Cristy’s! Cristy’s is open seven days a week from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Monday through Saturday, and 6:30 AM to 3:00 PM on Sunday.
When she’s not snarking on snacks, Jess lives with her girlfriend and bratty cat in Northampton, MA. She currently blogs on Foodette Reviews and is designing a new site - Fighting Varietal. Both have food and wine reviews, event coverage and more in the Western Massachusetts and Connecticut areas.