FRAMINGHAM - Without a doubt, Deluxe Depot Diner is the biggest, coolest, and funkiest diner to come around in a long time. Taking over an historic train station originally built in 1885, it's a spacious, two floor, full-service restaurant that keeps customers chugging along from 7 in the morning to 11 at night in Downtown Framingham.
This restaurant is the most ambitious effort yet by the King and Queen of the area's diner scene, Don and Daryl Levy. Building off the reputation they've built for fresh, home-cooked faire at their other eateries - the beloved Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown and the Deluxe Station Diner in Newton - this new Framingham restaurant raises the bar in terms of both food and design.
"It's comfortable; it's understandable. This is not fine dining, but we call it fine dinering," Daryl explained.
The best way to start your 'dinering' experience is with a big stack of flapjacks. The kitchen griddles up six varieties of pancakes, including Sweet Potato, French Acadian style Ployes, Stoneground Blue Corn pancakes, New York style potato pancakes, and the signature Deluxe Flapjacks.
"Deluxe Flapjacks are sour cream, buttermilk, all that good stuff that when put on the griddle at the right temperature gives a wonderfully light and flavorful meal," Daryl said. "Not too sweet, not too sour, just right -and real maple syrup to top it off."
If you wake up extra hungry, portions are ample, like the loaded home fries topped with sausage, peppers, and onions. The protein-packed Steak and Eggs plate features a premium six ounce sirloin. You can get a Benedict stacked with plump, hand-made crab cakes and rich Hollandaise sauce on a top quality English Muffin, a fluffy stack of Challah French Toast sliced extra thick, and the almost impossible to finish Colossal Hungry Person Special.
"This is a platter of food," Daryl stated. "Hungry man, hungry woman, hungry child, whoever is ambitious enough to get through some great food. It's your breakfast eggs, home fries, choice of toast and choice of bacon, sausage, a bottomless cup of coffee. And your choice of pancake or French Toast."
If you have a sweet tooth, you might want to choose the Apple Babka French Toast.
"The Apple Babka loaf is made for us and it's cut thick and sliced in a French toast batter with nutmeg and milk and eggs. That's topped off with butter, of course, and maple syrup, so you get the best of everything in one platter," described Daryl.
Since Don is originally from New York, he takes his deli sandwiches seriously at lunchtime. So the Rueben is the real deal, stuffed with corned beef, Swiss, and sauerkraut with Russian dressing. The Cheeseburger Club is triple-stacked with an eight ounce burger, lettuce, tomato, extra-thick-cut bacon, and cheddar cheese.
At dinnertime, you can dig into a classic blue plate special like the meatloaf dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy. And you certainly can't skip dessert, because the homemade pies are a like a little slice of heaven.
"The pies are homemade. We are famous for our apple but we also do some other fun pies," Daryl said. "Fudge is one of them, topped with a nice dollar of whipped cream, nice and rich chocolate. We do a cherry crumb - no pre-bought pie filling here. We make our own. Warmed up with vanilla ice cream. It's the best."
As good as the food might be, and it really is very good, the building itself might be the biggest draw to the Deluxe Depot Diner. And for Don, it was love at first sight.
"We like old buildings," he said. "This one is very special because it's very big. It's large. This building was built by H.H. Richardson for the trains back in 1885. He's quite a famous architect. The bones of the building were still intact, but I think we did a terrific job converting this building for our needs into the Deluxe Depot Diner."
This place is a feast for the eyes, and certainly for the stomach. But as the trains roll by, this depot is devoted to nostalgia, nourishment, and neighbors coming together.
"This, to me, is the people's diner, and because we offer three meals a day, they can use it any time they want. I think that's a great thing to have," Daryl said. "We may own this building, but to me it belongs to Framingham."
You can find the Deluxe Depot Diner at 415 Waverly Street in Framingham, and online at deluxedinerbrands.com.
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