January 11 - 18, 1 9 9 6


Carl's Deli

Home of the "world-famous Carlburger," Carl's Deli is a smoky lunch counter where everyone is a regular. Part of this eatery's charm is that tourists and yuppies seldom venture in because the atmosphere can seem unwelcoming to anyone who hasn't been living in Boston for a good long time.

Long tables with swivel stools line the walls, and smoke from a dozen cigarettes wafts up to the ceiling. The wait staff all wear striped, button-down short-sleeve shirts, and, though they may not greet you with a smile, the servers know intuitively that the guy next to you is going to order dark rye with his meal. Choose from an array of lunchtime favorites, such as hot dogs ($1), liverwurst ($2.15), and the open-club hamburger ($3.25). Or, from the breakfast menu, try the ham omelet ($2.90), pancakes with bacon or ham ($2.85), or two eggs with home fries and toast ($2.60). I chose the tasty fried-fish plate ($3.85) -- breaded fish, French fries, a bulky roll, and coleslaw. My companion had the Carlburger ($2.85) -- as it turns out, a regular hamburger -- and a steaming cup of joe (50 cents for a small). Carl's Deli specializes in real American fare, and the service is downright mom-and-pop.

Carl's Deli is located at 147 Pearl Street, in Boston (across from the New England Telephone building). Open Monday through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and on Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 542-1965.

-- Myfanwy Collins