The Boston Phoenix October 5 - 12, 2000

[Food Reviews]

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Yesterday once more

by Julia Hanna

on the cheap
  • Bestsellers Café September 28
  • JJ Sushi September 21
  • Café Rustica, September 14
  • Fusion Express, September 7
  • Pemberton Farms, August 31
  • It's fitting that Medford Square is home to Colleen's, a fine example of that vanishing breed of eateries, the ice-cream parlor. The neighborhood's solid brick buildings and well-traveled sidewalks have an old-fashioned Main Street appeal - even the requisite Dunkin' Donuts is ensconced in a dramatically turreted Victorian.

    For better or worse, the food at Colleen's has the same time-out-of-time quality. A chicken-salad club sandwich ($5.49) was the sort of sandwich your grandma might serve if your grandma, like mine, grew up in the middle of Nebraska - pale tomatoes, an abundance of iceberg lettuce, a few strips of bacon, and chicken salad composed of tiny chunks of white and dark meat, mayonnaise, and celery. Corn chowder ($2.29) and a Boston deli turkey sandwich (turkey with American cheese, red onion, lettuce, and honey mustard on marble rye at $4.49) also failed to make much of an impression. A selection of traditional salads (caesar, pasta), wraps, and a few hot "Medford Meals" like franks and beans and macaroni and cheese (both priced at $5.59) round out the offerings.

    Fans of Colleen's - and there seem to be quite a few, judging from the steady stream of customers one Saturday afternoon - would probably point out that the ice cream (Colleen's serves Brigham's) and atmosphere are the real reasons to visit. The black-and-white tile, bright pastel dishes, and chrome accents do have a familiar retro appeal. All in all, Colleen's is a fine spot to sit back and sip a raspberry lime rickey ($1.45) or coffee malted frappe ($3.59) while listening to a steady stream of 1950s hits. You won't find any fancy flavors here, but if you crave a dish of rainbow sherbet or a peppermint-stick hot-fudge sundae, Colleen's isn't a bad place to find it.

    Colleen's, located at 61 High Street, Medford Square, is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (781) 395-9575.

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