The Boston Phoenix
February 25 - March 4, 1999

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Lulu's Café

Home cookin', Somerville-style

On the Cheap by Nancy Kalajian

Behind a purple clapboard exterior across from Somerville Hospital lies this hip, cheap, quality family-run café. Owner Cheryl Barry is at the helm, with occasional help from a few friends and various family members including her husband (the homemade-bread-crumb specialist), three aunts, an uncle, and a cousin. They assemble big portions of homemade food, much of it reflecting the family's Italian, Sicilian, and Portuguese roots -- and none of it expensive. The priciest menu items, at $5.95, are the grilled chicken breast and the grilled steak tips, both served with mixed veggies and rice or the special potato of the day, which if you're lucky will be the scrumptious roasted potatoes with thyme and onions. Twenty sandwiches are available in two sizes each, from a small bologna and cheese for $2.50 to a large eggplant parm for $4.25. Aunt Duddy's hearty lentil soup is a dream at $1.75. Sometimes the daily specials venture further afield, like the beef chop suey with bok choy over rice -- a winner at $4.25. For dessert, try the chocolate whoopee pie, two enormous flying saucers of chocolate cake joined with a smooth cream filling. Be warned: there are only six small tables, and thanks to its strategic location across from the hospital, Lulu's gets busy at lunch.

Lulu's Café, located at 233 Highland Avenue, in Somerville, is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday. Call (617) 776-7799.

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