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[Cheap Eats]

Lee’s Beehive
The buzz on bargain
BY KATE COHEN

on the cheap
Café Belo Pad Thai Café Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery Royal India

It seems every quirky Harvard Square eatery has been outed in a tourist guidebook — and as a result has raised its prices to glean our last pennies. Witness the $9 burger at Bartley’s Burger Cottage, or the $4.50 milkshake at Herrell’s Ice Cream. Thank goodness for Lee’s Beehive, an inconspicuous diner wedged between City Sports and a computer showroom on Dunster Street, where the prices are low, the food is fresh, and breakfast is served all day on weekends.

Lee’s menu doesn’t range beyond typical diner fare, but the basics are done right and made to order — promptly — by the cranky line cook in the back. The turkey sandwich ($3.75) is piled high with fresh white meat, and like all cold sandwiches on the menu, it’s made with the customer’s choice of bread and toppings. The cheeseburger special ($4.50) comes with a side of French fries, and although it might not have the gourmet flair of a Bartley’s burger, it certainly satisfies. A crisp garden salad ($2.50) is large enough to be an entrée, or can be split as a side dish among three or four people. For some extra pocket change, the lettuce and veggies can be topped with egg salad ($3.50), chicken salad ($4), tuna ($4), or crabmeat ($4.25).

For breakfast lovers, there’s " The Beehive " ($3.75): one egg, bacon, sausage, ham, and melted cheese served in a pocket. Or you can go for the more traditional " Number Two " ($3.75): two eggs any style, greasy home fries, a choice of sausage, ham, or bacon, and four slices of liberally buttered toast.

There’s seating for about 25 people at Lee’s, and if you squint, the restaurant’s vaulted ceiling might even resemble the inside of a beehive. No need for optical trickery when looking at the menu, however; those prices you see are for real.

Lee’s Beehive, located at 24 Dunster Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (617) 661-6722.

Issue Date: August 23-30, 2001