If Christine’s had a counter and stools, it would be a snapshot replica of those classic Norman Rockwell paintings of small-town soda shops. Shouts of " Order up! " boom through this quaint cafeteria-esque space, replete with all the retro dressings, like formica tables and squeeze bottles of generic ketchup. And you’ll likely need that ketchup when your omelet ($3.75–$4.80) is ready. True to its cafeteria character, Christine’s dishes up silken omelets with chunky home fries made from red-bliss potatoes at any hour of operation. Those faithful to a low-sodium diet have a wide selection of sweet-style diner fare to choose from, like a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes ($3.95) or thick, butter-glossed French toast ($3.95).
But those most familiar with Christine’s know it for its various salads and substantial subs and sandwiches, which are doled out in methodical fashion to the lunch-hour throngs that flock in. Lines winding back to the door have been the trend since Christine’s opened 11 years ago, and each person trots merrily away carrying something like a hearty chicken-salad club ($5.75/$3.65 sandwich) or a diner mainstay like grilled cheese ($2.25 sandwich/$4.95 club). And there are always specials to choose from, like a Cajun-chicken sandwich ($5.45) or a heaping pile of glistening macaroni and cheese, served with a salad ($5.95). If there are any drawbacks here, it’s the disappointment that the burly guys at the griller can’t satisfy that craving for a tuna melt with fries ($4.95) when it strikes at 4 a.m.
Christine’s, located at 91 First Street, in Cambridge, is open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (617) 876-3551.