Current Issue » Dining » Vol. 7

Hamilton Diner

By Bernie Whitmore

Hamilton Diner
83 Hamilton Street, Worcester

In the warmer months, when there are so many activities to cram into fleeting weekends, who can take time out for breakfast? But as the seasons wear on through fall there’s plenty more time for the Sunday papers and meeting friends at local diners for coffee. Our regular haunts know who wants decaf and don’t even bother with menus. It’s one of winter’s up-sides.

Conversation at the diner usually turns to politics, mostly national this season, and what’s new on Worcester’s dining scene. One of the places I’ve been hearing about is the Hamilton Diner on Grafton Hill. On a recent weeknight I met a group of friends at the Hamilton for a small celebration; we had such a good dinner that when told they have Sunday brunch, a few of us decided to give it a try.

Sun was streaming through the front windows as we entered the Hamilton Diner that Sunday morning. The waitress, recognizing us from earlier in the week, warmly welcomed us and showed us to a table. (The Hamilton is located in what was for an eternity Moore’s Pharmacy ~ it’s not a diner wagon as you might suspect from its name and might actually be better served with the word “Bistro” in its name.) She explained that our timing was good; once the nearby churches let out, the diner gets much busier.

The Hamilton’s brunch is not serve-yourself. Instead, one takes a large plate from the stack and approaches a row of steam tables. One of the chefs, dressed in starched whites, reveals the various offerings and eagerly serves what you request. I started with breakfast basics: scrambled eggs, bacon, chunky home fries and a link of sausage.

When we returned to the table our cups were filled with steaming coffee. One taste of the eggs and I was pleased to recognize solid home-cooking ~ none of that reconstituted powdery egg-like product. The bacon was just as I like it ~ some soft, some crispy. This “to my liking” continued right on to my “carbo course:” half-slices of French toast and small pancakes. I spooned so much syrupy sliced strawberries and maple syrup onto my plate that there was plenty extra to sop up with a flaky croissant.

From there, the brunch offered steamed vegetables, jumbo shells stuffed with ricotta, turkey burgers and haddock. I sampled the flaky moist haddock and a leafy mixed green salad dressed with Italian vinaigrette. A friend enjoyed the shells so much he went back for seconds.

Since I was already impressed with my entrée of Chicken Parmesan earlier that week, Sunday brunch cinched it for the Hamilton Diner, a friendly place with good home cooking at very modest prices. Dinner cuisine features Italian and American-Comfort cuisines; they encourage you to bring your own beer or wine. As I was getting up to leave, more friends were arriving. Good news travels fast!

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