Though I like the area a lot, I don't spend all that much time in Newton, Massachusetts. The few times I've been there my wife has had a plan - either to go to a certain restaurant or a coffee shop or store - and I've just followed wherever she led.
On Saturday, though, I was in the area by myself, so I explored it on my own.
The plan was to drop off my oldest daughter at a birthday party, then take my two younger daughters for a quick Dunkin' Donuts lunch.
But after walking around and exploring we found the Rox Diner.
Some of you might be familiar with the Newton area without even realizing it.
If you've ever driven to Boston on the Massachusetts Turnpike (and I know many of you have driven this route) at one point you pass under a Shaw's Supermarket that hangs over the Pike.
The neighborhood where that Shaw's is located is exactly the neighborhood I'm talking about.
There's a Starbucks, there's a Great Harvest Bread Company, there are a couple of pizza places (yes, there is a Dunkin' Donuts too), and there looked to be a bar across the street from the Rox Diner.
(I should take this opportunity to lament the fact that there are not a ton of diners in the MetroWest area. New York City is rich in diners. That was one of the stark differences that stood out to me when I moved to Boston 15 or so years ago - very few diners.)
My daughters had mac and cheese and chicken fingers. (For what it's worth - both portions were too big. I probably should have wrapped up the rest, but we weren't heading straight home, so I didn't. Big portions from the children's menu - either a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective.) I had an avocado BLT...which came without bacon. I'm not sure if I didn't read the menu carefully enough to see if the avocado replaces the bacon by default, like for vegetarians, but I was fully expecting bacon and avocado. (It's not called an ALT, after all.) But the food was good.
It was crowded, but not cramped.
And - no small thing for a dad with young girls - they give placemats for the kids to color while they wait. That doesn't happen everywhere, and it's worth remembering the places that do it.
I love the Watertown/Newton area. I'd like to spend more time there.
If I do...I'd probably become a regular at the Rox Diner.