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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Going beyond the bubble: Wilson’s Diner

Published: October 15, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

Wilson’s is hardly the place Brandeis students dress up for, wait for a late-night BranVan and head to with a huge group of friends. I bet most haven’t even heard of the Waltham diner; I certainly hadn’t when I stopped there for a morning breakfast Saturday.

The place is small, rectangular and reminds one of an old trolley dining car. My companion and I sat at the cube nearest the door because the other nine were packed full at nearly 10 a.m.

But we were greeted almost instantly by our server and the proprietor too; he was the chef, cooking at the giant grill along the back wall of the rectangle, shouting, in heavily Greek-accented English, welcomes and a recommendation.

Wilson’s serves breakfast foods and sandwiches, and we tried some of each. Good bacon and eggs, yes, but the home fries should be a local legend. The potatoes are chopped whole right in front of customers at the same grill, and can be topped with just about anything in the place, which is as stocked as a Southern truck station. Ignoring the menu that discouraged substitutions, the chef waved my question off and smiled.

Waltham is full of good sandwiches. But a huge old-fashioned club at Wilson’s is about $5, with fries. Try that at the Ninety Nine. (And good luck finding pastrami many other places.)

If you wake up that early, ever, head to Wilson’s some time. It’s quaint and small, and not quite a typical Brandeis student outing. But go beyond the bubble, watch the cook make the food in front of you, and you may learn some Greek. You’ll learn a bit about the fun times typical of people beyond the social stratus as well.