During this crazy time, it’s so sad to see some of my favorite restaurants struggle. Like most of you, I’m sure, I’ve been stuck at home in Wilmington MA. I’m about 25 min to both the NH border and to Boston, so as you can imagine there’s plenty of food options around.
I’m huge on eating local and supporting local businesses. I would choose a locally owned restaurant over a chain any day. I personally believe they have amazing service and unique food options that chain restaurants are too hesitant to offer on their basic menus. Chefs have more freedom to experiment with the dishes they offer and I firmly believe those unique flavors and plates keep people coming back.
I want to showcase my top 10 spots North of Boston in hopes that this will encourage you to support local restaurants and treat ya self during this crazy time!
#1- Crack’d in Andover
Before COVID, this place was always packed- weekdays or weekends. It’s affordable and has both simple dishes and some with unique flares.
My favorite: The traditional bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Bacon is definitely an 11/10.
#2- Perfecto’s- Tewksbury / Reading / North Andover
Perfecto’s has been one of my go-to bagel and coffee places since high school. They’re all over the North Shore. They offer a ton of bagel and coffee flavors and they’re always packed on the weekends. They’ve created a great call/text ahead system during the COIVD crisis, so I’ve definitely been a regular.
My favorite: French toast bagel and a toffee caramel iced coffee
#3- Gingerbread Construction Co.- Wakefield / Winchester
The Gingerbread Construction Co. is famous for their muffins and gingerbread houses. They’re located right on the lake in Wakefield and are frequently sold of out some of their best muffin flavors by 12 pm. Some may argue these are cupcakes more than muffins.
My favorite: Chocolate Dreme Muffin. The frosting in the middle is absolutely amazing
#4- Feel Good Cafe- Billerica
Feel Good Cafe has been one of my favorite breakfast/lunch spots since it popped up on my Yelp at the start of 2020. They have a ton of sandwiches, smoothies, and breakfast items.
My favorite: Avocado toast with balsamic, goat cheese, and a salt & herb blend on top!
#5- As Good as it Gets Cafe- Wilmington
As Good as it Gets is usually a breakfast spot for my friends in Wilmington. However, I’m a HUGE fan of their lunch. It reminds me of a New York Diner type of lunch with a ton of sandwiches and salads. During this crazy time, they offer contactless pickup and it’s super easy and quick.
My favorite: Turkey BLT or Grilled Cheese w/ Ham
#6- Lexie’s- Newburyport, Portsmouth, Exeter
I discovered Lexie’s during a busy season lunch run for my team at a client in Portsmouth NH. Lexie’s has been one of my favorite burger joints since then. They have such unique burger combos and fries + shakes that are to die for. During this time they’re offering online order for pickup.
My favorite: Make your own burger w/ crispy onions and avocado w/ bistro fries and a strawberry lemonade
#7- Real Gusto- Medford
Real Gusto in Medford is an authentic Italian restaurant owned by people who came over here from Italy. That’s when you KNOW it’s legit. They’re located near the chevalier theater in Medford and are always packed when there’s a show. During normal times, definitely make a reservation. For now, they’re doing pick up and delivery through grubhub.
My favorite: Bruschetta and Carbonara
#8- Flatbread Company- Amesbury and Portsmouth
Flatbread Co. in is another restaurant I discovered during my work in Portsmouth. It is absolutely delicious and has so many amazing, diverse pizza options. It’s a cool mix between flatbread and italian pizza. During this time they’re offering online ordering and pick up.
My Favorite: Jay’s Heart pizza (seen above).
#9- Mac’s Dairy Farm- Tewksbury
Mac’s has been one of my go-to’s since I was little. It’s right down the street from my house and it’s always busy. I believe they serve Richardson’s ice cream (but don’t hold me to it). It’s open during this time and they are cash-only.
My favorite: Cake Batter!
#10- Richardson’s Ice Cream- Middleton
Richardson’s Ice Cream is a classic on the North Shore. It’s the gold standard of ice cream and the lines are always SO long in the summer. There’s a mini-golf course and a driving range next to it as well, so it’s always a night of fun! During this time you can go up to the window, however they’re only offering pints, quarts and tubs with toppings sold and packaged separately. Also- it is BYOS (Bring your own spoons), they’re not giving out plastic ones!
My Favorite: French Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with chocolate sprinkles
The Best of the Best:
I hope ya’ll enjoyed this little list of some of my favorite places. All 10 are open during the pandemic and are offering safe ways to give you all their amazing food. Next time you’re craving something, support a local restaurant like one of these!