The city of Medford doesn’t seem to get much credit for its dining scene, which is too bad, because it has a wide variety of restaurants that feature everything from Mexican fare to Korean food to Brazilian eats and more. And because Medford has traditionally had a large Italian-American population, a number of Italian dining spots can be found throughout the community—especially in and around the heavily Italian South Medford neighborhood. One such place, which is a few blocks east of the heart of South Medford and within sight of the busy Route 93, is Avellino’s. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but is a great place to get a quick bite to eat or do takeout, and because of its proximity to Route 93, this local favorite is also a very convenient stop for commuters and travelers in general.
From the outside, Avellino’s looks a bit like a sub shop—and it is, in a way—and its location in a heavily industrial area of Medford gives it the appearance of a place where you run in, grab a quick lunch, and maybe take it back to the workplace, which is also accurate to an extent. The eatery is actually rather comfortable inside, as it resides in a space that goes pretty far back, allowing for a lot of room for diners to eat in, even when it is busy. The setup for patrons is a bit similar to a sub shop, where customers walk up to the counter, order their food, and then either pick it up when the order is ready or the let workers bring it to the table. In addition to being a dining spot, Avellino’s is also known for its catering, and a pleasant-looking function room can be found to the left of the restaurant, with the room able to seat up to 80 people for events such as birthday parties, wedding showers, corporate outings, and family reunions.
The menu at Avellino’s isn’t quite as long as the novel War and Peace, but it does seem to go on and on forever, with nearly every kind of Italian, Italian-American, and American food item offered. Included here are eggs, pancakes, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, salads, melts, club sandwiches, cold subs, hot subs, wraps, grill items, pizza, calzones, pasta dishes, chicken entrees, veal entrees, and a few seafood dishes, with a number of options found within several of the above categories. It can indeed be difficult to decide what to order here, but there are some highlights, including the fresh Caesar salad, chicken parm with a rich red sauce, thin-crust pizza, hearty calzones, a creamy and rather filling chicken, broccoli and ziti, nicely marinated steak tips, meatball subs that feature tremendous house-made meatballs, diet-busting eggplant subs, and old-world prosciutto and provolone subs. Prices are generally reasonable at Avellino’s, with most subs under $10 and most meals under $15.
Lovers of Italian food often gravitate toward Medford because there are so many good Italian spots within the city, with the focus being mostly on cheap eats and family-friendly sit-down places, and Avellino’s tends to straddle the line between those, offering good food at decent prices while also being a bit more than just a takeout shop. If you live south or west of Boston (or in Boston itself), chances are you have never heard of this place, but locals and more than a few who find themselves on Route 93 a lot certainly know about it, along with workers at nearby warehouses, office buildings, and other businesses along and behind Mystic Avenue, making it quite a popular spot that still feels like a bit of a hidden gem.
AVELLINO’S. 313 MYSTIC AVE., MEDFORD. GOAVELLINO.COM
Marc is the founder of @hiddenboston, a textbook editor, a hike leader for @AppMtnClub, and a food and travel writer and commenter for DigBoston, NBC/NECN, WBZ, WMFO and indie617.