Simco's on the Bridge

A worthwhile old-time roadside-stand experience
By MC SLIM JB  |  November 4, 2009


Boston has hundreds of food blogs, with new ones appearing every day. Of the many I read, one I’ve come to trust is Boston’s Hidden Restaurants and its sibling Boston Restaurant News, whose author does two things especially well: documenting restaurants beyond my Boston-centric purview in the suburbs and in smaller cities and towns around New England, and uncovering worthy old-timey places. If he recommends a restaurant, I have confidence it’ll be worth a trip. That’s how I got steered to Simco’s on the Bridge, an old-fashioned take-out stand at the southern extreme of Boston near the Milton line.

Simco’s original claim to fame is hot dogs ($2.86–$3.62), which here are foot-longs of not especially great frankfurter quality (lacking natural-casing snap) but dressed beautifully: a buttered and grilled roll (crucial) and topping options like cumin-rich beef-bean chili, melted American process cheese, and traditional condiments. While not the gourmand experience of a Speed’s (in Roxbury), they’re a fine version of the classic Coney Island dog beloved by Americans since the 1930s, when Simco’s first opened. In this spirit, I recommend the canonical chili-cheese dog with yellow mustard and chopped onions. French fries ($2.75/small; $3.50/large) have a sprayed-on starch coating that makes them very crisp if commercial-tasting, but also sturdy enough to withstand cheese ($3.50) or chili and cheese ($3.95). Onion rings ($2.99; $3.95) are similarly well-crisped and just greasy enough. Good deep-fryer technique also shows up in seafood plates with fries and coleslaw, like haddock ($12.95), clams ($14.95), and scallops ($14.95). I especially liked the bargain-priced plate of whiting ($10.50), a sweet-flavored, flounder-like fish fried up here in delicate fillets.

Greek rotisserie and grill stand-bys, like gyros, souvlaki, and chicken kabobs ($5.95–$6.95/in pita; $9.95/as plates with rice, Greek salad, and pita), are serviceable if less noteworthy. The rest of the menu is more typical Greek-American house-of-pizza fare: decent pan pizzas by the pie ($5.75–$12.50) and goodly slice ($1.75–$3.00), cold and hot subs ($4.50–$7.95), and well-stuffed, fat-dripping steak bombs ($5.95–$8.95). In true roadside-stand fashion, Simco’s also serves ice cream ($2.95–$3.75), sundaes ($5), and frappes ($3.75). Haven’t had enough fried food? Get a deep-fried Twinkie or Devil Dog ($2.75; $4.75 à la mode). Order up a greasy feast, ask for extra napkins, and eat on the sidewalk or in your car with a view of Simco’s awesomely retro-cool, fading signage. It’s a cheap-eats experience your great-grandfather would recognize and enjoy.

Simco’s on the Bridge, located at 1509 Blue Hill Avenue, in Mattapan, is open daily, 9:30 am–1:30 am. Call 617.296.3800.

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