Eating Around Clark
Fresh on the heels of my musings about eating at Clark (which can be found here), I thought I’d take you all on a culinary tour of the eating establishments right around Clark. It’s twenty-five minutes until I eat dinner here in London, and I plan on spending all twenty-five of them thinking about the food back home. A caveat, before we begin: None of these places are fine dining. I suppose you can find that in Worcester, but I haven’t bothered looking. On the budget I’m on, fine dining is out of the question. What these places are is tasty, close to Clark, and cheap. Many also deliver. We begin …
Saigon (976 Main Street). Yum. One of two Vietnamese places right by Clark’s campus – Dalat is the other one – Saigon is my favorite. A pretty small seating area, but always good service (it’s run by a family), big quantities of hot food, and really great prices. I usually get the beef and mushroom something or the other, but it’s all good, honestly. Plus, it’s basically right next door to China Lantern and Uncle Sam’s, so you can have two or three meals in a row without walking more than fifteen feet. (Ed.: I have no idea why that would be a plus. I was clearly quite hungry when I wrote it.)
Annie’s (934 Main Street). A Clark institution, and quite literally my favorite place in the entire world for breakfast, Annie’s couldn’t be closer to Clark’s campus if it tried (its actually closer to main campus than the bookstore is). Probably the only place in Worcester where you can get a huge breakfast plus an unlimited supply of hot coffee for under $5, there are some people who complain about the food, but those people are nuts. There’s nothing more filling than Annie’s on a cold morning. I always order the “three eggs”, which is just three eggs, a heap of home fries, corned beef hash, lots of toast, and coffee. I think it’s $4.50. Anyhow, I haven’t actually placed an order there in a long time, because Annie’s daughter just starts cooking the eggs as soon as I walk in the door. That’s the kind of place it is. Just don’t order the omelette, because Annie hates the mess it makes on the grill.
Dalat (425 Park Avenue). Honestly, for me it’s kind of interchangeable between Dalat and Saigon, except Dalat is a bit further away (but still less than five minutes), so I usually pick Saigon. Comfier seats than Saigon, honestly, and the rice dishes are usually good, but basically it’s your standard cheap and tasty Vietnamese food. It’s also really close to a couple of good frozen yogourt places on Park Ave, so if you want to wash down your pho with some of that, you’re pretty close by.
Baba (309 Park Avenue). Where Clarkies go if they want to eat Sushi. It’s a bit farther away than the others, actually quite close to Evo, but it’s worth the extra 2 minutes (seriously, Clark warps your perception of distance). Nice decor, great sushi, and a waitstaff that is usually Clarkies. It’s probably the priciest place on this list, but it still isn’t that bad. I know there’s another sushi place somewhere down Park Ave in the other direction, but I’ve only been there once and didn’t like it as much as Baba.
Fantastic’s (910 Main Street). Ok, now on to the pizza. Fantastics is probably most famous around Clark’s campus for the dude that delivers the pizzas. He’s this old Lebanese guy who you’ll invariably see running around campus delivering Fantastic’s to the bajillion + 1 campus events that use his business. This was the first place I ate in Worcester, and that was actually the last time I’ve ever actually been inside the building. This man, and this pizza, is honestly everywhere. It’s pretty decent, but you’ll mostly want to stick with plain cheese. They don’t go wild with the toppings.
Uncle Sam’s (974 Main Street). I should admit at this point that I don’t really like Uncle Sam’s pizza all that much. Their sauce skeezes me out a little bit. However, because the best pizza place in town (Flats) closed down last year, and I want to include more than one pizza place on this list, and Uncle Sam’s is literally right next to campus, I’ll include them. I should also mention that they have this sensational deal where you can order two large cheese pizzas, for delivery, for $12 if you order after 11 pm. At least I think that’s the rule. Protip: The Uncle Sam’s on campus closes pretty early, so if you’re jonesing for a slice later on, try the other location on Kelly Square. They deliver too, and you can get your fix.
King Chef (205 Chandler Street). Everyone on Clark’s campus seems to hate King Chef, but I don’t really understand why. Sure, you’ll become good friends with your toilet stall of choice after a meal, but nothing really fills you up like King Chef (at least for the first thirty minutes). Honestly, the food is decent, especially if you eat it quickly, and they deliver really fast. For a few months last year, these were my go-to-guys when hunger called at 1 in the morning.
China Lantern (930 Main Street). This is much better Chinese food, and is what you order when you’re at a better place in your life. It’s also a bit more expensive, so try to convince your friends to go in for this as a group when you’re all hanging out. I feel like Chinese food is particularly susceptible to over-ordering; it always seems like you’ll eat more than you actually do. Spare your wallet by bringing some friends along.
I’m probably missing a few places, like EVO (234 Chandler Street), a nice eco-friendly place down the road that has nice burgers and is also staffed by lots of Clarkies, but these are the places I know and love the best. Sure, there are som nice tapas places downtown, and I didn’t really cover alot of the frozen yogourt or greek places (or other really good diners) that are a bit further afield. The common denominators with the places I’ve covered, as I mentioned, are that they’re cheap, tasty, and close to Clark. What more could you ask for?