Victoria’s Diner

24-hour filling station
By MC SLIM JB  |  January 2, 2008

“Every few years, management changes, but we stay the same,” deadpans our waitress, a 40-year veteran of this Newmarket Square eatery. Victoria’s latest owners have left the mid-century diner’s bones intact, only adding fresh paint, subtracting the curtains, and replacing the ’50s pop soundtrack with an ’80s one. The crowd remains an egalitarian mix of cops, families fresh from church, tattooed artists, blue-collar workers, and well-groomed South Enders. But the menu is much bigger.

The canonical egg plates appear in dizzying variety, with 19 preconfigured three-egg omelets, like the Newmarket ($7.99), with asparagus, tomatoes, bacon, Swiss, and too many sliced pickled jalapeños. With its mountain of home fries or bowl of good grits, plus toast and fresh-fruit garnishes, this monster, like most plates here, could feed two normal diners. I blame the influence of casual-dining chains, and wonder who else might share my preference for slightly lower prices and more sensible portions.

The theme of excess continues in the 11 riffs on eggs Benedict, 10 breakfast meats, 14 different kinds of pancakes and French toast, and specials like the Buona Mattina ($7.49), two hockey-puck-sized cakes of mashed and batter-fried potatoes heaped with spinach and tomatoes, topped with two properly poached eggs. To drink, there are Mighty Leaf teas ($1.99), smoothies and shakes, beer and wine, and bottomless cups of fine filter coffee ($1.79). After the breakfast section are another four pages of sandwiches, burgers, salads, appetizers, entrées, and desserts. Phew! But Victoria’s most welcome expansion is its weekend hours, with non-stop service from Thursday morning to Sunday evening. It’s a much-needed oasis for nightcrawlers frustrated by Boston’s scant dining options in the weekend’s wee hours.

Victoria’s Diner, located at 1024 Mass Ave, in Roxbury, is open Monday through Wednesday, from 6 am to 10 pm; on Thursday, from 6 am to midnight; on Friday and Saturday, from midnight to midnight; and on Sunday, from midnight to 10 pm. Call 617.442.5965.

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