Firsthand History: More Memories From The Village Room
Following last week's "Then and Now" column, Lynnfield resident Roy Sorli shares his memories of working at the former Village Inn restaurant.
Last week, Lynnfield Patch ran a photo of the former Village Room restaurant soon after it closed down. Several readers commented, and Roy Sorli, a member of the Lynnfield Historical Commission, wrote in with some notes describing his own recollections as a busboy/dishwasher at the former restaurant. Check out what Roy had to say here – and by all means – if you have recollections like this of long-ago Lynnfield landmarks that you would like to share, feel free to email William.firstname.lastname@example.org.
My first job was as a Busboy/dishwasher there. Mrs. Pike was the fearsome Matriarch of the place then (and until it closed, I think.) Before my time, she and her husband founded it and ran it together I believe.
The setup was a simple family place with tables and Captains' chairs against the front windows and on each side. There were smaller tables between the front and counter. A soda fountain counter with pies and donuts under glass, with stools, ran across the room more or less in line with the entry in the picture. A lift up section of counter was in line with the door to the kitchen against the northwest wall. A small window was set in the swinging door. The cash register was set in the other end of the counter. The double door of the entry did a fairly good job of keeping out the wind and the alcove held a bench. A passage space to the right of the entry, with a waitress station and a bread/roll warmer, led to the rear room. This was all tables and had a very quiet, curtained family feel.
Mrs. Pike greeted and sat everyone entering. I distinctly remember the two cooks. I can't bring up any names but the interaction was good. They could be seen looking out that little window from time to time, and together they fed people from breakfast to dinner. Think Diner food. Burgers from the grill, baked turkey dinners with baked or mashed potatoes, veg. of the day, and deep fried fish and fries. I remember lots of those little ceramic single serving dishes with crumbs baked to the edge. The least appealing thing served that I remember being popular was Tripe.
I also remember two waitresses. One was older, one younger. To my teenage eyes, the older was the kind of lady who knew everyone and you expected to retire any time. The other was a single mom, not very old, thirties maybe, and she had a son. He would often be there and bus tables on weekends. Although he was about 12 when I was there, he was a great busboy and very good with the customers.
The person who got me into the job was Eric Laier, who lives in Reading now. He was a classmate of mine ('69). When he left Mrs. Pike, he wanted to find a replacement for her. The kid he picked was a reliable guy a year behind us in school, who happened to be from my bus stop.
That was how Mrs. Pike came to be the first employer of John Lynch, who has just retired as Governor of New Hampshire.
Over the years, before and after working there, I would eat at the Village Room with my parents, mostly with my dad when mom was out of town. I think John turned out to be a better busboy than I.