Then And Now: The Former Village Room

Each week, Lynnfield Patch runs a photo from the town's past and looks at what's there today.

This week's image from the files of the Lynnfield Historical Society first made its appearance some 32 years ago in one of the weekly papers in town - either the Weekly News or the Villager.

This image shows a worker removing items from the former Village Room Restaurant, in what was then called the Colonial Shopping Center. Next door to the closed restaurant at the time was a dentist's office whose name just manages to elude me.

Today, the Centre Court Grille occupies roughly the same spot - and less than two weeks ago, this website wrote about the - which occupies the spot where Karen's Bakery was once located. Another recent entry to the Lynnfield business scene located just steps away from here is .

So in closing - regular readers of this website will know that we've discussed numerous former Lynnfield restaurants in the eBay report columns and other local history features on this website. But that said - does anybody out there remember how the Village Room was? A check on Google finds not a single reference to a Lynnfield restaurant called the Village Room. As a result, it's impossible for somebody who wasn't actually there to tell how long the place was around and how popular it was. I'm thinking if it was 1981 and a Boston area restaurant, then stuff like prime rib and that delicious but increasingly rare Yankee bean dip were among the things you'd find on the menu. Back then if you really wanted to spice it up, maybe a place would have potato skins or one of those jars of tabasco sauce that had long since turned brown.

In one final tangent (at least for this column), about a year and a half ago I mentioned my love for that Yankee bean dip in a previous column and a regular reader named Nikki was kind enough to provide a recipe for it in the comments box.

Each week, these photos are provided by the Lynnfield Historical Society. Are you interested in joining them? Just send a $15 check to Bob Gillon, Lynnfield Historical Society Treasurer, 300 Main Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940. Include your mailing address, email address and phone number.

Nikki January 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM
What a blast from the past! How nice to see this article, Bill. Although I'm sure I must have gone to dinner there a few times with my parents, what I remember most about the Village Room was walking down with friends after the (then) Jr. High let out in the afternoon for a coke or a chocolate frappe. When you walked in, the tables were on the left...small, square, dark wood with colonial-looking "captain" chairs. There couldn't have been more than a dozen tables. I don't remember if they had a counter with stools. At that time of day, the lunch crowd was over, but, still, if you didn't mind your p's and q's, you got kicked out! The dentist's name was Dr. Devaney. You can see his sign in the picture, but it is a little blurry. Also, thanks for reminding me about bean dip, just in time for the Super Bowl...go 49ers!
William Laforme (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Hi Nikki great to hear from you and thanks! I've actually found the bean dip in a couple of stores on the North Shore in recent months, maybe it's making a comeback!
Ernie Hutchins January 28, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Bill---as Nikki has mentioned, it was a popular hangout for the high school kids in the late 50's. The Village Room replaced the not to kid friendly soda fountain at the drug store. We had my fathers 80th birthday party there in 1991. I am thinking it was still the Village Room at that time. They always had a good lunch crowd. Not to sure about the PM side. Think it leaned a little to the blue hair group in popularity. As you know I love a good old fashioned New England blue hair menu. Bring on the Prime Rib.......(and the dips)
William Laforme (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 05:30 PM
You Ernie, I love chicken vindaloo and Mongolian beef probably more than the next guy but I'll also have that soft spot as well for the classic New England menus. Yoken's also comes to mind in that category. I'm glad we were able to get this place a mention then, it's probably a bit too recent for the vintage photo books and maybe a bit overshadowed by higher profile former landmarks like the Towne Lyne House.
Ernie Hutchins January 28, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Bill, Yokens the best value in the area. Family of four (two kids meals) and a bottle of wine for under $25 in the mid 70's. Great place! Great food!
Nikki January 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Another "back in the day" restaurant that was very similar to The Village Room was the Hazelwood on Main St. in Wakefield. Same comfort foods, but more seating room.
Carol Plaisted Tullgren February 02, 2013 at 10:06 PM
When Mrs Pike left the Village Room - she had sold it to Arthur Clements of Lynn, MA. I worked at different periods of my life at the Village room along with Agnes ( who married Joe from the Meat Dept at Worthens) and Millie and Helen. It was truly the gathering point for the people of Lynnfield. Karen's Bakery was next door and it, too, was a very popular bakery. I believe Victors Beauty Salon was also there next to the bakery. Arthur was a great owner and wonderful to work for - he truly loved his customers and gave them delicious food - for which they continuously came back for. Its nice to remember the many fun times I had there, both as a waitress and as a customer. I met many different people while there - the crossroads of Lynnfield - and will remember them always. Carol Plaisted Tullgren
Ernie Hutchins March 04, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Carol---I dont know if you will get this, a month after the posting? I did not tune into it after Jan 28, so missed your posting at end. When I saw your name it brought back old memories of Hutchins Circle. In fact I am doing a piece on the old Perry Home at 505 Main St and the first Lynnfield High School. I had some recent conversations with Bruce Woodbury, Jeff Stevens & Dave Rodham about original Hutchins Circle residents. Of course you and Gail and Stutz names came up. We sold the old homestead at 3 Hutchins Circle in 2005. Probably made us the oldest original family owners on the street? (1942) I moved out in 1965 after I got married. I see that Stutz recently retired. Our family bought several cars from him. Do you happen to know what year the Village Room opened? I think it was 1956 or 1957 Ernie (Butch) Hutchins. erniehutchins@comcast.net


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