I spent Friday night in Salem at the Hawthorne Hotel celebrating the wedding of two of my very most favorite people. When we woke up Saturday morning, we packed our things and headed down to the front desk. We asked the greeter for a recommendation on a breakfast place we could walk to. She immediately said, "Everyone loves Red's. It's a diner about a three minute walk from here. Just turn left at the Salem Depot."
We checked with the bridal party (who had been in town for three days) and they had already eaten there! Two of the groomsmen gave a ringing endorsement so we headed out in search of Red's.
Red's gets its name from the color of the historic building it is located in. This is so New England!
This space used to be the London Coffee House which dates back to the 1700s. I've lived in New England my whole life and sometimes I forget how special it is that we're on historic ground.
Red's was still decorated for Christmas with lots of wreaths, garlands and plants.
Check out the "R" on the railing!
When you step inside the noise level triples. The Red's dining room is always packed. Every seat. They have two diner-style counters and two full dining rooms of tables and booths. The waitresses know all the locals' names and I overheard one say, "Have a great day, guys. See you tomorrow!"
The hostess walked us to a table in the rear dining room. On our way we passed under this rustic Salem sign.
The Red's menu is classic diner fare - eggs, omelets, pancakes, french toast and a slew of deli sandwiches.
Both of my brunch companions ordered coffee which came in these branded mugs. The Red's waitresses are on it when it comes to the coffee. They appear every 10-15 minutes asking if you need a refresh.
One of my friends ordered the eggs florentine. She marveled, "I have never seen Hollandaise sauce so yellow!" We weren't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. She said, "I really loved the home fries, but I wouldn't order this egg dish again. It was just . . . eh."
Another friend selected the sourdough French toast. It did not come topped with anything - powdered sugar, whipped cream or fruit. He topped it with a generous pour of maple syrup and gobbled it up.
He also requested a side of hash which arrived in a brick! You can't tell from this picture but this block of hash was about seven inches wide!
Hash it normally a bit more . . . what's the word . . . forked? This just didn't look fresh.
I ordered the egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin. Honestly, I could have an egg sandwich at home that was 100 times better than this version. It was just pathetic. All the way down to the Kraft singles slice of American cheese.
Red's is hangover food. Plain and simple. Maybe all these years of Sunday brunch in the city have spoiled me. I just expect more.
Despite my disappointment, the locals love it. That is clear. In fact, you can even have a Red's Christmas ornament!
If you're in Salem and you need a fix, Red's is located at 15 Central Street.