Linda’s Café in North Adams
Berkshire Diners and Dives
By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 11, 2019
178 Union Street
North Adams, Mass. 01247
Hours 5 AM to 1 PM
The local Linda’s Café is just across the street from our Eclipse Mill loft building in North Adams.
When out and about doing errands it’s a funky and cheap place to grab some grub.
It’s a hangout for local workers, particularly the breakfast shift, and groups of seniors chin-wagging news and gossip.
There are daily specials and today’s was meatloaf ($6.95). I love meatloaf but Linda's don't cut the top 40. On Mondays, Shepherd Pie, Wednesday it’s spaghetti with hearty meat sauce, Reubens and fries on Thursdays and Fish and Chips on Fridays. Tuesday used to be hot roast beef but I ain’t so sure. I never eat out on Monday’s. That’s when restaurants generally close. As an old commie unionist, solidarity forever kind of guy, the cook deserves a day to hang up the apron.
Mostly I like to come for the soup, my favorite being home made turkey and rice. But it ain’t on the menu anymore. No soup. Drats. My pal, Linda’s daughter with the cap and pony tail, says it wasn’t selling. But she hopes it will be back come cold weather.
A cup of soup and grilled cheese sandwich was just about right.
Generally, I don’t go out for breakfast but Linda’s famous blueberry pancakes are scrumptious. Another favorite is their version of hash and eggs.
What’s missing nowadays is Linda. She passed a few months back. Things are pretty much the same but with a hole in my heart. You got that big and hearty hello as she rumbled about in a no nonsense manner. Her picture is up on the wall now.
Wonder what will happen to all her seasonal decorations? The joint was decked out for every occasion. Hunkered down over eggs the grubby ambience sunk into you. Then you had to pick up your feet if you lingered too long over your Joe. She gave you a broom job. You take the hint when it’s time to go.
Thing I like about a local greasy spoon is that not much changes. There is that sense of comfort and stability. The world may go to hell but the grub stays the same. It never gets better or worse.
What’s best about dives like Linda’s is them’s tourist proof. Come high season that’s important. Them city folks got attitude. They mess up stuff and complain all the time. Posting snotty reviews about what’s not quite right. Like I give a damn what they think.
If you live here and want to get along, you have to hunker down and adapt. That means learning to love diners, dives, pizza and sub shops. It’s a cash business and they don’t take plastic. That’s just the way it is up here in our neck of the woods.
I used to invite friends for lunch but they didn’t dig it like I do. Round here it’s tough to find hipsters to hang with. Criss crossing the country, just for the heck of it, in “On the Road,” Sal talked about diners with great pie. That’s a hipster’s GPS of America.
Kerouac would write a whole book about Linda’s. It’s a straight no chaser of cheap eats.
Carrying on that tradition today Linda’s daughter said “Thanks for dropping by” and meant it. I said “I’ll be back in the fall for soup.” She gave me a knowing look. No words were said but we knew what she meant. Somewhere Linda smiled.