Red Coach Grill Memories

How many of you remember the Red Coach Grill restaurant chain? How many of you know that it was owned by Howard Johnson's?

That's right, the Red Coach Grill started in 1936 in Wayland, Mass. (now known as the independently-owned and operated Coach Grill) with Howard Johnson's taking over in 1937 to create a local chain that would eventually expand to more than 30 restaurants. On a side note, Howard Johnson's owned the Ground Round chain but I'd have to be a clown to talk about that one (you see, the Ground Round had clowns for entertainment; ok, bad joke).

The Red Coach Grill was like Howard Johnson's with a bowtie -- that is, with more of an elegant look and slightly upscale menu. You wouldn't find 28 flavors of ice cream, an orange roof or waitresses dressed in vintage checkered uniforms. Instead, the Red Coach Grill dimmed the lights and offered cushy and comfortable seating at black booths. The pine-paneled walls, semi-circular bar, fieldstone fireplaces, plush wall-to-wall carpeting and beamed ceilings added to the cozy ambiance. Outside looked inviting, too, with a rustic, shingled red roof and log paneling on the exterior, as well as a classy sign out front with old English font and a picture of a horse drawn coach.   

The steak and seafood menu included some meals fit for a king or a queen -- or a suburbanite with some room left on the credit card. The food was generally excellent -- just as good if not better than some local restaurants with high opinions of themselves. Diners could opt for the filet mignon, boiled live lobster or broiled swordfish or go for something more simple like New England clam chowder, char-broiled sirloin steak, broiled schrod, ham steak, or breaded veal cutlet. I remember the apple pie with vanilla ice cream to be quite good, as well.

I remember passing by Red Coach Grill locations in Hyannis, Saugus, Framingham, Middleboro and Wayland, Mass., as well as one in Lake George, N.Y. The only one we went to was in Hyannis at the rotary. In retrospect, that turned out to be the best choice as the other towns didn't have oceans beach to enjoy after the meal!

What memories do you have of the Red Coach Grill?

1 comment:

  1. Did work the one in Saugus for years Briler cook Fri cook did about everything. Retired now 78 years old lol


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