5 Gone But Not Forgotten Burlington, Mass. Memories

Who remembers these Burlington, Mass. memories?

1. The cow field right off Route 128 at the Burlington Mall's Macy's location. Hard to believe but true! Born in 1962, my recollection of that field was probably around 1966.

2. A bit farther down the road from the Middlesex Turnpike was Betty Crocker's Pie Shop. Named after the famous fictional character used for food and recipes, this chain went beyond a chain. The pies truly tasted homemade and they were always well-stocked -- even during the Christmas season.

3. Restaurants have come and gone at the Burlington Mall, but one that sticks out is The Magic Pan. This pleasant and innovative restaurant chain specialized in a great variety of crepes. In true 1970s convenience-style (as opposed to 2022 convenience style as I was reminded about the following from Wikipedia!), the Magic Pan featured an automated system to make crepes at a crepe station. This looked groundbreasking back in the day when we worked off typewriters, had no remote control for the TV and dialed up family and friends through a rotary phone. But I digress. The crepe station consisted of a motorized conveyor that heated metal pans while an attendant dipped the bottom of the pans in the crepe batter for uniform coating. That attendant would then turn the pans upside down while on the gas flame conveyor as a means for the thin crepes to cook on the bottom of a greased pan facing upwards. The conveyor -- a gas flame heated circular “wheel” -- slowly turned and held eight pans maximum at one time. The result: great-tasting crepes!

4. On Route 3A north past the town common: Almy's, a clothing store much in the vein of Marshall's and TJ Maxx. Almy's had a friendlier, more low-key tone than Marshall's and TJ Maxx and almost never disappointed with a nice variety of name-brand clothing at very low prices. We used to live in back of Almy's -- no, not the back of the store but through the woods and into a modest neighborhood with small ranches. Shaw's suoermarket anchors that shopping center now.

5. The Burlington News. Many of you might remember this independently-owned mom and pop newspaper that served as a viable alternative to the Burlington Times Union. Fredi and Peter Blume owned the paper and I was their assistant editor from 1984 to 1985 -- fresh of of college as a journalism grad. I started at 10K with no benefits and pretty much wrote the paper. I also delivered the paper to local businesses. Wow, talk about overall experience! I really enjoyed working with Fredi and Peter -- very nice folks!

6. How about Victoria Station on the Middlesex Turnpike? I loved that place. Yes, it was a chain but the railroad themed steakhouse offered a comfortable, fun environment and the steaks rivaled populist steakhouse restaurants like the Hilltop and Valle's in Saugus. They were definitely better, as well, than the budget steakhouses like York's, Ponderosa and Bonanza. Victoria Station's prime rib was amazing! Although the chain filed for bankruptcy in 1986, the Salem, Mass. location stayed open until 2017. Incredible to think that a railroad-themed steakhouse with American-inspired roots now continues as a restaurant chain in Malaysia!

What are some of your Burlington memories? I look forward to your feedback in the comments box below.

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