Any road trip I take starts with a thorough Google search of restaurants along the route. We frequently drive I90 from New York to Boston, passing Worcester and Springfield around lunch or dinner time. After trying a number of restaurants in both cities, our favorite spot has been The Corner Grille in Worcester. Their pizza is amazing—crisp and light and just delicious.
Unfortunately, in June of 2020 The Corner Grille announced they were closing. In early September of this year we were planning another Boston-area trip, so it was back to the drawing board. Where else can we go? What new restaurant can we try? As soon as “ice cream and seafood” appeared in my search results, I knew I was on to something.
One of my favorite types of lunch restaurants combines diner staples with fresh ingredients and top-notch cooking skills. Crisp greens, local eggs, fresh breads, on-premises smoked fish. You get the picture.
Dresser Hill’s Ice Cream and Seafood in Charlton, MA looked like my kind of place.
The menu, at this mashup of the iconic New England crab shack and neighborhood ice cream stand, includes fish and chips, clam strips, lobster roll, crispy buffalo chicken, hot dogs, bisques and chowders and dozens of other items. But would it be good?
Google Maps indicated that it was just 20 minutes off I90. Little did we know that it’s in the middle of farm country. (The closest restaurant is 4 miles away.) Pass through charming Charlton, MA and head out of town. Drive along tree-lined streets, through residential neighborhoods and then open land.
Just like with any authentic ice cream stand, you order at the window, step to the side and wait for your name to be announced over the loud-speaker. We ordered fish and chips and lobster roll.
All seating is outdoors. There are more than a half-dozen picnic tables without umbrellas in a paved area that’s been roped off. There’s also a pavilion, with another 8 or more tables, connected to the building. You can face the building and watch the activity around the window or enjoy the vista overlooking mountains in the distance.
The fish was outstanding, moist and perfectly cooked. The batter crispy and flavorful. The lobster roll was good, too. The roll itself was grilled, making it buttery and crisp, the perfect contrast to the cool, fresh and flavorful lobster salad. They were both so good we went back the next day and ordered the fish and chips and lobster roll again.
There were just two disappointing things about our visit. The first: everything was served in styrofoam. This included the containers the food came in and the cups for water and soda. (Let’s not mention the plastic straws.) The second most disappointing thing—we didn’t have enough room for ice cream.
A good portion of the patrons, when we were visiting, were eating ice cream. There are dozens of varieties to choose from, along with sherbet, sorbet and shakes. It all looked amazing. We have to go back.
Dresser Hill, located at 290 Dresser Hill Rd, Charlton, MA 01507, is open seasonally and doesn’t have a website, although they do have a Facebook page.