You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. But we've got a better idea. Each week, Norton Patch will pick a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out.
Here's this week's choice:
Uncle Ed’s Back Porch
Overview: Founded Aug. 1, 2009, Uncle Ed's Back Porch is known for it’s homemade ice cream. It serves about 30 flavors, and even more during the summer.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Uncle Ed's Back Porch Feb. 16. The United Regional Chamber of Commerce organized the event to celebrate the business' expansion to serving lunch and dinner made by one of three chefs, Shirley Nolin, Jean Giannini and Marck Robitaille.
“She [Shirley] can make anything,” said Barbara Boynton and Agnes Curran.
Nolin began helping co-owners John Skurchak and Dennis Levine with the food menu back in June. She used to own Shirley’s Fine Chocolates, but sold it to take care of her daughter, who had cancer. Without even applying for the chef position, she was hired.
“We all work together,” Nolin said of the staff. “We’re a team.”
Decor: Without the marquee sign, Uncle Ed’s could blend in with the roadside. You have to keep an eye out for it. But the inside has a diner feel to it, complete with half oval barstool seating in the center of the room. If barstools aren’t your thing, though, there are plenty of booths to choose from.
The Drinks: It's not just about soda pop at Uncle Ed's. The following ice cream punch recipe will give you a taste of what they have to offer:
12 oz. Lemonade concentrate
6 oz. Frozen orange juice
9 cups lemon lime soda
5 pints orange sherbert
1 quart vanilla ice cream.
Mix and enjoy! Serves 40 people.
Appetizers: Co-owner John Skurchak says that his favorite appetizer at Uncle Ed’s is the pierogi. A Polish cuisine, pierogi are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato, sauerkraut, ground meat or fruit.
As far as soups go, the Yumbo Gumbo is tops in his book. This savory dish was served at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Entrees: The full menu includes homemade items such as sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, chicken wings and more. But who better to tell you about them than the people who work there?
“The fried clams are outstanding,” Nolin said.
Co-owner Dennis Levine and Giannini enjoy the hand cut steak and cheese. The shepherd’s pie, which was also served at the ceremony, also seems to be a crowd pleaser. It’s a classier version of the hearty meal we all knew back in elementary school. It is made with beer, heavy cream and chicken broth.
My personal favorite was the flavorful pulled pork. The pieces melted away in my mouth.
Sides: A simple, yet great tasting coleslaw is available at Uncle Ed’s. Usually this side dish goes overboard with the mayonnaise, but in this version, the colors jump out at you without losing that creamy taste.
Desserts: This is Uncle Ed’s bread and butter. Everyone in Norton and surrounding towns flock to Uncle Ed’s in the summer for their homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt.
“During the summer it’s really, really crazy,” Levine said.
During the peak season, about 40 flavors are served. The most popular flavor? Vanilla by far.
“It always has and always will be,” Levine said.
But don’t count out Nolin’s background in chocolate making. Her delectable chocolate stuffed cookies are a must have, if you ever get the chance.
Service: During the ceremony, the servers were diligently on top of drink refills and clearing table space. Though the packed restaurant kept them busy the whole time, they were very helpful with any questions I had.
Owners: Co-owner Dennis Levine always wanted to own a restaurant. “It was just one of those things that presented itself,” he said. His partner, John Skurchak used to do catering. Together, they make a great team and provide a wonderful atmosphere and maintain a well-organized staff.
Miscellaneous: The building that houses Uncle Ed’s goes back to the 1930s, easily. It was originally a Howard Johnson, then a restaurant and deli called Lunchbox. The current landlord bought the building and turned it into O’Brien’s Restaurant in the 1960s before becoming Uncle Ed’s. The diner bar is a “legacy of what was in the original building,” according to Levine.
This is not Uncle Ed's first location. The first location, Uncle Ed's Front Porch, can be found at 116 Winthrop St., Rehoboth.
Address: 416 Old Colony Road
Hours: Daily, noon to 9:30 p.m.
Executive Chef: Marck Robitaille