Salem Food Digest - Red’s- A Tradition in Downtown Salem

The one place where everybody eats

By The BaldOne

Every community has traditions. Salem is not an exemption. The Thanksgiving football game with those guys from the other side of the bridge is a tradition. Heritage Days is a tradition. Chop Suey sandwiches at the Willows are a tradition.

When it comes to breakfast, Red’s Sandwich Shop is a Salem tradition second to none.

Located on Central Street in the Revolutionary era London Coffee House they have been cracking eggs since sine Francis X. Collins occupied the Mayor’s desk.

We gathered on the sidewalk at a little after 9 A. M. Much to our surprise there was no line and we were seated quickly. Within a minute of being seated a waitress was pouring coffee and dropping menus. The coffee was hot and has a certain robust quality.

The menu had plenty of choices and as usual the specials board offered some interesting options to include a turkey omelet. We were disappointed that the only bagel option was “plain”. Wheat, or rye, or even an onion option would have been nice.

We chose to order a hash and cheddar cheese omelet, a mushroom and onion omelet, and a waffle, which came with strawberries and whipped cream.

Our food was delivered, and the coffee cups re-filled before we were there five minutes. Nobody serves quicker, or more efficiently than Red’s. The check was also dropped with the food. That is a bit of a turn off.

The omelets are cooked on the flat top and were done perfectly. They filled the plate and had plenty of fresh mushroom and onions. Home fries are always portioned generously at Red’s and this day was no exception.

The corned beef has always been a highlight here. Many order it well done, and when they do it comes out crispy on the edges. In an omelet with cheddar cheese it creates a nice mesh of texture and flavor. It is not greasy and is well worth trying on its own or in an omelet. In our opinion it is the best hash that appears on a daily menu in Salem.

The home fries got decent marks. They are good, not greasy and you get plenty on the plate, but they were described as “lacking in personality”. A little hot sauce took care of that.

When we got to the waffle, we cut it in half and then hit it hard.  One of us prefers no syrup, while the other lives for syrup and other sweet concoctions.. It was of good size, with lots of fruit and a very generous serving of whipped cream. I would eat this waffle plain, with just a little butter and be quite happy.

We bypassed the frisbee sized pancakes, after all you can only do so much at one meal. We are planning on returning at a later date for a pancake comparison sometime later in the year.

Salem Food Digest Authorized. The tradition lives on.

Red’s Sandwich Shop

15 Central St

Salem MA