As I was driving at 70 mph down Rt. 128 last week, a truck rolled over about 100 yards in front of me across three lanes of traffic. Somehow, I managed to swerve into the breakdown lane and avoid all the other careening vehicles. The three cars in front of me were not so lucky. Miraculously, everyone walked away unhurt, including the driver of the toppled truck. I’m still not sure how that was possible, but I suspect it had something to do with seat belts.
So, in honor of cheating death for the 416th time, I decided to treat my one-year-old passenger, who inexplicably slept through the whole thing, and my own jangled nerves to a delicious lunch at the Strawberry Fair Restaurant. Actually, we were on our way there anyway for the article I’m supposed to be working on RIGHT NOW. Good thing, too, because near-death experiences make you hungry.
So where is Norwell, anyway? The South Shore, it turns out, somewhere between Weymouth and Marshfield. I grew up in the South Shore and I’ve never set foot in Norwell in my life. Does anyone live there? No one knows. They do have car dealerships, though. Lots of them, and the Strawberry Fair just happens to be nestled incongruously among them along the main strip.
A word of warning: the testosterone level of men who enter this restaurant is likely to take a steep dive. The décor is very country kitchen meets Lilliputian fairy tale. Shabby chic, to some. Girly, to others. It’s a cute little farmhouse with lots of cottage antiques crammed into every possible space. Which is why the little girl in me thought it was kind of neat. Okay, maybe it was one strawberry stencil design too many for my taste, but still, I’m a girl.
We had a quick lunch of onion soup, a Cape Cod chicken salad sandwich with cranberries and walnuts, a bag of chips, and the obligatory bowl of strawberries (they don’t force you to order them, I was just somehow compelled). And it was good. Better than average. And the service was great. (They also have meatloaf sandwiches on the menu so the girly men that come here can feel slightly better about themselves.)
I dare say I’ll be bringing the family back. I’m in favor of supporting the quirky little family-owned places serving up wholesome edibles where kids are welcomed with a smile (they even have a small toy stash for antsy little ones). It would make a good pit stop if you’re stuck in rush hour traffic on Rt. 3, or if you decide to head down the Cape on a Friday evening in the summer like a dumb-ass. It’s practically right off the highway if you need a bite from somewhere other than McDonald’s/ Burger King/Applebee’s/Ground Round and their ilk.
Maybe I was just glad to be alive, but I thought this place was just peachy.
(Strawberry Fair Restaurant, 14 Pond St., Norwell, 781-878-7878)