One of the odd regional idiosyncracies about New England is that very few places actually have hash browns (“hash browns” defined as crispy fried shredded potatoes, as per the image below and right). Most places have “pan fries”, “home fries” or “american fries” instead, which are all variations of cubed or sliced potatoes deep-fried or grilled. Now, some of thes home fries are indeed delicious (for example, Daddypop’s Tumble Inn diner in Claremont, NH, or the Fairlee Diner in Fairlee, VT are both good examples of excellent homefries). But sometimes I just find myself craving good hash browns. Seeing that my last good HB fix was Al’s Breakfast in Minneapolis, it was time for another fix.
Thankfully, my work-related travel had me flying out of Manchester today, so I ducked into my traditional pre-flight diner: Red Arrow on Lowell Street. The Arrow is definitely one of my favorite diners (and I’m not alone, they were ranked one of the US’s top 10 diners by USA today a few years back). They have a solid menu of diner fare (burgers, fries, chicken tenders, sandwiches…), a good rotatiing selection of Blue Plate Specials, and some killer pie.
1. Of the places that serve hashbrowns, most serve it as a side dish. The Arrow will make a meal of them (at right, my “Hash Brown Special with Ham, Onions, and Cheese).
2. The Arrow is open 24 by 7 (and, indeed, I’ve had quite a few meals there when I’ve gotten a late flight back and had the munchies).
3. This place is a solid diner. The food is excellent. The countertop has boomerang formica. The blue plate specials are actually on blue plates. The service is friendly and efficient (although the night staff can be quirky and eccentric).
1. It can be crowded, particularly at breakfast or after bar closing.
2. I’m still not used to eating below a picture of Adam Sandler (Manchester native, and occasional diner at the Arrow)