DINING REVIEW: There's no place like 25 on the Common

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By Margaret Locher

Contributing Writer

The Pardee family (l to r) Adam, Dion, Mary, Lauren and parents, Laurie and John. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

Grafton – The Grafton Inn's 25 on the Common restaurant is the best place to spend a summer evening. The historic building sits on idyllic Grafton Common, where summer concerts are given from a white gazebo on Wednesday nights. You can enjoy the music from the grass, or cross the street to the inn's large outdoor patio. The inn is close enough to the action that patrons can enjoy the music from the Common without wading through the crowd that gathers there. For a cozier and lower-key option, 25 on the Common itself hosts live music on Thursday nights.

I stopped in with a friend for dinner on just such a Thursday. People were relaxing on the patio as citronella candles burned and a solo guitarist serenaded them while the daylight faded. This is the definition of summertime.

We ordered our sodas and contemplated the specials the waitress recited. We started with a bowl of clam chowder ($4.79) and one of French Onion Soup ($4.79). My friend and I agreed that next time we come to 25 on the Common, we must try the new menu item, the garlic mashed potato pizza ($12.99). We are both pizza-obsessed and this sounded delicious.

But for tonight, we had other plans – my friend decided to try one of the specials: Chicken Cordon Bleu ($12.99) and he selected a side of mashed potatoes. Chicken parmesan ($13.99) is one of my favorites, but I decided it didn's feel right with the summertime atmosphere. I instead ordered Scallops Capri ($15.99), bay scallops in white wine, olive oil and pesto with walnuts, spinach, tomato and feta cheese. I asked for it over linguine. We could hardly finish our large servings of soup, and we were so excited about our meals that we wanted to be sure we left room.

Grafton Inn owner John Pardee was sitting with his wife at a table on the patio, enjoying the guitarist. He inquired about what we's ordered and when I told them, they said, “The Scallops Capri is our favorite!” and “That's what I always eat.”

I wasn's disappointed. The feta cheese and tomatoes with the light sauce made it the perfect summer meal. And the bowl was huge! I knew I would have some leftover for tomorrow's lunch if I could keep from eating it all right there. The cordon bleu special consisted of two generous pieces of chicken and a heap of mashed potatoes.

I's been to 25 on the Common before so I knew to leave room for dessert. A homemade berry crumble a la mode was the cherry on top of a terrific meal.

25 on the Common at The Grafton Inn is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant serves patrons on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. Check the inn's website at www.grafton-inn.com for events or call 508-839-5931 for information about reservations or room accommodations.