Wednesday night I got the opportunity to go to the Old Timer in Clinton, MA.
The Old Timer is a small little restaraunt with an Irish theme to it. It's run by "Jimmy", a sad faced, quick witted man in his sixties.
One walks into the Old Timer, and goes down a dark, narrow hallway back to the main dining room. The Old Timer looks like it used to be a church, or a theatre, or a playhouse or something that was converted into a restaraunt. The lighting is yellow, there is lots of dark wood, and the seating reminds me of church pews turned to face each other. At one end, up high on the wall, is a large enclave, big enough to provide ample seating for midgets, or a large nativity scene (parts of which, including lights and fake snow, are present year-round).
On Roast Beef night, you are less than American if you don't order "The Buffet." The Buffet is small, including only corn fritters, green beans, Mashed Potato, and a huge honkin' slab of roast beef.
French cuisine it ain't, but the mashed potatos are good, and the roast beef is good, provided that you like roast beef. The old Timer's roast beef night isn't really about the food though, it's about the atmosphere.
Atmosphere is provided by Jimmy, in cook's whites, large apron and running sneakers, belting out traditional irish tunes, american tunes, show tunes, and whatever else comes into mind, while walking around the dining room, carving and serving the roast beef, and otherwise directing the activities in the dining room. Jimmy is accompanied by a pianist banging away on a baby grand set right behind the buffet. The music is like the food, solid, but not technically good, but it's not about the quality as much as the quantity, and the amount of good humor that comes out of it.
I had only been here once before, and I had forgotten how much dman fun it is! Did I mention that they have a really good selection of draft beers? Guinness, Harp, Bass, Sam Adams etc. are on tap, and help to out you in the mood for singing along with your mouth full, swaying back and forth and generally having a great time. With the beer and music and sense of fun, it's kind of like a bizarre Irish Octoberfest. I can't wait to go back.