Eating Local: The Chat
One of the hidden gems of local eating is well-known to those who frequent the rowing headquarters of the world…wait…NOT the Charles, but Lake Cochituate (Wayland-Weston Rowing). The Dudley Chateau is the formal name, but I have never heard it referred to as anything other than “The Chat.” Self-described as “Wayland’s Local Hangout”, this would be the second location I would suggest Weston annex if we ever want to compete in league soccer with the hyphenated towns–the first would be the high school of course.
The Chat is owned and managed by Ken and Mandy Phillips, and yesterday the spot was a little understaffed–for those of us who eat out from time to time, this is nothing new. I will emphasize that this is not a complaint–we loved having a slow lunch and watching the squishing of Aston Villa at the hands of West Ham–service was friendly and we empathized with the overworked wait staff. Also, the Wachusett Octoberfests arrived quickly so all was right in the world.
There is significant bar traffic with both single men enjoying the other kind of football game, and a couple of women friends having a chat (yeah, that was inevitable). Lucky early arrivers get to sit at the huge plate glass window overlooking Dudley Pond, and if you have nice weather (we may be at the end of that), there is a very casual patio, which gave me a laugh with its placard of “The Chatio.” The fall colors are spectacular everywhere and never better than while enjoying a mac-and-cheese burger. True story.
The Chat is not where you come with your list of diet foods in hand. The burgers are huge–I had to take half of mine home, mostly because we had gotten truffle fries for a starter and well, self-control around fried potatoes is not a virtue of mine. Some of the menu items are as American as you can get–grilled cheese with variations (chipotle grilled cheese? Why not?) and fish sandwiches and yes, that Mac Attack burger. Bring your teenage boy and actually fill him up for once. Owlet 1, burger 0.
The Chat is kid-friendly, with large wood tables for setting out the coloring pages, and adult-friendly too. Food hours are 11:30 am- 9 pm just about every day (it opens at 12 on Sundays, and kitchen closes at 10 pm Wednesday-Saturday). The bar is open later but who stays up after 9 pm anymore? Mystery.
The Dudley Chateau is located at 20 Crest Rd in Wayland (Cochituate), http://www.thedudleychateau.com, (508) 655-0010. Plenty of free parking on site.