Route 9 Diner, Hadley, MA

Okay, guys, the last local restaurant review before I head home for vacation. I'm technically posting this for Tuesday, though I'll be in classes and also on a bus for about four hours. Ah, the joys of public transportation. Anyhow, onto the review.

This place is a classic staple for students, as it's open 24 hours a day and serves up food you wish you could make, but cannot, because you are drunk or incapable. The menu is horrifyingly expansive and offers selections like breakfast food, amazing sandwiches, phenomenal desserts, and the best waffle fries this side of Chick-Fil-A.

I went with my mother on a brief break in between shows this weekend. I'd been before, but hadn't yet reviewed it because I wanted a more substantial meal to pick apart. I was ravenous, so I ordered the Mt. Holyoke chicken sandwich- fried chicken breast, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion rings, and cheddar cheese on a bun, with waffle fries and a diet Pepsi.

The photo is a little blurry, but there it is, in all its glory. The food came in about ten minutes, record time, but made no indication of being reheated or previously made. It was fresh, fancy, and delicious. I don't like coleslaw, so I gave it to my mother. The sandwich itself was a monster. The bun wasn't toasted, which I like, and also had melted cheddar cheese on both sides of the bun, enveloping the contents in a gooey seal.

The chicken was phenomenal. It was uniformly cooked to perfection, crispy, slightly greasy, and very flavorful. I don't know how well it would have served as a solo dish (as opposed to Lenny and Joe's,) but it's delicious "sandwich chicken" and that makes everything all right. The bacon was perfectly cooked, but was unfortunately overshadowed by the onion rings. I think that this sandwich could have been better made with onion straws, as they give the taste and crunch of rings without the strange texture. Some of the onions slipped out of the breading as I bit, and that's a textural component I cannot abide in the least. The BBQ sauce was there, but in the tiniest, quarter-sized pool on top of one side of the chicken and made some appearances on one side of the sandwich, but that was as far as it went.


As far as the waffle fries go, they are sublime. I'd say that in each serving, at least 60% of the fries are large, waffly slices, and at least 25% of the fries are large enough that you have to unhinge your jaw to eat whole. They come piping hot and are orange and seasoned with magical spices, but are not greasy and acid-inducing like some fries. They are crunchy in some areas, soft in others, and utterly addictive.

What I also like about the waffle fries is that they're not uniform. I like it when there's a slight cut that uses the really meaty end of the potato, as opposed to the standard sticks. If anything, they might need a little more salt. But trust me, if you're going to Route 9 Diner, don't order anything on the side but these fries. If you order them as a side order, they come piled high on a plate the size of your head. Trust me, though. You'll finish them.


Route 9 Diner
458 Russell St. #11
Hadley, MA, 01035

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