Restaurant Review: Mr. Bartley’s

Recently, we took a friend from out of town to Mr. Bartley’s, a Harvard Square institution.  Since our friend hates Massachusetts, we wanted to take him somewhere iconic and delicious to show him Massachusetts is not all bad news!

Mr. Bartley’s is a real utilitarian place, complete with plastic chairs and sticky tables.  The walls are covered with signs and posters.  The din is perfect, noisy, but still easy to have a good conversation.  It’s very homey.

Before I forget, their motto is real food, real money.  They don’t accept plastic.  They do have an ATM in the restaurant but it will have a fee.  The nearest bank ATMs are by the Holyoke Center, so be sure to grab cash on your way before you enter.

I have been a few times and encountered different levels of understanding. The staff’s knowledge seems a little uneven: I have received different advice on different visits, so do try to stay away from their sauces, etc, as the wait staff tries their best, but may not always be able to find the correct answer.

The staff is very nice and very willing to work with the kitchen staff to get more information.  On my most recent visit, the waitress was not immediately certain what a gluten allergy was, but she was willing to listen.

Things to remember for gluten-free diners at this restaurant: the regular fries are not suitable for those with gluten allergies.  However, their sweet potatoes fries are just fine!

Their salad dressings are not gluten-free.

Their burgers and turkey burgers are gluten-free: just order them without the bun!

I ordered a turkey burger with cheddar, bacon and onions and sweet potato fries.  The burger was perfectly cooked, nice and tender and still juicy.  The bacon was crispy and the onions were nicely caramelized.  The sweet potato fries are great, salty and sweet.

This is a great place to grab a quick bite.  They are really willing to try to accommodate gluten allergies, just try to order basic to avoid any possible confusion.

G/F friendly: 3 of 5

Ambiance in one word: casual

Food Taste and Quality: 4 of 5


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