The Knotty Pine has served classic American breakfasts and lunches to Newton residents since 1987, and the welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff, and delicious home fries keep local Newton residents coming back daily.
The diner’s staff takes pride in the fact that it is a quality casual eatery where customers can share a great meal and get to know those who work in the restaurant and the other patrons. Customers of all ages indulge in delicious food and outstanding service on any given morning at the Auburndale breakfast and lunch spot.
Before it was The Knotty Pine, the building housed a different local restaurant since 1915, serving as a staple of the Auburndale and Newton communities.
Nick Kourtis, part-owner and cook at The Knotty Pine for the past 27 years, said that he has always been passionate about the restaurant business, but building relationships with those he is cooking for keeps him at the diner.
“The clientele work with everyone,” he said. “It’s a family atmosphere. I think that’s the best part—it doesn’t feel like work sometimes. … You don’t get that at a lot of other places.”
Newton resident Kevin McNamara, one customer sitting at the counter, owns a beauty shop down the street from The Knotty Pine and comes in twice a day for breakfast and lunch. Having grown up in Newton, he has been a regular at the location since the 1970s.
McNamara knows everyone who works at The Knotty Pine and said the friendly faces are what keep him coming back every day.
“[The restaurant] is friendly [and] full of life,” McNamara said. “It’s a breath of fresh air away from all the silliness of life.”
McNamara was eager to talk about the restaurant, as he came in alone and likes to get to know the other diners at the restaurant, asking them questions about school and life.
The food ties the community environment together at The Knotty Pine. With a griddle in eyesight from the moment they walk in, customers receive a hot, classic American breakfast quickly and with great service.
The Knotty Pine serves all the classics—from wraps and breakfast sandwiches to omelets and eggs benedict—all at an affordable price of under $13, according to its website. The diner even serves chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry milkshakes.
The mushroom and spinach scramble came piping hot off the griddle filled with perfectly cooked vegetables and served with a side of home fries cooked to a perfect golden crisp. McNamara, Kourtis, and a waiter at the diner all said that the home fries are their personal favorites. Two freshly toasted slices of bread and a hot cup of coffee paired with the dish perfectly to create a classic breakfast.
Other menu favorites include The Knotty Pine omelet with crispy bacon, tomatoes, and cheese, as well as blueberry pancakes and a turkey BLT that McNamara described as “to die for.”
Ella Reid, a waitress at The Knotty Pine and a Newton resident, said getting to know the frequent patrons of the diner makes the experience special.
“Getting to know the regulars, there is something so different from a corporate, Starbucks-like job,” she said. “It’s not just a job. It’s a community experience.”
Reid grew up visiting the restaurant with her mother. One summer, she called looking for a job in what she described as a “very friendly process.” The management asked for her availability, and she had her first shift a few days later.
After working at The Knotty Pine for a year now, Reid said the staff creates a special experience for customers. When customers dine there, the staff treats them like family.
The diner is seat yourself–style, but an employee greets each customer with a friendly smile.
“They come in and can sit for hours,” Reid said of the diner’s regular customers. “The cook knows their name, and they don’t have to put in their order. It’s very down to earth and friendly.”
The Knotty Pine accepts cash only. The diner is open at 295 Auburn Street Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Images by Margaret Doheny / Heights Editor