140 Brighton Ave. Allston; (617) 254-9592
259 Bennington St, East Boston; (617) 567-9282
Any Bostonian probably knows the Riley’s sign Roast Beef Til 3 am. as a local landmark. Mine. has always wanted to go in at 2:59 and order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just to see if a burly night cook would shout, Roast beef! Ya gotta order roast beef! Can’t ya read the sign?? The Allston location is cleaner than it once was, well-lit and even decorated with plants for a cozier feel. It’s really a fast-food joint, not what this book is meant to cover; but the food is pretty good, and there is more variety here than you’ll find in any McChain.
Roast beef, of course, is the specialty of the house. It comes thin-sliced and hot on an onion roll in four sizes: junior ($1.75) to deluxe ($5.19). All include cheese and barbecue sauce. It makes for a yummy, if messy, handful. You can add a medium order of fries and a soda for about a dollar more.
The place also serves up char-broiled burgers for 690 (definitely fast-food-ish), fried clams with French fries and onion rings ($3.99), minestrone ($1.69), and wouldja believe daily dinner specials, such as chicken pot pie ($3.99), which comes with com bread and your choice of two side vegetables.
Riley’s even cooks breakfast from 7 to 11 am. with omelettes from $2.29 or three eggs and bacon for $2.89 with toast home fries, and coffee. And they have home-baked muffins for 690 blueberry, com, and bran. Riley’s East Boston location, in Day Square, is a bit more of a takeout stand than a sit-down eatery but offers most of the same foods. Open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily.