Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Breakfast of Champions (of the Night Before)

Jim’s Market is an unassuming place that looks more like an old gray house on a corner instead of a neighborhood convenience store/deli combo. It is tucked away in the “Heights” section of North Medford and there are usually some shifty characters hanging around the picnic benches outside or sitting on their cars. The blackboard menu behind the counter lists their #1 seller as the “Breakfast Special,” but those in the know only refer to it by its long time nickname.

I speak of the “B-Boy,” a local staple of the breakfast scene in Medford for nearly 30 years. It’s a rite of passage for Medford youth coming off the baseball diamond at Carr Park. It’s the place to be for early morning antics of high-schoolers who are skipping a class or two. It is ambrosia handed down the gods, capable of curing the harshest of hangovers. It is a legend to many outsiders.

The “B-Boy” is a simple fried egg sandwich, with cheese and a thick slice of ham, slapped into a 12 inch sub roll. It gained its popularity with its inexpensive cost of $1.00, making it affordable to everyone. After nearly 20 years at that price, inflation got the best of Jim’s Market and they were forced to gradually increase the price. Now at $2.50 it’s still the greatest ‘bang-for-your-buck’ breakfast that you can find.

I have personally filled every role on the above list. As a kid I would grab a “B-Boy” and fries for two bucks after baseball practice. I’ve introduced many friends from other cities to the “B-Boy” during high school. I can’t count the times I’ve gone for a “B-Boy” and a Gatorade after tying one on the night before. Now I grab a bunch every time I head down to a Pats game; the foil wrapping making it the perfect starter for tail-gate grilling.

Jim’s cooks the eggs fresh on the griddle so that you get that greasy goodness you desire on a rough Sunday morning. The cheese oozes with every bite and the two eggs are always perfect. The ham is rectangularly cut to fit the bun to a T, like a well portioned slice at Easter, and it provides that extra bit of salty flavor that puts it over the top. Many different condiment additions to the “B-Boy” have also added to its lore, including BBQ sauce and ketchup (which come complete with the story of who first tried it). But of course you should alter your “B-Boy” at your own risk.

So go ahead and drop three bucks on a pre-processed egg and sausage bagel at Dunks. And I dare you try one of the numerous knock-offs which never live up the hype and always cost more. The “B-Boy” is like a ray of sunshine. It fills your soul with warmth and laughter. It picks you up when you are down. It could quite possibly be the solution for world peace. But until that time, it’s just simply the best damn breakfast sandwich at a price that can’t be beat.

Jim’s Market is located at 463 Fulton Street in Medford, Massachusetts.

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