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Diesel Café: Eclectic and satisfying

When a classmate in one of my classes mentioned that he was thinking about conducting research at a certain coffee establishment chain, my professor responded, “What’s so special about Chain X that Tufts students always go there? I like Diesel Café better. Has anyone been there?” No one said a word. “Well, it is great. You guys should go.” And she moved on.

But I had not moved on. Keeping my professor’s insight in mind, as a Medford/Somerville dweller I wondered why I’d never cared to step foot inside the establishment during my many Davis Square visits. Last week I finally journeyed to Diesel to try it out.

Located right off the Davis T stop, Diesel Café attracts large numbers of locals and visitors alike. The vibe is rather eclectic—think antique, old-school wall decors, pool tables, and a seemingly real motorcycle above the entrance. It is definitely not your typical neighborhood café, but change is good, right?

The menu is displayed on a chalkboard behind the registers. There is a range of espresso and tea-based drinks, and several specialty drinks that sound delicious such as “Somerville Smog” (Earl Grey tea with steamed milk, and vanilla) and “Tuck’s Turtle” (hot chocolate with hazelnut, caramel, and whipped cream). Food selections include various vegetarian and meat sandwiches, salads, snacks, and mouthwatering homemade pastries. Bonus point: the establishment supports fair trade, locally sourced, and organic food where possible.

A cold November day calls for a hot soy café latte. I also ordered a “Red Fire” sandwich, which consists of some of my favorite edibles on wheat bread: hummus, Swiss cheese, sprouts, cucumber, carrots, and apple. My friend ordered the “Accelerator” (almond and vanilla latte) and a pressed version of “The Granby” with layers of avocado, sun-dried tomato ricotta, Swiss cheese, and onion on focaccia. Note that you can order your sandwich hot or cold, although I recommend you ask the staff for serving suggestions.

Contrary to my expectations after reading several reviews, it was not hard for my friend and me to find a table. Perhaps it was because we went at 11 am, or because it was a weekday, or perhaps it was a combination of the two. There were plenty of outlets for guests to use, although there is no free wireless Internet available. Five dollars for an hour of internet use? Might as well have left my laptop in my room and brought some readings instead.

Our beverages and food were ready in about five minutes. My latte came with a delicate leaf design and was served piping hot, and my sandwich was delicious. Salad lovers would undoubtedly relish the latter, since the dish is essentially a salad between bread with its thick layer of fresh vegetables and apple slices. My friend enjoyed her “Granby” sandwich as well, but for some reason her sandwich came with a side of pasta salad while mine did not. Oh well.

Aside from my missing pasta salad and the pricey internet charge, my visit to Diesel Café was quite pleasant. Due to its close proximity to the Tufts campus, I will definitely go back to try the café’s other offerings, although I will never be a regular like my professor, simply because my college student budget does not allow me to access the online world from its location.

P.S. Did I mention they have a photo booth? You could almost go for that reason alone.

Ambiance: A-

Service: A-

Food (taste): A- 

Food (presentation): B+

Price: $9 to 15/person

Overall: A-

257 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Neighborhoods: Davis Square
(617) 629-8717

-Andari Gusman

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