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Chris Coombs Used to Treat Himself to a Roast Beef Sandwich With an Hour's Pay

Throughout Classics Week, chefs who grew up in the Boston area are sharing fond memories of their childhood dining experiences. (Want to add yours? Email boston@eater.com.)

Land 'n Sea
Land 'n Sea
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Chris Coombs"There is a roast beef and fried seafood place called the Land 'n Sea in Peabody that I went to all the time after high school," recounts Chris Coombs, executive chef/owner of Boston Chops, Deuxave, and dbar. "I still go back to Land 'n Sea for nostalgia. I get the chicken kebab sub, which is a Greek pita wrap with chicken in it, and sometimes I do still get the fried clams and roast beef sandwich to bring me back to my childhood." The family-run restaurant has been around since 1972.

Speaking of roast beef: "The one thing that is a standout on Boston’s North Shore — and has been for years — is their roast beef restaurants," he continues. "The one I always went to was Bill & Bob’s Roast Beef in Peabody. I remember a roast beef sandwich served on an onion roll was $4.75, and I made $5 at my job, so I would always take one hour’s pay and treat myself to this sandwich." Bill & Bob's still exists; there are also locations in Salem and Woburn. The specialty is the roast beef "3-way," which is topped with barbecue sauce, mayo, and cheese. In fact, Coombs paid tribute to that very sandwich during a previous Eater theme week, Greasy Spoons Week, by creating a special dish at Boston Chops.

Like Ben Weisberger of No. 9 Park, Coombs also has childhood memories of Ground Round. "My family would go to the Ground Round in Peabody for special occasions," he remembers, "but it doesn’t exist anymore. I would always get the potato skins and a Caesar salad. That is the first place that I ever tasted a Caesar salad growing up."

And when it was time for something a little nicer: "Once a year, we had a special occasion restaurant that my family would go to, and that is the Sylvan Street Grille," says Coombs. "That was saved for special birthday dinners, and I thought that was fine dining. It was a treat when my family would go there, and I still love that place because of the memories that I have from those times." The restaurant opened in Peabody in 1989 and expanded to Salisbury five years later. Both locations remain open today.

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