We all have those uncles who tell us odd stories that we can only believe to be true because we lack the evidence to prove them otherwise.
Much like those Armenian uncles, brothers Richie and Raffi Bezjian, the owners of one of Boston's most well-known eateries Leo’s Place Diner, claim to be the restaurant of Ben Affleck’s favorite burger, and the place he had his first date.
That’s right, another uncle telling you one of his stories of walking through 10 inches of snow to school every day, or the time they rescued a burning bus full of children, or something else bombastic. The difference is, this story is legit and there's proof!
Leo’s Place was established in 1949 right in the heart of Harvard Square and flourished as a go-to location within the community.
Immigrating from Beirut, the two brothers began to work for the original owner of the diner and came to acquire the restaurant for themselves several years later. As the new small business owners came to control of the establishment, they began to implement their own culture into the cuisine while managing to keep everything at its near original price point till this day.
As the brothers kept growing their business and continuing its initial success, the restaurant was forced to be closed nearly 32 years later into business due to a leasing issue. Following the small bump in their road, the brothers moved locations to the Downtown Waltham area, where they saw the same success as before.
Now back to Ben, which I imagine is the clickbait that got you to read this story in the first place.
Ben Affleck moved to Boston at a very young age and spent most of his adolescence and early adulthood there. In the year 2006, he went on about the times he spent at Leo’s as a child during an interview with Oprah where he mentioned all the must-see places in Boston. Now I may not believe my uncles 100% of the time, but if Oprah’s behind it, it’s real.
Ben’s favorite menu item here is their classic cheeseburger.
According to him ,this is the best burger you can get in the States, and that says a lot because there is an In-N-Out down the street from me and their cheeseburgers are amazing in my opinion. Ben also goes on to share how at home Raffie and Richie make him feel when he's there, which comes at no surprise as Leo’s is known for their community-based service and presence.
All sorts of people have eaten at Leo’s from Ben Affleck to Mark Zuckerberg. While diners like these seem to be ones that you only see on 90s television sitcoms like “Seinfeld” or “Friends”, Leo’s seems to be the perfect balance of great food and even better service.
Here are some menu items that really stuck out to us:
Pancakes with dried apricots and almonds, sprinkled with crushed pistachios on top? I’ll take ten please.
An Omelet with broccoli crowns, shiitake mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Not sure which part of this alludes to Malibu, but would love to see Richie and Raffi's argument about it.
Eggs overhard with smoked turkey and cheese.
A classic cheeseburger served with what you’d expect in there. Nothing too fancy, but if it’s good enough for Ben, it’s good enough for us.
It is heartwarming to hear Raffi and Richie's story: two brothers immigrating to the states all to run and own a successful diner in Boston seems like the typical American Dream.
We are happy to hear that no matter what obstacle has been thrown their way, they continued to push through it all and create a happy and delicious environment for whoever walks through their door. You don’t have to be Ben Affleck to feel at home here.