Ian McDonald told the world, "Family is what works." Fortunately for you, there are a number of outstanding eateries in town, where the families that own them are still working behind the counters, stocking boxes and in the kitchens. Here's a smattering; read about 'em, then call your folks.
111 Chelsea St., East Boston
I've only been twice, but a trip to this Eastie pizza joint feels like going to a family restaurant you've been frequenting since you were 7. The rumors are true: it's the best pizza in the world, and yes, you will need to wait (possibly outside) if you come during dinner hours on a weekend night.
Pemberton Farms & Garden Center
2225 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
If you're looking for that hard-to-find item or for something new you haven't heard of before, definitely check out Pemberton Farms. They have many unusual and interesting items among the familiar staples. They also carry many local items. They are locally-owned, family-owned since 1930!
Billy's Sub Shop
57 Berkeley St., Boston
The family that owns/runs the place is awesome and they're all super friendly. I could see being intimidated if I weren't a regular, because it can get busy and loud in there, but everyone is really nice. Now that I have visions of falafel balls dancing in my head, I think I know what I'm having for lunch.
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
429 Columbus Ave., Back Bay
Good Coffee. Good Food. Good people. We found this place on yelp and it just had fantastic reviews so we thought we'd give it a shot. Little did we know that it has been around for 87 years!!! It is run by siblings because their Dad started work here in 1927 at the age of 17. The place has an air of tradition and family that just takes you in. The coffee is perfect!! The breakfast is just homey and the siblings are so sweet! A hidden treasure! Heads up: Cash Only