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need a spot on I-84 in CT for lunch

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we do alot of traveling through I-84 from NJ to MA or ME and need a spot for lunch. There's a long stretch of highway on I-84 above Waterbury, or the Darien area. Does anyone have any suggestions for a nice place to stop for a quick lunch? Doesn't have to be fancy, just a good place for homemade soups, sandwiches, etc. Thank you!

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  1. Depend on your entire route... if you're heading further, then Dave's Place in East Windsor a mile off the highway on rt 140. It's a real family run place, with Dave in the kitchen, and soup/sandwiches/hot plates that are worth the minor detour. I go there when I need to be at Suffield Acadamy,and at least for breakfast or lunch it has been great.

    Link: http://www.davesgreatfood.com

    5 Replies
    1. re: 1K diner

      If you want to stop right after Danbury, there is a good place off exit 9 in Newtown called Hot Shots. Get off the exit and make a right, at the light make another right and it is right there, couldn't be easier and the food is good...kind of a sports bar but they have changed the menu and have made it more family friendly after the smoking laws changed...we bring the kids there when my husband is in the mood for wings, and I usually get a really good soup and salad...There is also the diner right off exit 10, some people love it and some don't..

      1. re: 1K diner

        Dave's Place is off I-91, not I-84. It's about 10 miles north of I-84.

        1. re: Chris

          Chris-I realize the location. I was only suggesting to luv2eat if their path eventually was taking them from I-84 into Mass or into VT/NH, then this could be on their way

          1. re: Chris

            Chris... I realize from my past posting that you recommended Dave's Place to me in the first place... for a family run restaurant it was worth the detour!

            1. re: 1K diner

              Glad you enjoyed it.

        2. There's always Maggie McFlys. There is one in Southbury, right off Exit 14, and there is one in Middlebury off Exit 17. They have a website, although I am not sure of the address, if you want to check out their menu or get directions.

          1. Well, for some reason Rein's NY Deli gets disparaged in this forum (usually because it is "not up to New York standards," although I'd venture to guess a lot of people are remembering NY Standards of a bygone era), but we love it. It's off exit 65 of I84 in Vernon. Excellent blintzes, chopped herring, smoked salmon, rye bread (that's been disparaged here too, but pay no heed!), pickles, and more. I can't testify for their meat products, since I don't eat the stuff.

            It's open at least until midnight. Always crowded. Much better than your standard interstate fare, and fun.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Dan S

              You'd be better off at McDonald's.

              1. re: JRL

                Here's a case in point for you. I hope not everybody is discouraged by unqualified (and ludicrous) hyperbole like this. Go and decide for yourself.

                1. re: Dan S.

                  Don't know about you, but I'm one of those New Yorkers who knows what deli is supposed to taste like and Rein's "Deli" doesn't come close. And, FYI - blintzes, smoked salmon and chopped herring are not actually considered deli.
                  Beyond that, Rein's doesn't even make decent soup.

                  1. re: JRL

                    Well, I'm one of those New Yorkers who doesn't give a damn what deli is "supposed to taste like." I miss Zabars and Russ & Daughter, not Katz's. (Of course, you CAN get blintzes and those other items at any of the big time NY delis but who cares). Just because Rein's may not meet your definition of what an NY deli is, doesn't mean it's MacDonald's. I can't vouch for their soup, but they have a bunch of excellent food, and they do take care in preparing it (and if I'm not surrounded by six-inch high pastrami sandwiches, so much the better).

                    1. re: Dan S.

                      Sorry to stick my two cents in . . . Reins in a word . . . "feh!" As to delis, there was a time when an appetizing store was an appetizing store and a deli a deli. The distinction has unfotunately gotten blurred over the years . . . you couldn't get a blintz in a deli and you couldn't get pastrami in an appetizing store. Would it were still that way.

                      1. re: Dan S.

                        Nobody gave them the name - Rein's chooses to call itself NY style, thereby suggesting a particular standard. The fact that they fail to meet that standard is what prompts the divergent chowhound views.

                        The big time NY delis weren't always the standard; they're only what's left - I miss the small neighborhood delis (and every neighborhood had one and they didn't sell any dairy products because most of them were kosher) that all had great corned beef and pastrami. Zabar's is not a deli - it is a universe unto itself which started out as an appetizing store - a place to buy smoked fish. Every neighborhood had one of those, too. The quality at the one in my neighborhood was on a par with Zabar's. Now, Zabar's and a few others are all that's left.

                        All of that notwithstanding, nothing I have ever eaten at Rein's has been good. I happen to agree with you about 6 inch pastrami sandwiches, but the food - whether deli-ish or ordinary American, is just plain bad. And, BTW, so is the service. The only thing Rein's has going for it is location.

                        1. re: JRL

                          Well, let's agree to disagree then!

                2. re: Dan S

                  Rein's in fantastic! Great breakfast. Also Mitchell's in Vernon is suppose to have great breakfast food and it is not that far off 84 heading towards Boston. I believe it is Exit 67 or 68???

                  1. re: tammiteacher

                    Agree about Rein's...the best of what you can get in No. Central CT. And where else do they sell Carnegie deli cheesecake? And their rugellach is to die for.

                3. I think that you want a place that serves simple food so you may enjoy The Traveller Restaurant (and bookstore where you can pick out and take home a free book!) just off I-84 in the Union, CT area almost to the Mass. Pike. There is always the Cracker Barrel Restaurant on Route 20 east just prior to the pike. I would not suggest Maggie McFlys as another posted did as they don't serve the kind of food you are looking for.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Lily

                    I beg to differ about Maggie McFly's not having soups, sandwiches, etc. Maggie's has such a large menu, and there are soups and sandwiches (at least one whole page of them)plus pizzas, burgers, salads (again at least five choices), and entrees. It pretty much has something for everyone.

                    1. re: Becky

                      I didn't mean to suggest that Maggie's doesn't serve soup, burgers, etc. but they wanted a place for a quick meal (above the Waterbury area which Maggie's isn't). I have eaten at Maggie's several times and have always had to wait a long time before being seated and have always found it to be very noisy and busy. Also, I'm not sure if it is open at lunchtime either. Someone can (and I'm sure they will) correct me if I'm wrong about this. Maggie's is a great place to eat if you are into the hectic bar scene type of restaurant...not for a quick bite to eat.

                      1. re: Lily


                        You are correct both in that Maggie's is not above Waterbury (although the Middlebury is not so far from Waterbury as not to suggest it as an option) and can be not too quick at dinner time. Despite this, I drive past there at least three times per week at lunch time, and it is never crowded. I imagine lunch service would be more prompt, and with such a far reaching menu, it seems worth suggesting, even though it doesn't meet all the parameters. Plus, I don't think of it at all as a bar scene type restaurant. At least as far as the Southbury one goes, we go there with our pre-schooler, and it always seems to be families dining more so than a big bar scene. Just my opinion.

                        1. re: Becky

                          Gotta agree on the negatives on Maggie McFly's.
                          It is a trendy 20 something pickup bar that happens to serve food.
                          While the bar action is not going on at lunch and it is possible to get seated, the trend factor is still high and menu strikes me as rather typical.
                          The wife and I call it Maggie McBeautifulPeoples'.
                          My suggestion: pass.

                    2. re: Lily

                      We've always called it Food and Book. Man, I love their rice pudding! I haven't been there in years. I'll have to swing through next time I'm in the Sturbridge/84 area.

                    3. If you're into Jamaican food, consider a stop at Rufus' BBQ & Jerk in East Hartford. Exit 58 Eastbound (marked as Silver Lane). Hard right off the exit, it's at 285 Silver Lane, probably a little less than a half mile down.It's a small place on your left, almost directly across the street from a boarded-up Pizza Hut or similar-looking place. They have BBQ, Jerk Chicken or Pork, Oxtail Stew, Snapper and at lunch, even Jerkburger, also Caribbean-style soda - Pineapple, Ginger Beer etc.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Des in WMA

                        take exit 44 off I-84 onto Prospect Avenue which is the dividing line between Hartford and West Hartford. Head north 1/4 mi. and turn right onto Park St., 3 buildings down on the right is Lena's Pizza. You can choose between waitress or cafeteria style. They have great soups, huge salads, and slices of pizza including their rightfully famous stuffed pizza.
                        My wife and I love to split an antipasto and a meatball calzone. If you want a sandwich or burger turn left on Park and look for Effies's Place on your left.

                        1. re: Des in WMA

                          Hmmm. I've driven by that place a few times and wondered if it's good. I may have to get a bunch of jerk chicken to go one of these nights.

                        2. I-84 at exit 15(Southbury) coming from Danbury go left at bottom, left at 2nd light(Stop & Shop Plaza is on your right) look for 88 Main St South across from Mobil gas station. Rathskeller is around back of the building and the food is great! I am quite sure they are closed Sunday but open the rest of the week.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Jowens

                            Now we're talking.
                            Rathskeller is a great mix of upscale and homey.
                            The staff is very personable, especially the owners.
                            The menu is ecclectic, accessible, and affordable.
                            My two favorites there are vegetarian dishes, and I'm a carnivore.
                            * the crispy polenta with red sauce, mozzerella, and braised spinach.
                            * the humus pita.
                            The wife and I go once every couple of weeks.

                          2. If anyone finds themselves between Danbury and Waterbury on I-84, they should get off on Exit 16 and check out Patty's Pantry in Southbury. (it's right on the right if you get off the westbound exit, or make a left if you were heading eastbound.)

                            Very nice fried chicken is available there for take-out, or eating at the picnic tables. The fries are good, if you like thick-cut mooshy fries. They take a LOT of salt.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Alcachofa

                              If I'd seen all this energy about Reins earlier I would have jumped in...

                              Reins has some great stuff...tell them how you want something and they will make it...bread is always good and they slice the meat very thin...if it was bad...no one would eat there..

                              If you are driving towards Providence...take Rt 384 off of 84...towards Uconn...get off exit three...there are two good spots...

                              1. Take the exit back over the highway and go straight up Main St...about 1/2 mile to Oak...turn right...little place on the left called Sinnamon Shop...great lunch and breakfast...the chef...Joe worked at Cavey's back in the golden days...great comfort food.

                              2. Take the exit up to the light...turn left onto Rt 83...go about 200yrds to Mulberry St. Pizza...Only take out but great grinders, wings are huge, salads and thin pizza...worth the detour.

                              1. re: sodagirl

                                I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with your contention of "if it was bad, no one would eat there". There are SO MANY mediocre establishments that do a whopping business, because the average Joe either a) doesn't know the difference or b) doesn't care. Look at all the chain restaurants that are routinely packed!

                                Reins does a decent deli sandwich, and that is it IMHO. The Vernon Diner, next door, does a much better job with breakfast and other diner fare.

                                1. re: Science Chick

                                  It goes to show you how we each have different tastes. I personally do not like The Vernon Diner. Every time I've eaten breakfast there, my toast has arrived practically charred. I think that the Vernon Diner's menu is so, so huge, that they don't excel at much of anything.

                                  Rein's is okay for a deli sandwich or their Mushroom Barley Soup (which is very good)

                                  Because of a major lack of good restaurants in the Vernon, CT area, these two places are always crowded. (I know, because I live in Vernon)


                            2. Just passed through there today, and as we have often done before, stopped at the General Store in Newtown (get off I-84 at exit 10 and turn right when you reach the main drag--it is on the south side of the street). They have deli type stuff and good made to order sandwiches in bewildering variety. There are two tables outside, but we usually go to one of the parks in nearby towns--today we tried the Middlebury town park on Rt. 188 near Rt. 64.

                              1. Maple's in Middlebury is a good bet. The pizza is no good. Other than that it's basically diner fare, with higher quality food and much better service than most area diners.
                                If you don't mind a short drive off the highway, and hardening your arteries, Lake Zoar Drive In in Monroe is great. It's best known for hamburgers, but the menu is extensive. Everything from cole slaw to soup to Texas red hot sauce is made fresh on the premises, deli meats are sliced fresh, and Mike (the robust, bespectacled gentleman at the grill) could possibly be the nicest food service establishment owner in the world. It's a few miles off exit 11 (Route 34 in Newtown); take a right off the ramp towards Route 34, take a right onto 34 after maybe a hundred feet, and drive a few miles until you see Lake Zoar Drive In on the left. You know you're really close when you get see Route 111 in Monroe on your right, and you know you've gone just a little too far if you get to the Stevenson Dam.
                                As for Rein's, Sodagirl is spot on. I'll just add that while it maybe not be up to par for NY, it's in the middle fo CT. The only better deli I've found in the state is Katz's in New Haven, which is nowhere near 84.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                  I was in NYC two weeks ago at Carnegie Deli ...watched this out of towner order a full pastrami...probably still eating it...so yea...Rein's isn;t Carnegie...but I do stop in and geta a fried egg, cheese and bacon on a hard rollon early trips to Boston...wrapped in foil...it steams itself ,,,pretty tasty...

                                  Science Chick...I stopped thinking long ago that Chow was full of people that have a real knowledge of food...some do and some don;t...the recommendations for Outback and TGIF speak volumes...but then again...every once in a while a gem will come up...and consider that Manchester itself has some pretty good spots for Pizza, French and Italian and Crispy Cheese...makes you realize we're all on this for the same reason...

                                  1. re: sodagirl

                                    I think you misread me.......I think Rein's is really great for a hearty NY style deli sandwich...and their half sours are one of my favorites (I usually eat the whole bowl!). But the other offerings miss terribly in my book. I grew up in Manchester right near the Vernon line and they were quite good 20 years ago. However, in the past 5 years or so my entire family has had some very disappointing breakfasts there. We've all just stopped going, especially since there are better places around.

                                    Regarding whether Chow is full of knowledgeable folks....I tend to think that it is, by and large. However, I've usually found, and I think most agree, that the economic success of a restaurant is often not an indicator of the food quality. If it were, we'd all be eating some pretty darn bad food ;)

                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                      While a number of you are arguing about these two places in Vernon, how about adding comments on Little Mark's Big Barbeque, not far away? I've heard it's good...
                                      Oops! I see this is a sorta stale thread, revitalized.... but still I'll ask...

                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        I LOVE Little Mark's. I haven't been in a few years (our friends moved from Vernon and we moved from Rocky Hill), but I love their BBQ brisket sandwich...and their milkshakes...and their mashed potatoes. I really need to get back up there. We used to buy bottles of their BBQ sauce to take home, it was so good.

                                        P.S. The Lotus in Vernon is also good--Vietnamese. Though I love my own hometown Vietnamese joint (Pho Mai in Middletown), Lotus is a nice restaurant (vs. a mom and pop joint/hole-in-the-wall, which Pho Mai is).

                                        Little Mark's Big Barbeque
                                        226 Talcottville Rd, Vernon Rockville, CT 06066

                                      2. re: Science Chick

                                        Why not the Vernon Dinner just past Rein's. stopped going to Rein's years ago. Vernon, CT (just east of Hartford) is a good place to stop since it is about 2 hours from Boston.

                                    2. re: danieljdwyer

                                      Lake Zoar Drive-In is the "Home of the Zoar Burger" and now has 24 Flavors of Soft Serve Ice Cream along with the Best Burgers and Hotdogs.........

                                    3. We usually stop at Blue Colony Diner just off Exit 10 in Newtown when we're going that way. Love that place. Nothing fancy or innovative, just really solid and well-made diner food. We have three little kids and it's totally a something for everyone kind of place but I'd stop there sans kids, too.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jsd

                                        I agree with the Blue Colony Diner recommendation above. It's easy off, easy on from I-84. And incredible baked goods, to die for! huge cookies, esp. black and whites, turnovers, etc, for small prices.

                                      2. . Dont forget the fabled Shady Glen in Manchester CT-Rte. 44-Look for it in Roadfood

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chaz

                                          ohhhhh their crispy cheese!!! soooo good! :-)

                                        2. Darien is off I 95- not I 84. If you want to eat in Fairfield County you can detour off I 84 into Ridgefield, CT and stop in town for lunch. We like the Anchient Mariner (not expensive) or the casual side of the Elms (a little more pricy, but nice). It's embarassing to admit, but I would drive there just to eat a hot dog from the hot dog guy on the street across from the park- definitely the best (and most expensive) in CT- let the kids play in the park for a break.

                                          1. I'm throwing a big thumb's up at Anatolia in Waterbury. This place is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I have not had one thing on the menu that I did not like. The food is prepared with a balance of both restaurant quality and home-cooked simplicity. It is one of the few places I've eaten where when you leave you know you've eaten well. The bread, the kebabs, the desserts, all home runs.

                                            Some of my favorites there: Donar Kebab, Adana Kebab, Manti (pasta), the complimentary fresh bread, Hayadari (dill & yogurt dip), and the fried milk pudding dessert (I forget the name).

                                            Reasonably priced and right on the I84W Exit 25 Entrance access road.

                                            For those of you who've never had Turkish, it's basically grilled meats and vegetables with light spice.

                                            1. Belated thanks, luv2eat, I've been at a loss on this oft traveled route.(albeit the opposite direction.) We often hit George's Coney Island Dogs in Worcester, as we knew on place on 84. Or we waited for a Greek place on Main St in Mr Kisco NY.

                                              1. This Southbury gourmet cheese shop recently started serving lunch. The grilled cheese special is awesome..your choice of five cheeses on an assortment of breads plus a 1/2 specialty salad is $9..the cranberry bread with gouda is to die for...