PA to North Haven, CT - looking for dinner!
We're leaving philly around 6:00 on Friday and are heading to North Haven. Presuming we're on 95 north, where can you suggest for some killer chowder, or an excellent fish sandwich, or heck even a great burger and beer along the way. We probably won't want to stop until 8;30 or 9 if that makes a difference. And, sinceI hear a bit about some marvelous pizza in CT, I guess a pizza parlor wouldn't be too far out of the question....but me thinks seafod might be better (no BYO, though).
At the far end of your trip, actually just past the rte 91 turnoff to North Haven, there's Branford, CT, where you'll find Lenny's Indian Head (205 South Montowese Street (Route 146), Branford, Connecticut 06405, 203-488-1500).
That's where I used to go for lobsters and fried clams when I was a kid. It's a neat place on a salt marsh - very family oriented, lobster bibs, big plates of clams, kids running between the tables. I used to love it. I think my parents, who have returned to Connecticut after years away, said that the last lobsters they got at Lenny's weren't all that, but that the clams were still great. I can't 100% vouch for it because it's been a long time, but Holly of Hollyeats gives it a good write-up and he has yet to steer me wrong. Here's his page on Lenny's:
Actually, Holly recommends another place that's on your route that I've been dying to try. It's a donut place in Westport that he and Bill Clinton claim makes the nation's best. It's not relevant to your nighttime drive up but could figure in on the way home:
I wish I could offer more, but the clam shacks really start a bit farther north, like in Old Saybrook (Johnny Ad's). Of course there's pizza, but it sounds like that's not really your plan for this particular trip, right?
You might want to rethink your plans assuming you're leaving at 6:00pm from Philly through New York up I-95 in Ct. I doubt you'll even be in Ct by 9:00 and the decent but informal seafood places are mostly beyond New Haven. If you can leave earlier like noon, try for pizza at the Fairfield Pepe's or the original in New Haven or Modern Pizza also in New Haven.
yeah, I keep telling The Driver that we're not gonna make dinner near New Haven by 9;30 - or even 10:00. I am just trying my best to avoid the Houlihan's in the hotel when we arrive (well) after 10:30....
having said that, is there anything near Stamford or Darien or Norwalk or Fairfield (i see you mention pepe's - is it just a tiny pizza place or does it have seating...beer)? we might have a better chance of making either of those towns by 9 or 9:30.
We drive from Conshohocken to Connecticut ALL the time (although we are usually ending up more in the Hartford area). I know that without a huge amount of traffic, you can make it as far as the R.I. border in 4 hours taking I95. I haven't been there myself but Danbury is a chowhound find according to Jim Leff who wrote this piece a while back. Danbury may be a bit off your route, but for the hell of it...
I read on this board that the Goulash Lady passed away, but you would think these other places would exist.
I think you could get to Danbury in about 3 hours (if you luck out traffic-wise).
A couple of options:
Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT (about 3 or 4 blocks from Route 95) has some of the best hot dogs in New England. They have a few seats inside the place, but it's all about the hot dog here. Great fries, too!
Pepe's in New Haven (about 1 minute from Route 91 and 3 minutes from Route 95) indeed has seating. There are two Pepe's--we have been to the original, which has a handful of tables. I don't remember them having beer there, but I may have been too overwhelmed by the incredible pizza to even notice.
If you don't mind a slight diversion, you owe it to yourself to eat at Roseland Apizza in Derby, CT, which isn't *that* far off the beaten track, and well worth it for the food.
The pizza there, one of CT's best, has a very thin, cracker-like crust, and there are lots of interesting toppings available. Their shrimp oregonata is superb, e.g.
But the rest of the food is also tremendous. The arugula salad, with gently sauteed mushrooms, a bit of grated parmesan, and a light, simple dressing, is simply one of the best salads I've ever eaten.
Their baked penne with lobster sauce is extraordinary and truly memorable.
If you do make it to New Haven, both Pepe's and Modern Apizza are meccas for pizza lovers (as is Sally's, but I haven't been there in years), and Pepe's is quite close to both 95 and 91.
There is beer and wine available at all these places.