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Is this even possible....?

Hey there,
Driving Tuesday night from New York City to Concord, NH. We'd love to stop along the way and eat as we'll be pulling into Concord at about midnight when it's not exactly hopping. Any places close to the interstate (95, 91 84, Mass Pike) that might be open at 9 or so that would be fun and quick to eat at? We like all cuisines and would love to avoid chains if possible.

Thanks in advance for your help and please let me know if you ever need NYC Chow Advice!


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  1. Rein's Deli is a good choice about half way between NYC and NH.
    It's open til midnight, located on 84 at exit 64-65. It's not Katz's, but they have Cel-Ray soda!


    1. Tapas in West hartford, is easy off 84 and is great, reasonably priced and is always interesting, it is on New Britain Ave, about a mile from the highway...

      9 Replies
      1. re: gardencub

        Reins Deli is horrible! Skip it and hit the Vernon Diner, in Vernon CT. (near Rein's but better). The Vernon Diner is open 24/7

        1. re: hotsauceathlete

          What specifically makes Rein's horrible for you?

          1. re: hotsauceathlete

            Rein's is most certainly NOT "horrible." I can see it not being to everyone's taste, for sure, but I've eaten there five times and each time, the food was great. Reubens, chopped liver, cheesecake, all very good. Service is FAST, and prices are decent.

            I agree with the post below - what do you consider "horrible"? That's quite an accusation without any reason to back it up.

            1. re: hotsauceathlete

              Actually, Rein's is not horrible. I've been eating there and at their previous locations for thirty years. It isn't NYC-deli great, but the prices are not NYC-deli either. While everything isn't to my taste, there are enough choices that I always have a difficult time deciding. My 85 year old mother, who is a very picky eater and a great cook herself, picks either Reins or Shady Glen when I take her out for lunch.
              By the way, I think Vernon Diner is horrible. Everything takes like it sat on a cafeteria steam table; however, it must be to the taste of many others, because it, like Reins, is always busy and full of locals as well as travelers.

              1. re: IreneC

                Rein's is horrible and I believe that your "thirty years" of eating there have made you too biased to admit it. The difference between Rein's and the Vernon is that the Vernon has amazing COOKED food. Rein's is nothing but the NY Deli style charade of making SANDWICHES. NY style Delis are consistantly overrated on Chowhound and I think its time that we call that out.

                The Vernon has excellent Chicken Pot Pie, lasange etc... oh and have you tried their cookies???

                1. re: hotsauceathlete

                  this officially confirmes the death of your tongue :-)

                  last time i checked, potato pancakes required cooking.. and boy to they do those up right @ rein's. also, there is a certain art to the ny style deli sandwich, whether or not heat is involved.

                  sure, if i want hot food, i'd probably skip rein's.. but aren't you ever in the mood for a sandwich?

                  ps: l-a-s-a-g-n-a

                  seeya over there,


                  1. re: hotsauceathlete

                    My opinions are as valid as yours. Civilized people may disagree
                    on opinions but to characterize someone's opinions as "bias" is judgmental and does nothing to further discusion.

                    1. re: IreneC

                      OUCH! I ate at Rein's this past Thanksgiving and while I LOVE a good New York style deli, this ain't it! The pickles are not so much half-sour as half-edible. The corned beef may have been piled relatively high (who needs it?) but it wasn't any good. Our soup was lame as well.

                      I'd rate it a 1 and a half star cafeteria.

                      Somebody also peed all over the bathroom. Didn't help matters much.

                      We won't have a chance to find out again as next time we're going to keep on driving!

                    2. re: hotsauceathlete

                      You may believe that NYC delis are overrated, but, for someone like myself who CRAVES NYC-style deli from time to time and can't find it within 35-40 miles of home, a great hot pastrami sandwich can be as enjoyable as (or maybe even more than) a filet from the finest steak place when it's available. I've been to Rein's twice en route from Maine to PA, and have been quite happy with the food there. It is what it is -- a NYC style deli with most of the offerings you'd expect -- and, IMHO, better than most outside the NYC area.

              2. Just off exits 12, 13 in Framingham, Chef Orient for Chinese. The teppanyaki is good but not quick, also Firefly's for BBQ.

                1. I'd suggest Zorba's in Charlton MA. Easy to get to, since you could get off 84 onto 20, then follow 20 to the Pike in Auburn, or circle back and pick it up.

                  They serve good Italian and Greek cuisine, including pizza, sandwiches and pasta.

                  Further east, John Harvard's brewpub in Framingham is close to the Pike near the exit for route 30. Good food and beer made on premises.

                  I do also recommend Rein's deli as mentioned above.

                  1. Tuscan Oven in Norwalk CT (off 95)
                    If you go up 87 instead, Beso in New Paltz (chef formerly at Jean George etc)
                    Oga in Natick MA (off Mass Pike)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: barleywino

                      Can you tell me about Oga? My parents live in Natick and I'm always looking for edible food around there.

                    2. We used to do a Boston-area to North Jersey drive regularly, and had a very nice meal at what I think was Lotus in Vernon, CT, off 84, just north of the Buckland Hills mall (just north of Hartford). (I'm remembering Thai.) We also stopped a few times at the diner around exit 10 on 84. Lots of signs for that one.

                      (By the way, I did a search for Lotus and Vernon here on the chowhound site, and got a few old threads for eats between New England and NYC -- looks like you can search for Rein's and get them all, too ;-)

                      1. this is easy. for delicious food open at 9 pm, you can choose Colony Grill Stamford (serve delicious pizzas until 11pm), Pepe's Fairfield (open until 10), Pepe's, Modern, and Sally's in New Haven (not far off the highway though a bit of a detour into new haven), Rein's (serviceable, though decidedly not about the jewish food- eat a turkey club at Rein's and you'll be fine- the pastrami is awful, lox is not terrible). if you can make it to norwalk before 8 you can get a great pie at Letizia's on Rt. 7- easy on off the merrit/95 too. and on the weekends, if i remember correctly, Louis Lunch stays open super late, much later than you'd expect, and you can get arguably the original "hamburger"- delicious burger grilled vertically with velveeta on toast with tomato, no ketchup allowed, i think grilled onion too if you order it at the beginning). But fairfield Pepe's is about the easiest of all of these places and definitely open until 10 and later on weekends, only about an hour north of NYC. enjoy fb

                        1. I love Rein's, but it might not be a New Yorkers "go to" place. Really good for CT, though. You might try Little Mark's Big Barbeque near Rein's (google will get you there). It is really good barbeque (IMHO), and certainly meets your "no chain" criteria. I think they stop serving at 9, though, so that might be a problem for you.

                          1. Rein's is what it is - not Katz's, but perfectly good for what and where it is. And they have plenty of hot meals, including stuffed cabbage and brisket in gravy. I'd like to see you get a nice home-made beef knish or kasha varnishkes at the Vernon Diner. The pickles are fine - the half-sours are ok, but the full sours are really good. I get a bucket of each one to bring home, and when the full sours are all gone I dump the remaining half-sours in the full sour brine - in a day or two, voila - more full sour pickles!

                            I'm sure the OP has long since taken the drive, but I might have wanted to get further on down the road than Hartford/Vernon before my dinner stop - that's only a couple of hours out of NYC. Next time, consider the Lowell, MA area. If you're hopping onto Rt 3, get off at exit 32, Drum Hill Rd., and go to Pho88 for anything from a light snack (spring rolls) to a hot, filling bowl of Pho. At the same exit, but one street further on (Rt 4, then turn right onto Princeton) there's a decent pub & grill called the Glenview that has decent steaks. Other places aren't so easy (on/off the highway), but Lowell is full of great places to eat.