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May 23, 2007 09:44 AM

BBQ in Middle or Southwest CT

I'll be driving to Harford to work tomorrow afternoon, and I like to wander around on my way back since I don't get to CT much (live in Queens). Since I live in an area known for all the Asian and Latin ethnic cuisines and we eat Italian at home a lot, I think I'm in the mood for BBQ. I have read about some places from the past, but I'd like to get current suggestions. I can take different routes home, depending on where I decide to go for supper. I'm not sure how late I'll be working so it can't be a lunch-only place. Atmosphere is not important.

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  1. I like Carls BBQ 285 Silver Lane East Hartford. I'm not too big on BBQ ribs in general I usually order Carl's West Indian fare, but my friend enjoys their ribs. It has been a while since I've been there, I don't know if anybody else can give an update.

    Hartford, like many CT cities, has a large Brazilian population so you have a few churrascaria options. One would be Brazil Grill on Park Street.

    I have heard good things about Uncle Willies in Waterbury, but I have never been there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JohnnyCT

      I ended up going to Uncle Willie's and really enjoyed it. It was not low-fat food, but it was tasty and friendly, the kind of place you can lick your fingers and burp and no one cares. My choice was dictated by how long my job took, the traffic, and my hunger pains. Since both I-84 and the small roads were clogged with traffic for no reason that I could make out, I entered Waterbury. It's not easy finding Uncle Willie's. It's a double-wide storefront in a strip mall on Chase Street, which is the continuation of Huntingdon and Homer off Route 8.

      I stuffed myself with St. Louis ribs (smoky and cooked just enough - very easy to eat) and sides of collards (with lots of flavorful, fatty meat, not sure what kind) and real mashed potatoes with gravy on the side. The woman at the counter steered me right on the recommendations. They also have a dessert case, which is very enticing. I chose a coconut-pineapple cake, and it hit the spot. I rolled out of the place after licking my fingers and washing down all exposed parts of my body, and enjoyed the warmth of the food and the staff as I listened to blues along Route 7 into the early evening. It really improved my afternoon. Next time I'll try the pulled pork and red velvet cake.

      1. re: JH Jill

        Thank you for the info on Willie's. Waterbury is a small city but it is very diverse. If you find yourself passing through Waterbury again check out this thread as a reference:

        1. re: JohnnyCT

          Thanks, Johnny. I have to remember about the New England board when I stray so far from the City. I did notice Latin places around there, but I live in Jackson Heights, Queens and have a number of Ecuadorian, Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian, Uruguayan, and Thai places within about 4 blocks of my house. We aren't far from the rest of Asia or the Mediterranean and Brazilian communities in Astoria or Filippino and Irish in Woodside. (I also get home cooking from present or recent Argentinian, Indian and Ghanaian housemates.) That's why I wanted something more American.

          It's strange but, throughout Connecticut, the radio kept stopping on country music - something that's hard to come by in the City. I can see that Connecticut is quite complex. I also checked out a place called Mo's Midtown (25 Whitney Street in Hartford) for brunch. It's run by Poles and has interesting omelets and good chunky homefries. I wasn't as totally crazy about the Cajun omelet filling as some people, but it was a nice omelet. I splurged on 1 blueberry pancake to top it off. Their pancakes are made with cinnamon or something that makes them smell wonderful. I thought it needed a pinch of salt or something, but they are far better than most pancakes around. I saw them mixing up potato pancakes in the kitchen.... next time. It was a pleasant surprise to find in an out-of-the-way strip mall.

    2. Some suggestions:
      - Wilson's in Fairfield (exit 21 off I-95) - counter service, BBQ only.
      - Bobby Q's in Westport (exit 18 off I-95) - table service, BBQ + wide menu.
      - The Cookhouse in Darien (exit 13 off I-95) - table service, BBQ + wide menu.
      - Q in Port Chester (exit 2 off I-95 in CT) - counter service, BBQ only.
      All four are good, though I don't think any of the four are a match for NYC's finest.
      For details and photos, see

      3 Replies
      1. re: GaryLovesFood

        anybody been to smokey joe's (previously known as buster's) in stamford?

        1. re: cervisiam

          I went a while ago and was very, very unimpressed. the pulled pork sandwich lacked any actual smoke flavor, from what I recall. But it's been 3+ years now and I really should go back to see if its still poor.

          But with Q in port chester only 10 minutes down the road (which has great bbq), I just can't find the motivation to risk a mediocre BBQ meal at Smokey Joe's.

          1. re: cervisiam

            smokey joe's is ok. went twice last summer and was not disappointed. the pulled pork was properly smoked but benefited from several shots of sauce.