Looking to break up a drive to Boston with a chowish food stop. Here are my options. Any votes?
Shady Glen Manchester CT
The Shack EastLyme CT
Yankee Doodle Sandwich Shop NewHaven CT
Roadside Chili House of Brookfield Brookfield CT
Phillips Diner Woodbury CT
Neil's Donut & Bake Shop Yalesville CT
Louis Lunch NewHaven CT
Modern Apizza NewHaven CT
Letizia's Norwalk CT
Laurie's Muffin Korner Westbrook CT
Lake Zoar Drive-In Stevenson CT
Johnny Ad's OldSaybrook CT
JK's Danbury CT
Jerry's Pizza Middletown CT
Harry's Drive-In Colchester CT
Guida's Middlefield CT
Glenwood Drive-In Hamden CT
Driftwood Diner Darien CT
Doogie's Newington CT
Dexter's Dog House Wilton CT
Deep's Trellis Danbury CT
Danny's Drive-In Stratford CT
Colony Grill Stamford CT
Coffee An Westport CT
Clamp's Hamburger Stand NewMilford CT
Capital Lunch NewBritain CT
Botsford Drive-In Newtown CT
Blackie's Cheshire CT
Al's Hot Dog Stand Naugatuck CT
Ted's Restaurant Meriden CT
Shady Glen is a definite! I would try and hit the E. Middle Tpk store (instead of the W. Middle Tpk store which is closer to I-84).
I'm glad I went to Shady Glen but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Louie's Lunch and Modern are both worthy stops. Take a picture of that contraption they make the burgers on at Louie's, it's medieval looking. Ted's also is a worth a stop and I thought the Glenwood Drive In was really good. Didn't like the hot dogs at Capital Lunch. I've got a lot of these places on my list from a road trip I took 2 yeas ago from Boston to New Haven.
I find Shady Glen to be an interesting phenomenon. I've known it for a long time, having grown up in the area. As a kid I thought the crispy cheese was too strange for my tastes. As an adult I like it much better.
At the same time, I don't consider "going out for a burger" and "going to Shady Glen" to be the same thing. I go to Shady Glen for nostalgia and uniqueness. If I really want a good burger I'll go to Ted's Montana or something similar.
A recent trip to Guida's (my first, actually) was fairly tasty and economical. Service was less than stellar; I would expect quick turnaround with such simple fare, but getting the attention of the staff proved challenging. I'd be willing to give it another chance, however. The ice cream price/size ratio is quite good, considering the other "high end" alternatives that are cropping up all around.
I agree about the Shady Glen thing. It is not a mind blowing, must have burger.....it is a thinner patty. But the flavor combination with the crispy cheese is so great and totally unique, that I think it bears a "must stop" rating! I grew up on them (right in Manchester), I *could* be a bit biased. I also think their ice cream is great, although not like me favorite, Toscaninni's in Boston!
JK's Danbury CT - totally not overrated. My family moved to RI from Danbury 20 years ago - and I still must make the 4+ hour round trip at least twice a year to get my wiener fix. They're even good 2 hours old after being in the car on the way home. Note: they're not open on Sundays.
I never actually got food at Guida's, only their softserve - which sadly they stopped making several years back.
The Shack= decent coffee shop food, local color and grape-nut pudding (a regional specialty). Would you believe they serve American Chop Suey?!
Yankee Doodle= great counter. Good, basic coffee shop fare.
Modern Apizza= fabulous NH pizza
Louis Lunch= a bit o' history, but, IMO, overrated. Bring your own ketchup.
Muffin Korner= local color, basic breakfast, good muffins (ask for yours grilled)
Johnny Ad's= good clam rolls and foot longs, but I prefer Bill's Seafood in Westbrook (Bills= good fried seafood, fun atmosphere overlooking the water)
Blackies= 100% fabulous-you must try their relish! Closed Fridays
Modern Apizza was recently voted New Haven's best--can't go wrong there.
If you consider Johnny Ad's or The ClamShack, I think better fish places are Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale or the Westbrook Lobster House, both in Westbrook. Bill's often has live music in the evening. In the same town is Edd's Deli, with an outdoor gazebo overlooking an osprey nest.
If you are passing through in the morning, Laurie's does have good muffins.
Unless you value the history, I'd skip Louis' Lunch.
Yankee Doodle can be crowded at usual mealtimes if Yale is in session.