Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >
Jun 26, 2007 09:14 PM

CT must eats

Chicago chowhound visiting CT in mid July. Will be driving from NYC, staying in Hartford for a couple of days and in the Mystic area.

What are some must eats?
Lobster roll?
New Haven Pizza?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know much about New Haven pizza or lobster rolls, but for some great thin crust pizza in Stamford, stop at the Colony Grill and have a pepperoni or sausage pizza with hot oil baked into the crust. You should also stop at Duchess if you see one--it's a statewide Connecticut chain, and a longstanding institution. It's famous for its hot dogs and hamburgers.

    Also, if you stop at exit 14 in Norwalk, you can visit Swanky Frank's. It's also an institution, and serves great fried hot dogs with crispy casings. Have it with sauerkraut and mustard, and the fresh cut fries.

    7 Replies
    1. re: brattpowered

      Man.... how I miss my Duchess dogs!!! Busta, it's worth a stop on your way through -- easiest one to get to off I-95 is in Darien, exit 13 and head south on US 1 about a mile, it's on the left. Enjoy one for me ---

      1. re: ChowPupATL

        actually, the closest would be off exit 40 from I-95 northbound.. the duchess is right at the end of the exit ramp!!

        1. re: goodbyeohio

          And then you can stay at the Mayflower Truck Stop, and when you wake up, you can eat at the Mayflower Diner. That's one thing that Connecticut still has that is sadly disappearing elsewhere: authentic, old-school diners. There are a few in Milford alone that are perfect (Bridgeport Flyer, Kimberly, Mayflower). Nothing like them in Iowa, where I live now. (And you can also go to the new Penthouse Superstore, also off exit 40... if you want to lose your appetite. It's pretty lowbrow, to say the least.)

      2. re: brattpowered

        jffod likes Hot Diggety Dawg off Exit 24 in Fairfield, but if teh OP is going Hartford - Mystic this is a little out of the way.

        1. re: jfood

          Its NYC to Hartford to/fro Mystic per the original post.

          1. re: Jestner

            Oops, missed that Rand McNally moment.

            Then hot diggety is smack dab in the cross-hairs between NYC and Hartford if i-95 is the route of choice..

            Then on the way from H to Mystic there is a clam place in Clinton (think its called clam shack) probably around exit 63'ish on Route 1 (also called Boston Post Road) that has pretty good whole bellies.

          2. re: jfood

            bad day man. this is not hot diggety dawg but Super Duper Wienie

        2. If you search the board you will find a lot of recent posts about both Mystic/Lobster rolls and New Haven pizza...everyone has an opinion...a little more info as far as $$ and type of food will help on the Hartford restaurants... are you staying in Htfd or a suburb?... traveling alone or with family etc...

          3 Replies
          1. re: LenaNE

            Just really looking for eats that are unique to CT. Things that a visitor has to have. Visitors to Chicago must have deep dish pizza, hotdog, italian beef sandwich, jibarito, Harold's. I will be traveling with the family, but they share in my quest for good food. We haven't finalized our plans, but we are willing to let the food be our destination.


            1. re: busta312

              As posted below: Hot Dogs, Steamed Cheeseburger, Whole Bellied Fried Clams, Lobster Roll (if inclined), Pizza

              1. re: busta312

                as for unique to CT... follow the other in New Haven, clam/lobster shacks along the shore line...Hartford is like any other city as far as restaurants...a mix of upscale/casual/outdoor/any type of "ethnic" food...but you can most likely get something like it in Chicago.. Franklin Giant Grinder is a Hartford institution... but maybe not unique...
                Wethersfield/Franklin Aves..Italian/Spanish/Brazilian/Indian
                Farmington Ave...Jamaican/Mexican/Japanese/Coffee houses/Brazilian
                Downtown...Max's...upscale American/Tumbull Kitchen....upscale loud world influenced/Peppercorns...excelllent Italian/ bar and Paninni etc../Tapas on Ann..Meditteranean/Hot Tomatoes...casual Italian/Sally's Fish Camp..seafood/Blacked Eyed Sallys...BBQ/City Steam Brewery...brewery food/Joe Blacks..Irish....and many more...

            2. Here are some ideas.

              Blackies, or any number of cool hot dog joints in the state. Blackies has great hot relish for their dogs. Located on Waterbury/Cheshire line off 84

              Ted's for Steamed Cheeseburgers located in Meriden

              New Haven Pizza - whether you goto Modern, Sallys or Pepe's is up to you...

              Costellos ( for whole bellied clams
              Abbotts ( for lobster eats.
              These places are in Noank, roughly next to each other. (Off 95 in the Mystic area


              I've tried to simplify and think of things roughly on your route. If you are more interested, in say, whole bellied clam dinners - post a topic for just that and you will get a ton of more specific reviews, etc. Just trying to keep this high-level.

              1. Pizza: Sally's, Modern, Pepes - all in New Haven. In Branford, Marcos or Born in America.
                Lobster Rolls: Dockside or D'Angelo's in Branford. Lenny and Joe's Fishtale in Madison. In Old Saybrook, Jenns Jetty or Bill's Seafood There are many others but these are the ones Ive tried. I wouldn't recommend Lennys in Branford (Indian Neck area) since last time we were there one of us ordered shrimp and they were obviously prepackaged frozen - not fresh at all.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Shoreliner

                  For pizza, Sally's, Modern, Pepe's in New Haven all good, but so is Bar. Born in America, in Branford just changed hands not too long ago but have had good results, the young couple are relatives of Mario, from Mario's down accross from the train station in Westport. For sea food, Bill's Sea Food in Westbrook definately worth a stop, have the large lobster roll or one of their specials. If you want a VIEW and just o.k. food visit the outside bar at the Waters Edge Inn and Spa also in Westbrook, but it is all VIEW, just bring $$. Lenny's in Branford is cash only (they do have an ATM) and gets the nod for steamers, lobster and a surprisingly decent cheap burger on an english muffin. Skip the Dockside in Branford, sorry. Noah's in Stonington for good regional food-some dishes with a Portugese flair which is (or should be) the local influance in the Mystic-Stonington area. Can not go wrong with Kitchen Little for breakfast. Also, if you want something else on the water, there is Guilford Mooring in yep, Guilford. Again, local sea food, good view, food can be good to average, I think it's getting better? Lots more. Enjoy.

                  1. re: ryone

                    I LOVE Lenny's Lobster. Their shore dinner is way more food than you'll ever eat (including a lobster and a plate of steamers) and is awesome and well-priced. I will admit to never really venturing past that particular menu item, except on rare occasions when I'm sucked in by the soft shell crabs. I live in MA now, but whenever possible I get back to my old CT stomping grounds and Lenny's. Sunset on the back deck, a pitcher of good beer, and a big messy lobster -- heaven.

                2. In the Mystic area go to SeaSwirl, on Route 1 on the Stonington side of Mystic, for all kind of New England sea side treats - lobster rolls, whole belly clams, fried cod sandwiches, soft swirl icecream. The Seaview stand on Route 27 in Mystic between the seaport and the cemetary has a very good lobster roll and a beautiful view of the Mystic River.

                  If you venture over the boarder from Mystic to Watch Hill in RI, try a Dell's Frozen Lemonade.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: cheesey

                    Roseland Pizza in Derby, CT. Check out the link below. Easily off route 8.

                    1. re: javaandjazz

                      Yes to New Haven Pizza. I'm a Pepe's white clam aficionado, and with the clams, you can kill two birds (or bivalves) with one stone. You can also go to Ashley's ice cream on York st. for dessert and get bittersweet hot fudge... so good.... I also think there are some good cheeseburgers and hot dogs around, but the lobster roll is where it's at. I think it's important that you find a true CT lobster roll, though, which is served warm with butter in a toasted open-top hot dog bun. No mayo! V. important! I've heard good things about Abbott's in Noank for all that stuff. Any indigenous shellfish is a good call.

                      1. re: ctscorp

                        ctscorp, wow! I left New Haven almost 30 years ago, and I'm delighted to hear that Ashley's is goin' strong. Their "sweet cream" still resonates as the best ice cream I have enjoyed, anywhere. If I remember correctly, "Ashley" was a frisbee- retrieving dog.

                        1. re: ctscorp

                          Ashley's yes is still good -- when i was at school in new haven -- we went there a lot -- my favorite is the coffee oreo -- just had some the other night on the way back from the cape -- and it is STILL good