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Favorite “Secret Hole In The Walls”

We all know of them. Dark and sometimes dingy joints that we love and don’t want to disclose for fear that they’ll become too may “other people’s” favorites. Well I’m letting some of mine out of the bag. As you Chowhounder’s share some of yours, I’ll reveal a few others, maybe one per week. Here we go with the first…

1. Bruce Park Grill - 231 Bruce Park Avenue Greenwich, CT 06830 203-869-8006

The best little personal pizzas with fresh toppings made completely in-house. The wine ($5 a glass) is served out of oversized glasses and the beer’s always ice cold. There's no grill so if it's a burger you're in the mood for, see my next week's post. Best part? A regulation size shuffleboard with regulars that will always be willing to play for a beer. Owner (Scott) and main bartender (Paul) make this place a real gem. To find it, go to the end of Greenwich Ave. and make a left on Railroad Avenue. Go over the hill and stop when you see the first group of stores. It’s on your left. They're closed on Sundays till September though.

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  1. Seems as if the photos did not attach on the primary post... Now I see I've reached my limit.

      1. re: sfoss17

        yes! i see a hot oil pie in my future (wednesday). as penance, i'll wash the car and do a few good deeds. love the colony.

        1. re: steve h.

          close second is the monkey farm in old saybrook.

      2. Mama's. On Main St. in Port Washington. It's a korean joint, in the same space a dingy old greek luncheonette used to be. Most of the greek pictures are still on the walls. The food is fresh, spicy & delicious... Mama cooks everything herself, & her hubby is the korean version of that Tim Conway character from the Carol Burnette Show, that shuffles his feet. If you let him, he will give you a whole speech on how healthy "wild edibles" are. Don't let the tattered decor deter you. Try any of the dumplings, the ginseng salad, coconut veg soup, spicy kimchee, vegetable tofu harmony, broiled rice cakes, BBQ shrimp, squid, etc., seafood pancake. All the noodle dishes are delicious. BYOB. Cash only.

        4 Replies
        1. re: monalisawoman

          thanks for the post, great descriptions. I live in Queens and will be sure to check this out.

          1. re: monalisawoman

            I can't recommend Mama's highly enough! All the dishes are fresh, and exquisitely flavored (the dol sot bibimbab is out of this world). If this restaurant was in midtown Manhattan, there would be lines around the corner.

              1. re: billyparsons

                Mama's. On Main St. in Port Washington.

                Two posts up.

          2. i'm guessing that big w's bbq on rte 22, and the poughkeepsie vietnamese places don't qualify, since they've been written up in the papers...

            anyhow - in poughkeepsie:

            jamaican - janet's jerk shop, 96 washington street. all the traditional dishes, with varying degrees of spices. but done oh-so-well...
            mexican - cinco de mayo - coincidentally, in janet's old spot! 22 academy st. quick, simple, but authentic. they've got a few selections of american-style food, but most is authentic mexican. agua fresca? check. flor de calabaza and huitlacoche on the menu (although not available every day)? check. all the good stuff that american/mexican places wouldn't serve. i reviewed it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/423078 and although there are other decent dive mexican places (los compadres, la cabanita, and tex-mex lite mole mole) along with peruvian along main st, this is my favorite.

            1. Hey, Billy, you said "maybe one per week", how about another? Thanks, you have great insight!

              1 Reply
              1. re: debmom

                Hey debmom...

                I'm just waiting from the foodchow guys to clear me for some extra pic space. I think this thread would be so much more exciting with pics no? I have a ton of pics but I can't upload.

              2. Gyro Bob's - Route 206, Stanhope

                The outside looks like a shack that has forgotten to fall over. It's when you go in that you truly enter the Bizarro world. Warped, fake wood paneling that's at least 40 years old, covered with a very strange assortment of framed move posters and old newspaper front pages. There is a small counter with about eight stools that perch precariously over the open frying pits; several formica booths line the opposite wall. But the smell hits you first -- inadequate ventilation can't handle the fumes from the fryers, so be prepared to reek for several days after if you dine in here.

                What's the attraction? Well, the signage outside touts their Texas weiners, but Gyro Bob's has the best falafel I've ever had in NJ, with great tzadziki sauce, crunchy and spicy chickpea patties, and fresh tomato and lettuce! And the hot dogs aren't bad either.

                Give it a try. You will feel like you just journeyed back 40 years, when oddball places like this were more common.

                1 Reply
                1. re: catullus13

                  This place has always overachieved in its flavorful menu. A mom and pop business which is an operational historic landmark. Just remember to answer yes when asked..."salt, pepper, ketchup??" on your fries.

                2. Sabor Peru, in Rutherford NJ. (off Park Ave., across from Lincoln Park in the center of town) Certainly a tiny space, but not a dive. BYOB. Even though ceviche is the flavor of the month...it seems to be written about everywhere, this place is welcoming and the food is delicious. The owners previously ran a restaurant in Passaic, which has a large Peruvian population. I just relax and enjoy when I eat there. There are smiles, and joie de vive, and great freakin' food.

                  1. Ribs on The Run in White Plains.
                    And the Mexican restaurant next door. Good posole. Not much atmosphere, not many tables, you can get orders to go. It is a good place for me to practice my limited spanish too. I think a pocito espanol goes a long way in a place like that.
                    There is a Mexican Market next door that sells fresh blue corn tortillas . It was the only place I have found that sells the little bricks of annato and seasonings that are used for yucatan roast pork.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: scharffenberger

                      Where is Ribs On The Run, scharffenberger?

                      The Mexican restaurant on Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck, down near Harbor Island, sounds similar.

                      1. re: dolores

                        Dolores, Ribs on the Run is in a strip mall perpendicular to Central Ave in White Plains. Heading north/northwest on Central Ave it's past Morton Williams and before you'd hit Niko's on the Morton Williams side of the road.

                        Do you mean Lupita's re: the Mex. restaurant Dolores?

                        1. re: laylag

                          Ah, I think I know where you mean. I have to try it, thanks laylag.

                          Yes, Lupita's, that's the place. Very, very nice people there and the food was as good as any of the counter places in the famous New Rochelle.

                          1. re: dolores

                            I haven't been to the counter places in NR - just the sit downs - and found that Lupita's while not bad, didn't compare to Corner or Cafe. Went to Corner again the other night and it was great again. I do have a question re: tortiila chips at corner that I'll post separately. Maybe you know the anser.

                            Dolores re: Ribs on the run - haven't been but just be aware as from these boards - it is not barbecue - ie, not smoked meats. Baked ribs kind of thing.

                          2. re: laylag

                            Ribs on the Run used to be in Yonkers, also Central Ave. Not gourmet, but for take out, pretty good. Try the onion loaf.

                            1. re: addictedtolunch

                              laylag, I finally got to Ribs On The Run. Good, at least in my opinion. However, I have not yet in my life have real honest-to-goodness barbeque, as defined by those I have seen on the Food Network. Where again in the tri-state area can we get that? There was someplace I went to in Stamford for BBQ, and liked that too.

                              I dressed up the RotR ribs with my very hot sauces, and I enjoyed them.

                              Since I like all kinds of fries, I even enjoyed the fries.

                              Drat, I didn't try the onion loaf.

                              Thanks for the pointer, laylag.

                              1. re: dolores

                                Dolores, if you want real deal type BBQ - in Westchester and proximity - try BigW's in Wingdale (not Westchester I know but the best we've had in the vicinity). Q in Port Chester is pretty good, sometimes very good but sometimes off and a bit pricey. Their smoked chicken wings are sensational though. Also, a place we went to in Mahopac was pretty good. Went to Southbound in Valhalla once and it was okay but the others are better.

                                If you find yourself on Long Island try Smokin' Al's in Bayshore (heard they're opening another location further west).

                                All mentioned above are real Cue - ie, meat smoked in a real smoker. Each place varies on which meat they do best and which sides are great - I love Q's collards and BigW's dirty rice. Whichever you try all are real BBQ.

                          3. re: dolores

                            Are you talking about Lupita's or Veracruz?

                            1. re: scharffenberger

                              Lupita's. I don't know Veracruz, is it on Mam'k Ave. near Harbor Island?

                              Glad this thread came back up, I had not written down Ribs On The Run.

                              1. re: dolores

                                VeraCruz in Mamaroneck (diff from I think a place of the same name in White Plains) is on Mamaroneck Ave but north of the Mamaroneck train station - it's on the bend. Lupita's is down at the bottom near Harbor Island.

                                Re: Ribs on the Run - we got take-out from there last week - not bad for baked ribs but can't compare to real smoked 'cue', daughter loved the mac and cheese (it was tasty and she kept pushing our forks away from her plate), pulled pork sandwich was kind of bleh, mashed potatoes were instant as far as I could tell and collards were ok but not great. Overall decent but nothing to get excited about.

                          4. re: scharffenberger


                          5. giovanni's italian deli in stamford, 109 north st.

                            three old guys making the best red gravy, eggplant parm and chick parm.

                            it is easily the best red gravy hole in the wall in the 'hood

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jfood

                              JFood's posting reminds me of Dante's (Italian) Deli on Central Ave. in Hartsdale across from TJ Maxx. Great eggplant parm, rollatini and lunch specials.

                              I have heard mention of Two Doors in Greenwich CT as to having great burgers. The one time I tried to go, they were closed for construction. Anyone been?

                              1. re: Dim Sum Diva

                                I agree, I can't say enough good things about Dante's, and the store is more accessible inside since the remodel.

                                1. re: chowdom

                                  So glad my dog's food is down the road from Ribs On The Run and Dante's. I will have to next try Dante's food.

                                  And the parking is free, hallelujah.

                                  1. re: dolores

                                    Dolores, try to hit Dante's on a weekday, they have more of a selection then, I guess for the lunch crowd.