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Aug 14, 2007 05:31 AM

Is there ANYTHING good near UConn?

I'm planning on visiting my younger sister in September during her freshman year at UConn, and I'd like to take her out to dinner. Nothing incredibly fancy, but something nicer than the fast food junk they have on campus. Is there anything in that area? It kind of seems like it's in the middle of nowhere. I'm from MA, so I am not familiar with CT at all.

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  1. In Willimantic (about 15 minutes from UConn, down 195) is Main Street Cafe. They make excellent beers (so that's out for your freshman sister!) but have a nice variety of food as well. It resides in an old post office, with high ceilings that are uncommon today.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dugbee

      Thanks, dugbee. That sounds like it might do the trick. I'll check it out.

      1. re: dugbee

        To put my two cents in, I think their beer is nummy, and I love the space. The food, however, can be hit or miss. I can have a phenomenal meal one day
        and be let down, even by the same entree, on my next visit.

      2. There really isn't much out that way. In Eastford (about 14 miles/25 mins away) there is an upscale restaurant called The Still River Cafe. Probably fancier than what you're thinking but might be worth checking out. Even further east (Pomfret) the Vanilla Bean Cafe is probably perfect, but a bit of a drive (about 20 miles/30 mins). They are kind of a gathering spot in that area for live folk music and serve some nice local wines. They serve brk/lunch/dinner.

        But Sept in that area will be beautiful so if you have the time to make the drive, do it. Across the street from VB is a cute gift shop called Martha's Herbery. South on Rt 169 is an art gallery/tea shop in a big ol victorian called Celebrations.

        The UCONN campus has its own ice cream shop at the dairy barns that is supposed to be very good.

        I googled and came up w/an Italian place called Angellino's on Storrs Rd in Mansfield. Also "Roma" on the same road.

        Go all the way into Putnam and you have a couple of choices. If the Courthouse Grill is still there (I think that was the name of it) I recall it being pretty good....burgers, steaks, sandwiches, good chowder. The people who own Vanilla Bean opened up a place called 85 Main (, a bit more upscale, serves lunch & dinner.

        I've never been, but here is a link to the menu at The Somers Inn:

        Also found through googling, no personal rec - the Cosmic Omelet and Hartford Rd Cafe - -- Both are in Manchester, between Storrs and Hartford. It seems there's quite a bit going on in Manchester.....Mexican, sushi, etc.

        Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: JaneRI

          See my post for Manchester on the thread for the folks traveling through nerw england...I just left it.

          Note: Cosmic no no..did I say no...

          Hartford Rd cafe...pedestrian but a good place for a beer late at night.

          1. re: JaneRI

            85 main also has a 'late night' menu and stay open to 11:30ish- which not a lot offer in the area

          2. There is a place not very far from the campus, called Cathy Johns, Its a nice sit down and order type place,The meals are not fancy, but usually very good and they serve the best Ice Cream. Its right on Rt.44 at the intersection of Rt. 195. There is a nice place also farther east on Rt.44 They serve meals as well as Pizza. Im not sure of the name but when it comes time to visit your sister some one in her dorm can give you the name. Good luck, Earle

            3 Replies
            1. re: Earle

              My Goodness, is Kathy John's still there?! I thought they were more of the typical New England creamery that serves burgers/sandwiches (ala Shady Glen)?

              1. re: Science Chick

                Yes you are right, They are still there, and your assment of the menu is right on!

              2. I'd recommend Willington Pizza House- on Rt 32 just east of the intersection with 195. That's pretty decent.

                There used to be (still is?) an inn with a better-than-average restaurant in it down 195 on the way to Willimantic, maybe a half-mile past South Eagleville Road. Don't know current status.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dude

                  bidwell tavern. about ten minutes off campus

                2. Chuck's and Margarita's a combination steakhouse/Mexican on Route 32 a few miles north of campus or Altnaveigh, an old New England inn, on Route 195 just south of campus

                  1 Reply