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Need Recs for Drive thru NJ, NY & CT

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While en route from North Carolina to a much-anticipated vacation in Maine later this month, we’ll be driving through your part of the country and in need of some good road food. Type of food doesn’t matter, although regional specialties are always appreciated, and there won’t be any kids with which to contend. Due to the length of the drive (nearly 20 hours, which we plan to do in 1 day), we don’t want to deviate much from our route, so staying within a few miles of the highways listed below is preferable. Can anyone provide some recommendations along our route? Thanks in advance, and I promise to post back with our experiences.

In New Jersey - I-78 until we pick up I-95 right near the New Jersey/New York state line

In New York – just a short leg on I-95 from the New Jersey border across to the Connecticut border

In Connecticut – I-95 to I-91 @ New Haven, then to I-84 @ Hartford and on to the Connecticut/Massachusetts state line

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  1. You might want to hit Swanky Franks in Norwalk CT, just off exit 14. One of the country's top hot dog places in an area known for great hot dogs.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

      I would also suggest Super Duper Weenie, exit 24 off of 95 (in CT). Different from Swanky Franks; they are both great and both worth visiting.

      I'd also recommend Stowe's for excellent seafood shack fare in West Haven, and New Haven pizza (Modern gets my vote, but you can't go wrong with Pepe's, Sally's, or Bar).

      1. re: adam

        I'll second both Super Duper weenie and Modern Apizza.

        1. re: adam

          well, we tried to go to modern apizza, but the place was packed and we just weren't in the mood to wait (plus there was nowhere to park that we felt safe leaving our car with bikes strapped to it). in no mood to drive around any more, we wound up asking the desk clerk at our hotel in norwalk for a rec (this was on our return trip), and it turned out great. he sent us down the street to italia (285 main st, norwalk; 846.2555) after we specified our preference for a locally-owned place. i can't say how their pizza stacks up against others in the area (it would be in the top 3 in my town), but it was pretty tasty (we got the papa's - marinara, hot [cherry] peppers, sausage & mozzarella). the sausage was very good, and tasted very fresh. what really did it for us, though, was the ambience. the place is owned by an italian family, most of the staff seemed related, and many still speak italian. very reminiscent of my family and the italian eateries i grew up on in detroit. the housemade bread they served was very good, so good it needed no adornment (it really put me in mind of the wonderful bread my dad bakes). the service was very warm & solicitous; we had to assure them repeatedly that the table nearest the kitchen was ok 'cause they really didn't want to seat us there due to the cramped quarters and traffic (not that i normally prefer that type table, but it was late, we were hungry, and it just wasn't an issue that evening). ultimately, it had the benefit of allowing us to peruse the dishes leaving the kitchen; it all looked really good. if anyone else has knowledge of this place, i'd be interested to know how you feel it stacks up against other pizza places in the area.

          again, thanks for the recs, and apologies for not making better use of them, but it just wasn't in the cards this trip. i'm still craving hot dogs after your recs even though we did stop at gilley's in portsmouth, nh. rest assured, i've filed them away for the next trip to your area.

      2. I prefer Rawleys hot dogs to Swanky franks and both to Super Duper, if you get off at exit 19 and head north on rt 1 it is a mile or so on the left, then you can get back on at exit 21. It is a nicer and faster route if you head up the Merritt Parkway but food pickings are pretty slim. Ole Mole off exit 35 in Stamford is about it

        1. In New York – just a short leg on I-95 from the New Jersey border across to the Connecticut border

          beware: the 5 mile drive on part of 1-95 NY (aka The Cross Bronx Espressway) might take you longer than the rest of your trip!