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Healthy, Casual Lunch Options Near the Merritt Parkway?

I'll be going back to New York in a few days, and then back again in late February/early March. It looks like in both cases, I will be somewhere between New Haven and the New York border, traveling on Route 15 (the Merritt Parkway).

Does anyone have any suggestions for good restaurants just off the Merritt that have fresh, healthy items on the menu, and are casual? I'd be looking at sandwiches, salads, soups, etc., and do not want to have to go to Panera or any other chain, for that matter. Thanks!

If there is a restaurant just over the New York border (near the Hutchinson River Parkway), that would be ok, too.


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  1. The Merritt Parkway really passes through mostly residental areas so there are not a lot of restaurants right off of it. Right off Exit 41 Northbound (on the south side of the parkway) in Westport is the Red Barn. I haven't been there in a few years but it use to be very good. To the north of the Merritt on the same exit is the Three Bear. Also use to be very good.

    About a mile south of Exit 44 on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield is the Rye Ridge Deli which is excellent. Also in that area is the Angus (not sure what is going on there now) and the Bear & Grill (which is excellent) Cinzano's is there to if you like Italian. hope this helps. Jay

    1 Reply
    1. re: JayCT

      This is great info. Thanks very much! I really like the looks of the Three Bears...

    2. Right at the bottom of exit 34 southbound (or turn left at stop light at exit ramp if headed northbound) is Lakeside diner - a little red building. Mostly ordinary diner food, but the specials can be terrific, and the breakfast food is wonderful. Cash only I believe.

      1. If you want more suggestions, you might want to try asking this question on the Tristate Region board, as that would cover New York and Fairfield County.

        1. Katz's is off of exit 59, has good sandwiches, the matzoh ball soup is very good.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mmalmad

            mmalmad, thanks very much for the Katz's suggestion. We went there on Saturday for lunch, and I thought it blew away Rein's up in Vernon, which I occasionally go to on my trips to New York. The soup was indeed good, as was the corned beef sandwich and the homemade potato pancakes.

            Is Katz's a popular spot among travelers, or is it mostly a hangout for locals? I had never heard of it until you mentioned the place.

            1. re: hiddenboston

              Not sure about the travelers. I would have mentioned the corned beef but you did say healthy, which they do have as an option, with the salads and all But the corned beef, pastrami and brisket are first rate, and usually what I get when I go

              1. re: mmalmad

                Yes, I was hoping to eat healthy, but I guess my willpower wasn't all that great! At least the soup was pretty healthy at Katz's...

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  Well, glad you liked it. It is hard to mantain a low sodium diet there though

          2. The Lime

            168 Main St
            Norwalk, CT 06851
            (203) 846-9240

            Not that far off the Merritt -- Excellent excellent excellent.

            1. Too bad you asked for healthy or I'd recommend the Merritt Canteen exit 48. Great dogs with a nice grilled texture and plenty of snap. They have burgers and lots of fried stuff including clams and oysters but I've only had the dogs.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chuck s

                I've actually been to the Merritt Canteen. Thought the hot dogs were very good there, though their extra spicy chili dog was perhaps a bit too hot for my liking (next time I'll get a milder dog there).

              2. Katz's Delicatessen in New Haven (take the Yale Bowl exit just after the tunnel) is very good if you like kosher-style deli. The sandwiches, salads and soups are excellent. The place is always crowded, though, and the portions are enormous.

                2 Replies
                1. re: shoes

                  a few years back we stopped in, i think was norwalk,well there was a real good indian place just south of the merrit.accross the street from a mcdonalds.

                  1. re: shoes

                    Just wanted to bump this thread up a bit -- we used it yesterday, on a drive from NJ to Maine, and LOVED our lunch at Katz's. Shoes is right about it being crowded - we had a few-minute wait for lunch at 2pm, and the line only got longer while we were there. Service is quick, and the food is very good. Best diner fries I can remember having in a long time - and a very good tuna melt on rye.

                  2. I would suggest Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford, CT. Its on High Ridge Rd which I believe is an exit off the Merritt, about 1 mile South. Everything is very fresh and well prepared, my favorite wings in town. Great salads and thin crust pizza as well.