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Meatball Grinder in Middletown, CT?

I'm a displaced Middletowner (CT) flying in for the holidays and in need of some grub.

Where can I get an excellent meatball sandwich in or around Middletown?

Also, any ideas for an exceptional lunch I can have on Friday, within a 15 minute drive of Middletown and hopefully of a cuisine I can't readily find in San Francisco?

Mexican and most Asian cuisines are probably out. I did really enjoy and report on a Polish place in New Britain last Christmas; Puerto Rican would also be new to me.

Thanks, and I promise to report back.

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  1. The Neon Deli, just off campus of Wesleyan for your meatball sandwich?

    5 Replies
    1. re: rosieg

      Subway has the best meatball grinders

      1. re: CTConsumer

        I would never eat a meatball from a Subway. I think they're more like Feet Balls.

        1. re: CTConsumer

          how could anyone recommend Subway for anything?

          1. re: CTConsumer

            C'mon, that has to be a joke..

            edit: OK I'll try and be constructive. Is First and Last as good in Middletown as they are in Hartford? Might not be a bad place to grab a meatball grinder..

          2. re: rosieg

            I tried a roast beef sandwich here at Neon. Never again.

          3. Well, I can't think of many cuisines you can't find in San Francisco....but
            How about a steamed cheeseburger at O'Rourke's,
            or an unusually good veggie meal at It's Only Natural?
            And while I haven't been there myself, a friend says Udupi Bhavan is a good Indian/Thai
            vegetarian restaurant, which may be enough different to remove your SF asian bias?
            There are several good Italian restaurants in Middletown, but I have never ordered a meatball grinder in my life, so I can't help you there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DonShirer

              There are reportedly some good Restaurants in the Middletown area, Some as follows: http://www.illianospizza.com/middleto...) I hope this gives you a start. There was a recent show on PBS network in Conn called eating Conn. and they had a few more highly recommended places also . So there are many others to chose from. Good luck and I hope this helps you Earle Ct.

              1. re: Earle

                I'll happily second Illiano's. I had a great meatball grinder there last week--on a crispy sesame seed roll with peppers (though I wish the peppers had been roasted and not quite so crunchy). Meatballs were nice 'n moist, NOT the bouncable variety like so many that are overhandled and tough (UGH!).

                -----
                Illiano's
                709 Broad Street Ext, Waterford, CT 06385

            2. The BEST sandwiches/grinders in Middletown are at SouthEnd Market, They are on South Main Street, where Mazzottas used to be.

              Neon deli has some good sandwiches, but not there meatball grinders. Go to South End for a huge variety and everything is made on site.

              If you are in Durham, Lino's has great sandwiches also.

              Heveli (indian), 1300 south main, has a really good buffet at lunch time.

              If you want spanish food, and are willing to make the 20 minute drive to Hartford, Costa Del Sol on Wethersfield ave, is very good.

              1. Veni, vidi, eat-i.

                When I told my brother I wanted a grinder, he ended up taking me to Nardelli's (or I would have check out the South End Market suggestion). Several types of grinders in whole and half sizes--the half was pretty generous, so we both ordered that. The meatball was tasty and the roll was nicely toasted, though I thought they skimped on the cheese a bit. Overall, a very good grinder.

                I also stopped into the Wild Raspberry in Cromwell, in the shopping plaza that has a Blockbuster, across from the Stop & Shop. They had a pretty good cheese selection and some interesting local choices. We focused on New England-crafted cheeses and selected three--one washed rind, one goat with cranberries, and another soft cheese I can't remember. All three were excellent and consumed quickly.

                We went also to Staropolksa, my favorite Polish restaurant in New Britain, (described charmingly on their website as (a place) "where you'll find Polish cuisine, bar, and many, many more other details." The details I like best are the fried pierogis, which are really exceptional, especially the cheese/potato and mushroom/sauerkraut versions. The potato pancakes are also very good. I ordered the day's special, a sorrel soup with split boiled eggs hiding in the bottom of the bowl, and really liked that too.

                4 Replies
                1. re: pane

                  Pane - maybe you can help me solve an old mystery, as you're from the area I had one of the greatest grinders ever. Back about 20-24 years ago I was driving from MA to Penn. and somehow got off 95 in the middle of CT. There was an old-fashioned looking gas station that had a deli case and made grinders to order. I got an Italian, on delicious real Italian bread, filled with incredible cold cuts. Easily the best Italian grinder I've ever had! Of course, I have no clue as to the name of this place, or even exactly where it was. Ring any bells?

                  1. re: Rhody Dave

                    Hi, I'm from Middletown and I've been here the past 40 years. Would be glad to help you, but if you got off 95 in the middle of CT, you must have been in New Haven. 95 is a good 30 minutes south of here.

                    1. re: Rhody Dave

                      Rhody Dave - On Rt 1 in Guilford, near the intersection with Rt 77 might be the place you describe. It's an old gas station with a deli / hot food section inside. It's called Deli Unlimited. Years ago I worked in Guilford and ate many of their excellent large "belly buster" grinders.

                      1. re: PerryM

                        Perry, that isn't the place. I really thought you might have had it, but I checked it w/Google maps Street View, and it's definitely not the same place. The place I remember was much more rural than that, and older looking. Probably doesn't even exist anymore, and that's fine. But thanks!

                  2. The best meatball sandwich that I've found in Middletown is at Sweet Harmony Café & Bakery. http://www.sweetharmonycafebakery.com/
                    Quite often they will have meatballs in a breadbowl toasted topped with fresh mozzarella.

                    The restaurant is reminiscent of visiting your great aunts house in the 1960s. The food is exccellent and very reasonable.