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good local eats: Hartford, Worcester, Pittsfield

I'm a Floridian that has not ever been to these locations in the Northeast. I would really love recommendations for local favs on food and drink in all three locations.

Are there any food dishes or home brews specific to your area or the Northeast in general? Please do tell.
Any local specific local eateries/breweries that do those treats really well? Please share.
All recommendation welcome from snacks to desserts.

Time frame: a week in Harford, 5 days in Worcester, and 3 days in Pittsfield.

Thank again in advance for educating a visitor who wants to see your area like a local.

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  1. If you don't mind traveling south of Hartford, I've got a few for you. Will you be traveling south to Middletown or the shoreline (Clinton, Westbrook, Madison)? Let me know and I'll let you know!

    3 Replies
    1. re: kattyeyes

      Worcester is famous for it's diners. Very cool: Kenmore, Parkway, LouRocs and Ralphs Chadwick Sq Diner to name a few...

      Also Coney Island Hot Dog on Southbridge St. is an institution NOT to miss.

      1. re: phelana

        Oh, thank you for the diner report. Do any of them do any must order dishes (breakfast, desserts, etc)?

      2. re: kattyeyes

        I don't yet know if the group plans to do any excursions. Please do tell any way for areas south just in case. Thank you.

      3. One of the dishes peculiar (I think) to Worcester diners is the Italian breakfast -- usually eggs any style, home fries, Italian sausage and red sauce, Italian toast.

        If you are a fan of regional beers and local food, you will enjoy Armsby Abbey on Main Street in Worcester for lunch or dinner.

        1. from Hartford: take a ride to Manchester, New Haven or Mohegan Sun Casino for Pepes pizza- order the local soda Foxon Park- I'm partial to creme and birch beer

          check out the Italian places on Franklin Ave: Mozzicato Bakery for pastries, cookies, gelato
          Franklin Giant Grinder, Carbones, Ficaras

          West Hartford center- lots of good restaurants and shops- try Shish Kebob House of Afganistan

          save a ride to the shore and get a lobster or lobster roll and chowder at Tinkers on Park St in Hartford

          pick up some Jamaican beef patties at Scott's bakery on Albany Ave

          not sure when you're coming. right now its peach season and look for peach shortcake festivals. soon the apples will be ripe- so head for one of the local orchards- Lyman in Middlefield, Rogers in Southington or several in Glastonbury. Native corn is in too so try to get some of that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: brookerme

            You can also get Foxon Park sodas at O'Rourke's diner. :) Good call on the local sodas, brookerme.

            I forgot to mention City Steam is a brewpub right on Main St. in downtown Hartford.
            http://www.citysteambrewerycafe.com/

            If you make it to Middletown, you can also grab Jamaican beef patties at Pattie Palace on Main St. Try the beef and cheese and don't forget a Ting (the original, not the pink!).

            Ohhhhhh, and another Middletown institution not to miss--Vecchitto's Italian Ice. Best lemon ice anywhere!

            And if you're into orchards, please find your way to Belltown Orchards in Glastonbury. The views from high up in the hills are quite beautiful. And soon it will be time for raspberries!

            -----
            Vecchitto Italian Ice
            323 Dekoven Dr, Middletown, CT

            Pattie Palace
            344 Main St, Middletown, CT 06457

          2. I agree with the Coney Island Hot Dogs (closed Tuesday) and Armsby Abbey suggestions. Other favorites include (not in order), Udupi Bhavan, 378 Maple Ave., Fairlawn Plaza, Shrewsbury (also closed Tuesday), One Love Cafe, 800 Main St. Worcester, 508-753-8663 (Jamaican), and many Vietnamese restaurants including Pho Dakao, 593 Park Ave., Worcester. Also check out Dr. Gonzo Uncommon Condiments, 122 Main St., near Armsby Abbey. There are too many other excellent restaurants to list.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hgould

              Next week actually. From the 17th to the weekend. Thus, the what's in season notes a wonderful.

              1. re: theaterdrm

                If you will have a kitchen during your stay, please do yourself a favor and plan to head south (about 15 minutes from Hartford) to Rocky Hill and Gilbert Farm for the best native corn I've eaten all season. IT IS THAT GOOD. ;)

                Gilbert Farm
                730 Elm St
                Rocky Hill, CT 06067

                (860) 571-0373‎

                I picked up some cute little patty pan squash there last week, too.

            2. Where are you staying when you come to Hartford?

              1. Middletown, CT is home of the steamed cheeseburger and you can try one at O'Rourke's Diner.

                Heading even farther south to the Connecticut shore, you can enjoy a lobster roll or scallop roll (or anything seafood) at Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale: 2 locations--Westbrook and Madison--Madison is the more casual of the two (order at the counter, find a table). Another option is Lobster Landing, but not after 6 p.m. That's in Clinton.

                I love a calzone at Napoli in Meriden, CT (west of Middletown). Not fancy, but definitely my favorite.

                Enjoy your visit, wherever your travels take you! :)

                -----
                O'Rourke's Diner
                728 Main St, Middletown, CT 06457

                Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale
                86 Boston Post Rd, Westbrook, CT 06498

                Duplicate
                , CT

                Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale
                1301 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443

                1 Reply
                1. re: kattyeyes

                  Armsby Abbey (great local food and HUGE beer selection) , Baja Grill (Authentic Mexican...cheap and BYOB), Baba Sushi, Dive Bar (live music mon, thu and fri and great beer selection), Nicks (bar serving german food with live tunes most nights), Vincents (great cozy bar with live music most nights and meatball sandwiches!)....also Sonoma in Princeton, Ma and Still River Cafe in Eastford, CT (45 mins from Worcester) are both superb top notch full service restaurants.

                2. You should have a baked stuffed lobster while you are here. Max's Oyster Bar on Farmington Ave. in West Hartford center has a good one. Call in advance and check the price for the size lobster that you want. The 1&1/2 lb. size should be a decent size for a good appetite.

                  1. For Worcester, if you like sushi, go to Baba Sushi on Park Ave. Some of the best I've ever had. It's a little on the pricey side but well worth it.