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Fast Food Chains in CT- What's best?

We have been spending WAY too much time in CT McDonaldsland with the recent uptick in travel soccer driving. Please help us with some cheap, fast and good fast food options in Central and Northern CT towns. Those Sonic ads look good, but I've never seen one. Most games are in towns off I 91 or I 84. Help us, please, I can't face another yogurt, walnut and fruit salad or chicken strips (although I think these menu items are pretty tasty...)!

What do CH's think is the best fast food chain in CT? What do you order? Any guilty fast food pleasures you keep from your SO's? Can any fast food items be Chowworthy? Are any leaning towards "Deliciousness"? CT, come clean with your fast food choices!

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  1. If you find yourself farther south in CT, Duchess is a good bet. Your basic burgers, dogs, fries, onion rings, and sandwiches (and more), but it really is fresher and less production-liney than the big chains. Great breakfasts too.

    Right now, they're running a 2/$3 on bacon, egg and cheese on a hard roll -- at least they are in Ansonia, where I think they're at war with the McD's around the corner. For lunch, I like a good 'n greasy chili cheeseburger -- small and messy but it hits the spot. The onion rings are excellent.

    1. Yes, Duchess blows the national fast food chains away. They have good quality fast food made to order at a reasonable price.

      1 Reply
      1. Unfortunately northern CT lacks originality with fast food chains....try Popeye's for something different, and little more tasty than the burger joints. You'd be better off looking at diners right off the highway - in most cases they will offer quick service, and certainly better choices than something with a drive thru. Vernon Diner, Olympic come to mind quickly -

          1. Frankies around Waterbury is also good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: javaandjazz

              I second Frankies - - The one in West Haven I go to. Best hot dogs, ask for: "split, well-done with bacon" - - - with their incredible homestyle relish--YUMMY.

              1. re: cheereeo

                We went when we played a few weeks ago in Bristol. Much better than McD's! I had a mexican hot dog- it was really good. The kids also liked the hot dogs (plain, sigh...) and the onion rings. Cheap, good eats. Thanks for the suggestion!

            2. I forgot about 5 Guys and Dutchess! We used to have a really nice Dutchess in Ridgefield, but it closed. The one in Norwalk burned down- not sure if they re-built. I like the side dishes at Popeyes better then chicken. The thing about diners is that they all seem to be the same Greek-med. style food (oily dressed salads w/black olives, feta cheeze and red onions...that is more expensive and a bit slower than a regular fast food joint. The menu's are really long, and the kids can't decide what to order. Ironically, I always feel rushed. Maybe it's time to give the diners a new try- grilled cheeze is usually a staple. But for the same price and time frame, we usually go to one of the million or so Friendly's...

              1 Reply
              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                Don't the Friendly's in your area take a zillion years to get served and get the bill? I haven't been for years, but that was always my take on that particular chain.

              2. Dutchess is great for us Vegetarians too. They have Veggie Burgers (and they are decent) They also have a nice salad. Otherwise it's Wendys & Burger King for Veggie fast food. Friendly's took the Veggie Burger off the menu about a year ago (too bad because it was good) Now the only option there is an overpriced grilled cheese. And just like most other places, All of the entree salads are laden with meat (mostly chicken)

                2 Replies
                  1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                    Off 95 in Milford, A reliable stop on the way to NYC & points south

                1. Try Rein's Deli off 84 in Vernon or West Springfield. Not a chain per say but worth the trip.

                  1. 2 min. off I-84 at the Hartford/West Hartford line: Lena's http://www.sullyspub.com/lenas.php. Assorted pizza slices ready to eat, great soups, huge salads.

                    2 min. off I-84 in East Hartford: Mickey's : Chili dogs, fish sandwiches and other fried seafood

                    I agree on 5 guys which is a little farther off the highway but convenient if you're playing in Avon, Simsbury or Farmington. I'm also hooked on Popeye's fried chicken on Flatbusth Ave in Hartford and the Pollo Tropical in the same plaza. (grilled chicken, ribs, pork) http://www.pollotropical.com/english/...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: brookerme

                      That's it....I'm going to tag you so I can follow your posts. I think we're neighbors AND food-kindred spirits.

                      MICKEY's ROCKS and I agree about Popeyes and feel lucky to have one within driving distance of my home. I have jealous friends who've yearned for good fast food fried chicken and haven't tried Popeyes. (Poor suckers)

                    2. downhill alert - the Dutchess in Norwalk has switched from lightly floured fresh onion rings to institutional frozen ones

                      1. Portland/Middletown/Middlefield/Meriden area:

                        Portland - Portland Restaurant on Main St. near the Hess station - beef cutlet or meatball grinders. Caveat: these would be messy to eat in the car, but are very good.

                        Middletown - Public Market on Main St. (x from Luce) for any kind of grinder you like.

                        OFF 91 (exit for Powder Ridge)
                        Middlefield - Guida's - delicious hot dogs (and a birch beer to boot)

                        Meriden - Napoli pizza (see my review on this board for pics of their calzones)--but they also serve pizza by the slice and grinders

                        If I am anywhere near an Arby's and need a quick bite, I'm in! I love an RB sandwich there. They have locations:
                        - midway up the Pike near Lowe's/Outback/Ruby Tuesdays
                        - Berlin
                        - off 84 in Southington (just past the Meriden Square exit)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          I forgot a few more:

                          Doogie's on the Pike (one near Ruth's Chris, one that used to be The Blue Lobster, down toward Home Depot) for a dog and fries.

                          Pizza by the slice (does this count as fast food?):
                          Michel Angelo's in Cromwell in the Kmart Plaza near Rookie's
                          Illiano's in Middletown on South Main St. (used to be a Friendly's) or Washington St. (across from Palmer Field). Late night here tonight--we stopped for slices for dinner. Their stuffed pizzas are very tasty as are their regular slices...and they're HUGE!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            I heartily second Doogie's on the Berlin Tpk. I love their cheesesteaks, their sweet potato fries and their hot dogs. When I don't have time to get to Doogie's I'll settle for D'Angelo's cheesteaks. IMO, D'Angelo's does a very nice job with subs (for a chain). They're even on the Mass Turnpike!

                            224 Wilbur Cross Hwy, Berlin, CT 06037

                        2. No contest: Pollo Tropical in Walmart Plaza off Flatbush Ave in Htfd. 20 seconds off I 84
                          Miami style roasted/grilled chicken, unique sides, reasonable prices. Only one North of Jersey. OK website.

                          Pollo Tropical
                          475 Flatbush Ave, Hartford, CT 06106

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: jrichardanderson

                            I haven't been up here, but I remember enjoying it when visiting friends in South Florida. Good call!

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              We're thrilled to hear that Pollo Tropical is coming up here. It's our favorite quick meal when visiting family in South Florida. The food really is terrific - a far cry from normal fast food chains. In truth, we actually inquired about opening franchises up here a few years ago but were told that all US stores are company owned.
                              You can't go wrong with the chicken, black beans, and sweet plantains - for less than a meal at McDonald's!

                              Pollo Tropical
                              475 Flatbush Ave, Hartford, CT 06106

                              1. re: lsnhc

                                I was thinking there was a Pollo Tropical at Foxwoods but what they have is El Pollo Loco. Not the same, I guess.

                            2. re: jrichardanderson

                              I go past there on the way to Wallmart, but the kids always insist on that Popeye's there. Next time, I'll give it a try!