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Boston to NYC - where must I stop ? ! (Moved from Greater Boston Area)

Hey all

Am likely to be travelling between Boston and NYC - possibly by road, most likely Amtrak in early June and wonder whether there are any great Chow places I must stop over , even if only for one night.

I am relaxed about cuisine and price but there must be compelling reasons to stop or my travelling companion will insist we fly between the two !

Ideally the stop over town should also have places of interest or stunning scenery too, since we are travelling from the UK. Max journey time between the two cities is two days.

All thoughts welcome, thanks in advance.

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  1. No scenery but if traveling by car you can't beat Sally's or Pepe's in New Haven for what many argue might be the country's best pizza.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bobbert

      While I would never willingly suggest that someone get off a train to visit New Haven, I can't deny that Pepe's is awesome.

      1. re: bobbert

        While the pizza is good at Sally's and at Pepe's the hours and the line are impossible. They have done so well that they hardly have to open. And when they do open they are jammed. They remind me of pub opening hours in the UK back in the sixties.

        Modern Apizza has better hours but the product is not as good.

        1. re: VivreManger

          The last few times I've been to Pepe's (always weekend lunch time) the wait hasn't been too bad (less than 1/2 hour), but maybe I just got lucky.

          If you're looking for a regional gem that you can't find anywhere else, New Haven pizza certainly fits the bill. Having taken several people to Pepe's for the first time, and going by their reactions, it can be an amazing, mind-blowing experience.

          1. re: VivreManger

            I have made the mistake of going to Pepe's at prime time... once. Go early when they open or mid afternoon (3 ish) and very short, if any, lines.

            1. re: VivreManger

              I love New Haven pizza and have eaten at Sally's, Pepe's, and Modern. They're all great, but I now believe that Zuppardi's Apizza in West Haven is even better. It is a truly glorious pizza. The house-made sausage is fantastic. I've heard great things about the fresh clam pizza, but haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

              Zuppardi's Apizza
              www.zuppardisapizza.com
              179 Union Avenue
              West Haven, CT 06516

              1. re: maillard

                I will have to check that place out next time.

                Also, re: Pepe's: Pepe's has a branch in Manchester, CT, which is more "on the way" than the New Haven branch, has a much shorter lines, and is 99.5% as good as the original.

                1. re: Alcachofa

                  Pepe's also has a branch in Yonkers that is about 25% as good as the original.

                  1. re: MRich

                    Wow, really? That stinks. I have to confess, although they do a good job in Manchester, I'm skeptical about how good a job they could do in a casino (they have one in, I think, Mohegan).

          2. A couple of meta-thoughts about this. First, as you may well already know, Boston and NYC are not very far from one another. It takes about four hours to drive. So, unless you do visit some tourist locations (which is definitely going to be considered off-topic here), it might be hard to justify taking multiple days to do the trip! The good news is, however, that there are some very nice places to visit along the way, even if we do not discuss them here....

            A second thought is that while this Board is great for recommendations for when you first arrive from the UK, you might also wish to post this question on the Southern New England board, as most of your journey will be in areas covered by that board.

            Finally, I will point out that if you drive there are two general routes you could take. One is inland and faster, and the other is close to the coast. If I had guests I would want to take them to the coast. It is pretty and there is local seafood to be sampled...

            1. If you are driving, you should stop in Sturbridge, Mass at BT's Smokehouse. I have never had such great bbq in the North! You could go to Old Sturbridge Village, it's a working reenactment of life in New England 1790-1840. If you google the name, I see that you can go to a site that has coupons, " Old Sturbridge Village coupons" it says. www.osv.org is the url for the place. It is a lovely area, quite woodsy and charming.

              -----
              BT's Smokehouse
              392 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

              18 Replies
              1. re: CookieLee

                Is BT really better than Blue Ribbon?

                More generally, with the possible exception of the much hyped NH pizza parlors, I do not think that there is anything between Boston & NYC that offers food so distinctive and outstanding that it is better than what you can get in either of those cities.

                However if you want to try NH pizza than you will have to spend a night in New Haven just to get in. And June will be a busy season for them.

                As for things to see, Yale is a pale imitation of Oxbridge, but it might be worth a visit while you wait to queue for pizza.

                1. re: VivreManger

                  Why do you have to spend a night in new haven to eat the pizza? I never have. Also, as I posted in the thread the op started on the nys board, bob & timmy's pizza in providence definitely is chow worthy, as is captain Scott's lobster dock in new london.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    Take the coast route. Providence is worth a stop. Eat at Al Forno (I think it's still open though it's been several years since I've been there). Go to the museum at RI School of Design. Walk the downtown and shop at the italian markets. You can get better Italian food in Providence than in Boston. Or, if you go inland, think of increasing the trip and going along the Hudson route. Stop in Beacon or Hudson. There are several fine house museums. But if you go straight through from Boston to NY on the Mass Pike, at least take the Wilbur Cross into NY. It's scenic though there isn't any great food that I know of. You can consider a detour, if you make reservations, for lunch or dinner at the Culinary Institute (near Poughkeepsie I think).

                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      AlForno is still open and still wonderful. Have a grilled pizza and make sure you order dessert. The tarts are amazing.

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        OP, be warned that Al Forno is virtually universally panned by everyone living in Providence, and I agree. It's totally a tourist spot relying on it's rep from 15 years ago.

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          invino, haven't been in years and I'm sorry to hear that because I counted it a wonderful experience in the past. What do you recommend in Providence now?

                          1. re: teezeetoo

                            Providence has tons of great spots. It depends what you're feeling. I'd say three places generally regarded as favorites would include Chez Pascal (my fave), Gracies and La Laiterie.

                            -----
                            Chez Pascal Restaurant
                            960 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906

                            La Laiterie
                            184-188 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906

                          2. re: invinotheresverde

                            For grilled pizza in Providence, skip Al Forno and go to Bob & TImmy's. It's cheap and delicious!

                        2. re: teezeetoo

                          Second Providence in early June. It's a little gem of a city- you can walk everywhere and every Boston to New York train stops there. Much better Italian food than Boston too.

                        3. re: Blumie

                          If you do go to New Haven, it is the home of Yale University. They have a fabulous art museum.

                        4. re: VivreManger

                          BT is definitely better than Blue Ribbon these days. I'd stack it up against any New England BBQ joint.

                          Check out this review and pictures:

                          http://www.pigtrip.net/review-BTSHR.htm

                          1. re: Msample

                            +1 Msample took the words right out of my mouth!

                            1. re: CookieLee

                              i go to nyc frequently. I sometimes drive to new haven; park my car in a parking garage near the train station and take the train (MTA Metro North). Then you can stop in New Haven for pizza if you choose. But i prefer to go to NYC and eat lunch there.

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                cambridgedoctpr: The op is talking about traveling from NYC to Boston. My suggestion to him/her is if they're driving. I'm sorry, I don't know what you're referencing. I also go to NYC frequently, and either drve or take the bus. We leave here early enough to have lunch in the city.

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    oh, yeah. I don't know where I got confused as to the direction.

                        5. re: CookieLee

                          I second BT's; I make the stop a few times a year when heading west on the Pike. IMHO, much better than Blue Ribbon.

                        6. Like others on this thread, I, too, travel between New York and Boston frequently (30 times a year or so). With New York beckoning at one end and Boston (slightly less compellingly) at the other it has never occurred to me to stop along the way for the food. To those of you recommending the pizza in New Haven I ask: is this pizza clearly superior to the best that New York has to offer, and if you think so which pizza, specifically, in NY are you comparing it to?

                          More significantly (I think) is pizza worth a stop for its own sake, compared to the other, diverse food offerings of New York and Boston? If one had a limited time in the U.S. and one was interested in food, it would seem to me that one would spend as much time as possible in NY (mostly) and Boston and not waste time along the way. I admit, of course, there might be other non-food reasons to stop. One might wish the experience of being mugged in New Haven, for example.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                            i think New Haven pizza is vastly superior to Boston pizza (which isn't very strong, but improving) and on par with what I've had in NYC. Probably the best pizza I've had in NY is Grimaldis in Brooklyn and I think Pepe's holds its own. It's important to note that they're different: it's not just a matter of quality; if you're big into pizza, New Haven would offer something unique.

                            As for whether it's worth stopping on the way between NY and Boston, that's a whole different discussion. The OP specifically asked for Chow-worthy options between the two cities, not whether it would be worth spending less time in NY to stop along the way. I agree that in itself is an interesting topic for debate. But if the OP would prefer a leisurely drive rather than flying, you could do worse than lunch at Pepe's. Taking into account the extra time going into New Haven entails rather than taking the Merritt Parkway, it probably wouldn’t add much more than two to three hours to their trip.

                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                              Sorry FD but Providence has Italian food that beats B oston and compares with the best NYC has to offer. I'll back Al Forno against, say, Convivio. And my NY friends always stop at Pepe's: you'll have to ask them why they think it's better than NYC pizza.

                              1. re: teezeetoo

                                "And my NY friends always stop at Pepe's: you'll have to ask them why they think it's better than NYC pizza."

                                What are their names and phone numbers?

                                1. re: FoodDabbler

                                  while i have never eaten at sallie's or pepe's pizza; they have a reputation as being among the best in the country: http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-ri...

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    Leaving aside the question of how seriously one takes a list in GQ, I must point out that there are several NYC places on that same list that rank very highly. My original questions still stand: (1) How clearly superior is New Haven pizza to the best of NYC pizza, and (2) Do hounds live by pizza alone?

                                    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                      Although I generally loathe those kind of "best of" list, I do find that particular GQ list to be very credible.

                                      To answer FoodDabbler's question: New Haven pizza is not "clearly superior" to NYC pizza, but it's great pizza and just different than NYC's best. In NYC, I love Company (in Chelsea), Artichoke (on 14th St. -- the square slices only!), and Roberta's (in Bushwick), but I'll still stop at Pepe's every once in awhile. They are very different products. (I've also been to Keste, Grimaldi's, Pauli Gee's, Fanny's, Joe's, and many many others, but the three I've listed are my favorite.)

                                      Is it worth stopping for? I can't answer that, except to say that I sometimes stop for it.

                                      1. re: Blumie

                                        The answer to the "is it worth stopping?" question depends, I think, on how much time you have. If you're in the northeast for a visit and are going to be in NY and in Boston, my opinion is that it's hard to justify stopping in-between solely for food reasons (and even solely for sightseeing reasons*). You're better off eating for an extra day in New York (or Boston -- but that would be my second choice). If you're in the northeast for a lifetime, and have no plans to die young, occasionally stopping along the way to try the food makes more sense (although, as I said, I've yet to do it).

                                        * I agree with those who say the journey along the coastal route is scenic and is a sight worth seeing by itself. It's better from the train, by far, though -- you're very close to the water for long stretches and can look at the view without fear of being crushed by a truck. The best seats on the train are on the left from Boston to NY, and on the right on the reverse journey. The so-called Acela Express is much more expensive than the regular train and does the journey in only about 45 fewer minutes, but it has bigger, clearer windows and a less dingy overall feel. For a one-time deal it's worth the extra money. For a further $70 you can travel first class, get a sometimes-edible hot meal served at your seat (there's your "meal along the way" right there), then recover the cost of the whole trip in the free booze they provide.

                                        1. re: Blumie

                                          I live in NYC and have been to nearly all of the pizza places that are generally regarded as the best in the city. In my opinion Pepe's is better. Modern is pretty darn awesome too. Is it worth making an entire 2 day plan around? Maybe not. But every time we drive to New England we make sure to stop in New Haven for pizza.

                                          You could also make a case for stopping for seafood on the way down.

                                          From a purely food point of view I'd probably spend the extra day eating in NYC, however.

                                  2. re: FoodDabbler

                                    First, the OP asked for any great Chow places enroute worthy of a stop during what appears to be a somewhat leisurly drive. In the world of pizza, New Haven is considered somewhat of a Mecca with a couple of names standing out. Are there possibly better places in NYC? Maybe, but the point is to visit some place along the way and, if there is anything chow worthy, it's certainly in New Haven. I often make minor detours to see some sites enroute to various places even when I'm. quite aware that the sites to see at my destination might be "better". Sometimes it is ok to try something if only to find out for ones self what the fuss is about. That's the point. As far as getting mugged is concerned, I would advise being careful in neighborhoods by Yale and, as a native New Yorker, I could easiily rattle off many areas that I would avoid in NYC as well.

                                  3. I suspect your post would get more response on the Southern New England board.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      The post on Southern NE got one reply, a rec for Pepe's