casual restaurants along I-84 & I-95 through CT & RI
In June, we'll be making an out and back trip from Cleveland, OH to Kingston, RI through NY state, then dropping down to I-84 & I-95 to make our way through CT. Are there any notable casual restaurants not too far from the highway along that stretch? Menu can be pretty much anything (ice cream, coffee/beverages, pizza, local cuisine, diner, etc). We're just looking for unique stops along the way (and kid-friendly, but doesn't necessarily need to have a kids' menu specifically). What's the fun of traveling if fast food chains are your only option?
Also, if anyone has suggestions for great casual (non-chain) lunch or dinner places in Kingston, RI or Narragansett, RI, I'm all ears. Where to get high quality seafood? Way better than just average burgers/sandwiches? Doughnuts other than the Dunkin variety?
I'm not sure of your route, but if you come through New London, CT you could go to Captain Scott's Lobster Dock. It's in an odd out of the way spot, but has great lobster rolls and seafood. You sit outside at picnic tables by a marina. The food is much better than Abbott's in Noank (10 min down the road) which is a big tourist destination in our area. Abbott's is much more scenic--you drive through beautiful Noank and sit on a lawn by the water, but the food isn't as good. I guess it depends on which you care more about. Both places would be good for kids.
Captain Scott's Lobster Dock
80 Hamilton St, New London, CT 06320
If you come back on I-95, consider getting off at exit 65 in Westbrook. There are two nice family friendly restaurants you might consider. Edd's Place on Rt. 1 is a casual deli-restaurant with gazebo and outdoor seating overlooking a wetland (look for egrets or ospreys), and Lenny and Joes' Fish Tale a little further down the road has great seafood (try the lobster roll) with indoor and screen room seating. You can pop back onto I-95 (at exit 64) from the road next to L&J's.
Fish Tale Restaurant
86 Boston Post Rd, Westbrook, CT 06498
The Place in Guilford, CT on Rt. 1. It's an outdoor clambake where your food is cooked over an open fire.
The Clam Castle in Madison, CT on Rt. 1.Small roadside place with great fried seafood, burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings.
Frank Pepe's in New Haven, CT on Wooster St. World Famous thin crust pizza. Famous for a White Clam Pizza
Louis' Lunch in New Haven, CT. Claims to be the first place in the US to serve the hamburger. Served on toast in unique upright cookers.
Chick's Drive-In, West Haven, CT. Old fashioned drive in right across from the beach. Garage doors open to lots of counter for ordering split griddled hot dogs, burgers, seafood, fries and onion rings. Sit outside or inside.
Bill's Seafood on the Westbrook, Clinton, CT line on Rt. 1. Foot long hot lobster rolls, great seafood, burgers, dogs, etc. Sit outside on the inlet and listen to the cars go over the "singing" bridge.
Abbott's in the Rough in Noank, CT. Steamed lobsters, clams, hot lobster sandwich. Outdoor seating on the water. Very casual atmosphere. Kids can feed the fish on the patio. Great ice cream from a local dairy.
Mystic Pizza in Mystic, CT. Made famous by the movie with Julia Roberts. Good pizza. Great part of town to walk around and get an ice cream.
That's a start. Hope it helps.
263 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06511
1324 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443
Bill's Seafood Restaurant
, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
56 W Main St, Mystic, CT 06355
So 1-84 http://www.bluecolonydiner.com/
I-684 to Meriden
http://www.klamayssteamedcheeseburgers.com/ (regional specialty-great cheese
)I-91 to New Haven
http://www.pepespizzeria.com/ world's best pizza-try a white clam
I-95 to shoreline places above
I would like to suggest Stowe's seafood, instead of Chicks drive in. Chicks is for the masses, and is a very hard scape...concrete picnic tables. Stowes is literally a few doors down, more of a true "clam shack", and definitely more of a New England style. I also prefer Stowe's food over Chicks.
Kingston is actually a village that is part of the larger South Kingstown... so don't limit your search to Kingston and Narragansett only. In SK, Matunuck Oyster Bar is not to be missed! It's a very no-frills spot, but Bluebird Cafe on Kingstown Rd. serves amazing breakfasts, and dinner on Friday nights only (BYOB). Sweet Cakes serves great pastries, and has some great sandwich offerings, soups, and quiche. We also love Pick Pockets for sandwiches, but it's more of a take-out kind of place.
I also second the vote for Crazy Burger in Narragansett. Markos is a couple of doors down from Crazy Burger, and is also quite good. Turtle Soup is right by the sea wall, and might also fit the bill for you.
Thanks for all of the great suggestions! We're looking forward to trying them out next week. I do have an update... our driving plans have changed slightly. We will, instead, be avoiding I-95 like the plague on our way into town. Our current plan is to take I-86 and I-88 through NY state, then get onto I-90 into MA before dropping down to Kingston through the Providence, RI area. Given that new info, does anyone have other recs to add to my list?
I'm really looking forward to this trip and trying some of these places out! Thanks again for all of the wonderful info.