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Burger along Merritt/Rt 15 or I-91 between Norwalk-Hartford?

yngvai Oct 11, 2011 05:57 AM

Looking for a burger stand/joint near the highway for a weekend stop between Norwalk and Hartford, traveling along the Merritt Parkway, and then getting on I-91 in Meriden.

I was planning on stopping at Glenwood in Hamden again, as I've only been there once, several years ago, but I'm curious to what other options there are on that route.

Heard about Lake Zoar in Monroe, but it's too much of a detour.

No steamed cheeseburgers, please. I've tried it at Ted's and it's not my thing. Not averse to something else in Meriden besides that.

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  1. v
    vegas RE: yngvai Oct 11, 2011 06:19 AM

    Donovans (South Norwalk) or BJ Ryans (Norwalk downtown) arent joints, they are bars, but both have great burgers and will cook them rare if thats how you like them

    1. c
      chefstu RE: yngvai Oct 11, 2011 06:23 AM

      There's a Five Guys at the New Haven/Woodbridge exit.

      1. BiscuitBoy RE: yngvai Oct 11, 2011 06:41 AM

        Can't go wrong with Glenwood. There's always Capt Seas in Wallingford, or Wayback (a small chain) near LeMays in Meriden

        1. t
          TnTinCT RE: yngvai Oct 11, 2011 01:56 PM

          No doubt - one of the best if not the best burger in CT - Shake Shack in Westport. On the Post Rd between 91 and the Merritt.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TnTinCT
            alykat RE: TnTinCT Oct 11, 2011 09:08 PM

            Sure wish I could feel the same way. I'm from St. Louis and was looking forward to a Danny Meyer restaurant in town. We like to support our own. Unfortunately I've been sorely disappointed with the quality and consistency of the burgers. As for the frozen custard concretes. . . .bland and soupy! (you should be able to turn them upside down without anything falling out) And the mix ins are big and gooey, although my kids say the pie is good. I can't imagine how a well known restaurateur from St. Louis, home of Ted Drewes on Rt. 66, can possibly make a bad frozen custard, but he's succeeded.

          2. a
            alykat RE: yngvai Oct 11, 2011 08:56 PM

            I would highly recommend Rawley's in Fairfield on Rt. 1. Delicious burgers, dogs and divine shakes. If you have time for a sit-down, try The Black Duck in Westport on the Saugutuck River near the train station.

            Black Duck Cafe
            605 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT 06880

            1. yngvai RE: yngvai Oct 12, 2011 04:40 AM

              Donovan's - agreed that they've great burgers. They've even further south than 95, though.

              Five Guys - been to the ones in Norwalk, Westport, and Brookfield. Good quality, but looking to try something else. Looks like they're putting one in Stamford right off of the Merritt exit 35, too!

              Shake Shack - liked what I had in NYC the one time I tried it, and I'll be hitting up Westport's at some point. However, I-91 isn't near Westport. That's I-95. I wish I had a bunch of errands to do in Westport, though. Get an early start, hit up Coffee An', go get stuff done, then over to Shake Shack.

              Rawley's - good call there, I prefer their dogs to SDW's. I'm staying north, though. Has the DQ next door reopened?

              Wayback - man, that is RIGHT off the Merritt/91 exchange. I had read about them before, but forgot all about the place. Reviews seem to place the quality at around the level of a 5Guys. I think I'll give that a shot! (And if it's underwhelming, I can always hit up Glenwood on the return trip!)

              Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone!

              11 Replies
              1. re: yngvai
                JenJeninCT RE: yngvai Oct 12, 2011 05:28 AM

                Have NOT been impressed with Wayback- 5 Guys is far superior (and there is one literally right off the Merritt right before you go through the tunnel if you are going north). On the Post Rd in Orange, there is Orange Ale House, which puts out a good, cooked to order, burger.

                Maybe I'm the only one, but I was NOT impressed with Plan B's burgers (Post Rd in Milford). They only offer them cooked "some" or "no" pink, and mine ordered "some" came "no"- not cool for a rare burger lover and a $10 burger!

                1. re: JenJeninCT
                  kattyeyes RE: JenJeninCT Oct 12, 2011 05:35 AM

                  I've only been to Glastonbury's Plan B and have been impressed the handful of times I've eaten there. I was able to convince (plead with?) my waiter to put in my order rare, maybe I just got lucky...then again, I did get lucky more than once! ;) And to the OP, not a "joint" anyway, but maybe an idea for another day when you feel like more of a sit-down place. Hard to grab a table at times, but eating at the bar is always an option. Nice beer selection, too!

                  1. re: kattyeyes
                    JenJeninCT RE: kattyeyes Oct 12, 2011 09:31 AM

                    I did really like the service, at least. I'm not normally a beer drinker, but our waitress was very helpful (and brought me 5 to taste!) in guiding me to 1 I liked (Narragansett Lager, BTW). I did ask for my burger to be "as pink as humanly possible", but no luck on that front.

                    (still looking for frozen hominy/posole for you, too, katty)

                    1. re: JenJeninCT
                      kattyeyes RE: JenJeninCT Oct 12, 2011 09:41 AM

                      Agree, their service shines. I think I made a similar plea re pinkness. :) Thank you very much re my frozen request, btw,--that's so nice of you!

                      1. re: kattyeyes
                        DavidA06488 RE: kattyeyes Mar 13, 2012 02:54 PM

                        I picked up some dried white corn posole at Whole Foods. First time I've seen any in CT.

                  2. re: JenJeninCT
                    LorenV RE: JenJeninCT Oct 24, 2011 06:23 PM

                    Went to Plan B Milford Saturday. Ordered some pink since I didn't want a hockey puck and some of it was flat out raw. OK burger despite but also didn't dig the "loose" nature of how they're made. Fell apart rather quickly. Decor of the place is oddly gaudy too. Still, good seeing another quality tap house open up in this area.

                  3. re: yngvai
                    alykat RE: yngvai Oct 12, 2011 10:39 AM

                    Yes, the DQ next to Rawley's is open.

                    Trying to think about places truly along the Merritt. Ah, just remembered - Sonic opened last year in Wallingford! For a quick burger, it's a fun and tasty spot. They have drive thru, skating car service, or picnic table service. Sonics are very new around here, but I've been eating them since 1977.

                    1. re: alykat
                      Low_Fat RE: alykat Oct 12, 2011 02:42 PM

                      How about Merritt Canteen in Brideport? Its about 2 miles from Exit 48 of the Merritt. On par with Rawleys. They serve Hummel dogs and very good chili.

                      1. re: Low_Fat
                        yngvai RE: Low_Fat Oct 13, 2011 04:12 AM

                        I forgot about them as an option!
                        Probably because I've never had their burgers - I've never eaten anything there other than chili dogs and onion rings.
                        Definitely have to remember them for the future.

                      2. re: alykat
                        razkel RE: alykat Oct 16, 2011 07:52 AM

                        I thought I heard that Sonic closed?

                        1. re: razkel
                          alykat RE: razkel Oct 16, 2011 08:40 AM

                          Not according to their website. The place is jammin' every time we stop there.

                    2. c
                      crackersjacks RE: yngvai Oct 14, 2011 11:39 AM

                      There's Goldburgers in Newington, a little bit of a detour since it is closer to Rt. 15 and you'll be on I-91 at that point, but worth it in my opinion.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: crackersjacks
                        LorenV RE: crackersjacks Oct 1, 2012 05:14 AM

                        Went there Saturday with the family after a football game. It was definitely FG, all around. My wife even ordered the Mac Balls which were deep fried Mac N Cheese wrapped in bacon with a spicy edge to them. She was OMG'ing the whole time. Burgers were excellent as well. Brisket and chili on a burger? Indeed. The mixed batch of regular and sweet potato fries on the side were also top notch.

                        Definitely a place to hit for burgers and dogs when in the area.

                      2. g
                        GatorMan RE: yngvai Oct 16, 2011 04:19 PM

                        The new Sitting Duck Tavern is about 5 minutes off the exit in Stratford (in the heart of Paradise Green), right before you go over the Sikorsky bridge. It's small, cozy and the burgers are great. Saturday or Sunday lunchtime should be relatively quiet there - it's after 5 when they truly get busy!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: GatorMan
                          Smitty31 RE: GatorMan Oct 17, 2011 05:30 PM

                          Right next door to the Sitting Duck Tavern is a restaurant that has been there for a while. It's called Bun n Burger. They have the BEST burgers I have had in a long time. You can get it cooked rare (that's how I like it) because they get their meat fresh everyday. You can really tell the difference. They sell a lot of other stuff too. The menu is much larger than I had expected, and everything is prepared on the premises. Definitely a place you should check out.

                          1. re: Smitty31
                            LorenV RE: Smitty31 Oct 18, 2011 09:05 AM

                            Bun-N-Burger is indeed great, being a resident. It's our nod over Jake's and sometimes Danny's. Can you believe that spot used to be a Super-Duper Weenie? Albeit for a sadly short period.

                            1. re: LorenV
                              Smitty31 RE: LorenV Oct 18, 2011 04:13 PM

                              I know! Super-Duper Weenie was in and out of that spot in a flash! Nice to see a business lasting in that location though. Especially in this economy!

                        2. f
                          fooodie RE: yngvai Oct 21, 2011 07:51 AM

                          It's not a stand, but Archie Moore's in Wallingford has pretty good burgers (and wings).

                          1. m
                            mmalmad RE: yngvai Oct 21, 2011 08:05 AM

                            OK I will start by saying it is not directly on the specified route but is close to the 95/91 merge.
                            Louis Lunch the self proclaimed inventor of the burger sandwich it is a very good burger that should be tried if for no other reason than to say you have been there.
                            Louis lunch
                            Crown st
                            New Haven

                            1. yngvai RE: yngvai Oct 23, 2011 09:39 AM

                              Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions.

                              So I gave Jake's a shot.

                              It was adequate...and that's about the best thing I can say about it.

                              Hunk of meat comes out of the cooler and onto the grill. The cook then uses the spatula the press it out flat into a burger - and I'm OK with that type of burger if it develops crispy edges or a deep mahogany crust from the grill. My burger had neither. I ordered a plain cheeseburger, so I could taste it without any other flavors competing, but the end product lacked any good beefy flavor. If I were to taste it without knowing where it was from I'd guess it was from some "regular" fast food place I'd yet to try, not one of the more premium burger places that have risen in popularity in the past several years (5Guys, Shake Shack, BS&F, etc)

                              Fries were OK, nothing great.

                              I felt kind of meh about everything. It wasn't terrible, just... not worth the wait or extra cost that comes from a place like this. Looking next door at the Wendy's I felt I could've left with the same level of apathy while saving a few dollars.

                              "Not as good as 5Guys" was an accurate comment. No need for me to try Jake's again when I travel up that way, not with a 5Guys before the tunnel in New Haven or the Glenwood 5 or 6 miles after in Hamden.

                              However, I will be heading to Stratford in the next couple of weeks! And after expressing an interest in Bun N Burger or the Sitting Duck my friends there have said BNB is worth trying.

                              NOTE - across from Jake's was a truck selling "Spanish-American Food", I believe it was called Jesse's. I didn't try it, but Chowhounders who seek out such trucks may wish to give it a go.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: yngvai
                                LorenV RE: yngvai Oct 24, 2011 09:16 AM

                                If you come to Stratford HUNGY and dig hot chili hit up Danny's Drive In, if you've never been. Burgers may not be CHOW worthy to many but their chili (search "Kuhns") is to die for.

                                Also note: Sitting Duck currently only has 2 burger options on their menu.


                                1. re: LorenV
                                  GatorMan RE: LorenV Oct 24, 2011 04:00 PM

                                  Maybe only 2 burgers, but they're GREAT burgers.
                                  I order mine medium with bleu cheese on it...DELISH!

                                  1. re: GatorMan
                                    LorenV RE: GatorMan Oct 24, 2011 06:28 PM

                                    We've been but for drinks only so far. Skeptical considering they're basically a Southport Brewing Co. sans brewing. Will check out the food soon enough though.

                                2. re: yngvai
                                  Smitty31 RE: yngvai Oct 24, 2011 05:58 PM

                                  Bun n Burger is definitely worth trying! Meat is fresh everyday and bought from a butcher locally. They make their own chili too, and while Kuhn's is alright, theirs is really good! I didn't care much for Jake's either. A chain can never truly emulate a "mom and pop" quality. Too much of a need for uniformity destroys the unique flare that is associated with independent restaurants.

                                  1. re: yngvai
                                    JenJeninCT RE: yngvai Oct 25, 2011 02:04 PM

                                    Bun n' Burger is FAR superior to Jake's and only a few minutes down the road. Nice variety, too if you're in the mood for something other than a burger.

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