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

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

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

        1. 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

            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. 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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                  2. re: JenJeninCT

                    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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                        I thought I heard that Sonic closed?

                        1. re: razkel

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

                    2. 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

                        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. 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

                          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

                            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

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

                          1. 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. 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

                                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

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

                                  1. re: GatorMan

                                    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

                                  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

                                    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.