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Colchester, CT - a culinary wasteland?

We recently moved to Colchester and are amazed at how little options there are for restaurants in such a large town. There are seven pizza restaurants in town. There are five Chinese restaurants in town and two of them are owned by the same owner. For upscale dining options, we have Nunu's, Cafe Mangia and Gilbertie's Place. Nunu's & Cafe Mangia are italian. And finally there is the doomed Cafe on Main who started off strong in town, but now has resorted to a $6 menu and installed an ATM to accept cash only. Seedy. I think a good mexican restaurant would kill in town. Or how about Thai, or German, or a seafood restaurant, or a good pub with good pub food, or anything except pizza and chinese. How can we get some variety in town? I know I am not alone!!

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Cafe Mangia
68 Linwood Ave, Colchester, CT 06415

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  1. I hope your move went well, it's a great place to live. I do agree with you about the lack of variety, having grown up in Colchester with all those pizza places!

    Thai or sushi/hibachi would be a great addition to town, and perhaps a family restaurant (featuring steak, burgers, seafood, etc.). Also, don't forget to try Harry's!

    1. Colchester,

      A bunch of chicken farms turned into a bedroom community cheaper and farther out than Glastonbury. It will take another 30 years and double the population in order to sustain any kind of assorted upscale restaurants.

      Unfoirtunately, you get what you pay for, when you get the lower housing costs of the outer ring of suburbs you get downscale eating as well.

      BTW>>>This is not a look down you nose at Colchester. My brother In law's family is from Colchester having settled there more than 100 years ago. I've been visiting more than 45 years and outside of a decent bakery for bread and rolls there's never been anything there worth eating. and i don't know if the bakery is still there, as I haven't been in 8 years.

      1. I'd have to agree with bagelman. Colchester is not a "large" town. It is a rural bedroom community populated by people who, for their own good reasons, want to live in a town that is very different from Glastonbury, West Hartford, Farmington or the like. In order for the culinary scene to measure up with what you are looking for, Colchester would have to lose much of the charm that makes it what it is. Glastonbury and W. Hartford have "Plan B". You have "Harry's". Therein lies the difference between the towns.

        1. I think Colchester has grown up quite a bit, at least you have a stop and shop....I'd kill for Harry's in my little town. Gonna hafta head west on 2 or 16 to 66 to Middletown for more dining options

          5 Replies
          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            I agree that Harry's is great during the months they are open. We enjoy them quite frequently in the summer. I do not agree that people in Colchester want to live in a town that is very different from Glastonbury. I think Glastonbury is over populated, has little parking and is becoming a bit saturated, however not all of the people of Colchester lack the sophistication or income to support a well run, quality restaurant - independent of course. I do not want to see a chain restaurant roll in here.

            As a side note, I saw a sign for Ichi-Ban Asian Bistro in the new shopping plaza next to Stop and Shop. Does anyone have any info on that or when it is opening? I can't find anything online.

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            Asian Bistro
            100 Market St, Rockland, MA 02370

            1. re: EasternCT

              Quote: "I do not agree that people in Colchester want to live in a town that is very different from Glastonbury. I think Glastonbury is over populated, has little parking and is becoming a bit saturated, however not all of the people of Colchester lack the sophistication or income to support a well run, quality restaurant..."

              You are making my point. People choose Colchester over Glastonbury because they view the latter as over populated, with little parking and saturated. It has nothing to do with sophistication, income, or lack thereof. It is a reasoned decision that some make and others don't. You simply cannot expect restauranteurs to try to make a go of it in a town that is less than half the size of Glastonbury, population-wise. The economics of scale are simply not there, even if the income and sophistication are. There are dozens of sub-20,000 towns in CT that have ample sophistication and income, yet have few if any restaurants of the ilk you seek. No one is going to question the income levels or sophistication of places like Sharon, Litchfield or Hebron. But that doesn't mean that investors are drooling at the prospect of opening up high end restaurants there. It all comes down to population. If one of the reasons that you chose to live in Colchester is to avoid the perceived overpopulation of other towns, that makes perfect sense. But once you do, you can't look over the fence and long for the things that the more populated towns have. Sort of like the Manhattanite who buys a vacation home in VT and then complains that there is no good deli.

              1. re: FoodieJim

                FoodieJim,
                You said a mouth full and I'm in Moodus, so talk about a wasteland. We drive 30+ anytime we choose to dine and Mangia in Colchester is one of our spots and it's quite good. It's tough to find good(and I say that based on our tastes and local) dining options within a tolerable drive. So we drive!

                D.

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                Mangia
                655 Washington St, Canton, MA 02021

                1. re: FoodieJim

                  I would agree to a point, but there is one notable exception in the area: Chester and Deep River.

                  Chester has a population of less than 3,000, but has some of the best restaurants in Middlesex County in my opinion. L and E, River Tavern, Cabo, and Simon's are all exceptional.

                  Down in Deep River you have the Whistle Stop and El and Ela's. And further afield in Essex there is Brasserie Pip, which is terrific, as well as Gabrielle's.

                  All of these places are popular and do very well, drawing much of their clientele from neighboring towns. If you do it well, people will come.

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                  Brasserie Pip
                  46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442

                  River Tavern
                  23 Main St, Chester, CT 06412

                  Whistle Stop
                  108 Main St, Deep River, CT 06417

                  1. re: eodell

                    Chester and Deep River are more tourist type towns as is most of the lower Connecticut River Valley. Anywhere there are tourists there have to be restaurants. Colchester is a small town so you would not expect ot find a lot of restaurants there unless there is a reason for people to come to the town for osme other reason. Jay

            2. FoodieJim,
              You said a mouth full and I'm in Moodus, so talk about a wasteland. We drive 30+ anytime we choose to dine and Mangia in Colchester is one of our spots and it's quite good. It's tough to find good(and I say that based on our tastes and local) dining options within a tolerable drive. So we drive!

              D.

              Mangia
              655 Washington St, Canton, MA 02021 Remove