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Jul 5, 2012 01:46 PM

Help!!! need suggestions near East Haddam, CT

We're driving to the Goodspeed Theater in East Haddam, CT this weekend from New York. We are looking for a recommendation for a late lunch nearby. We like high quality restaurants with chefs who use fresh, local ingredients somewhat creatively - prefer New England American farm-to-table, not ethnic food that we can get in the city.

Thanks for any advice you can give!

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  1. Sounds like River Tavern might be right up your alley. After giving up on other places for our before Goodspeed dinners (Gelston house? ugh!), we found this place right here on Chowhound. Our several experiences here have been very good, with very strong drinks menu (they use their own extracts) and great desserts ( the date pudding is outstanding). Their farm to table proclivities show well- maybe as good as Firebox in Hartford. Of 16 different mains and apps only the fresh pork sandwich was lacking (too dry). But their menu changes seasonally so it can be fun to pick and choose.

    I heard recent complaints about service and chef and possibly owner changes? But we have eaten there recently and haven't noticed any problems.

    Surprisingly varied and reasonable wine list too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thos

      Coincidentally, the Hartford Courant has an article in the paper today about a new Chester restaurant called 6 Main. All vegetarian, very into local ingredients. Sounds tasty, but I haven't been and it was not a "review" per se.

      And another thing- parking in Chester can be tough at times, evenings anyway.

    2. I think you would go over the top after you experience Livs Oyster Bar, 166 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT (860-395-5577). I give them a 10 for all my dinners there over the past two years. Check out their web site:

      1. How about the Blue Oar? River views, seafood, sandwiches, burgers. Good but not gourmet. Outdoor seating, just a little north of Bridge Rd. (Rt. 82) off Rt. 154. A few reviews have complained about service.

        4 Replies
        1. re: DonShirer

          We were at Blue Oar last night and very diappointed. Had the baby back ribs which were served cold. While the venue is great the food is not. At $24.00 one would expect much better, especially sitting on a picnic bench. We shan't return. Save your money. Agree with ZAZAZA Liv's is great especially the raw bar. Best oysters on the shoreline.

          1. re: jdgall

            Sorry to hear Blue Oar has gone downhill.
            Yes, Liv's is good - tho 20 minutes from Goodspeed.
            If going that far afield, the Griz or Gabrielles (lunch til 2 on sat, 3 on Sun) in Essex is a possibility. 15 minutes from the Goodspeed.

            1. re: DonShirer

              Griz or Gabbys are also good ideas

          2. re: DonShirer

            Glad I didn't come here first before I went to the Blue Oar yesterday. (I had never heard of the place before Friday.) It's a nice funky outdoor joint. The service was fine and friendly. I think good but not gourmet is accurate. We had the scollop (cooked perfectly) and crapcake apps and the hot lobster roll ( good portion size). Plus it's BYOB. We had a great time with the great view, nice weather, good food and pretty good wine.

          3. well - they dont have lunch but my suggestion if you want to hang around for an early dinner would be PIPS in Essex - again about 15 min south of the GoodSpeed on your way back to 95

            1 Reply
            1. re: few

              Second this idea! Love Pip's, especially in the summer when you can sit outside and enjoy the garden view.

              And if nyperr is considering the Griswold Inn (a.k.a. "the Gris"), skip the Gris itself (not their "taproom" or "historic fare" menus) and make tracks for their wine bar, which is excellent. Menu here--and, same for few's advice above, no lunch--hold out for early dinner:


              Oh, and for Pip's, DO make a reservation. Not sure having a reservation is key for the Gris.

            2. Might be too late for the OP, seeing as its sunday eve.... but when in the E. Haddam area I really enjoy the cooking company for a casual lunch. Have been going for years (used to work at the Goodspeed) and it has always been really good. Though it is casual, the food is always really great, has some "gourmet" flavor combinations, fresh ingredients and the specials change frequently and the staff are very nice. Also, it is worth mentioning-to those who have not been previously- the place has expanded and now actually has more than the 2-3 tables it used to have (has a whole seating area). As I said it is casual, almost deli counter like but it is quite tasty. Just an FYI they are NOT open on Sundays (always leads to me cussing in the parking lot because I forget lol)