HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >
What's your latest food project? Get great advice

Lunch on 84 somewhere between Hartford and Danbury?

ebone Nov 8, 2012 08:06 AM


Will be driving from Boston to Philly tomorrow and was thinking about a stop somewhere along the way for lunch. I thought it would be better to stop somewhere along I 84 in CT rather than try and do it in the greater NYC area. Does anyone have any suggestions that would be relatively convenient on that stretch of 84 between Hartford and Danbury? Honestly, any cuisine is acceptable, it just has to be good food.


  1. a
    awm922 Nov 8, 2012 09:41 AM

    We always like the Blue Colony Diner when traveling through that area. Lots to choose from. Food is good quality, "Diner Food". Great desserts. Very convenient. Right off of 84 in Newtown, CT.


    8 Replies
    1. re: awm922
      ebone Nov 8, 2012 12:02 PM

      I like a good diner now and again, especially since we don't really have them in Boston, so it can be kind of a treat.

      Does anyone know if it's worth it to get off the highway to go to Pepe's? I realize it is not the original, but I have never been either way...

      Anything else in Danbury that might be worth the detour?

      1. re: ebone
        brookerme Nov 8, 2012 12:16 PM

        I'm a fan of the Pepe's branches.

        If you want to stop in Waterbury http://www.avventuradeli.com/ for great hot grinders

        1. re: ebone
          SteveSCT Nov 8, 2012 01:31 PM

          I recently pulled off the highway in Manchester (before Hartford, when going southbound) to have dinner at Pepe's on the way to Maine, and it was worthwhile. A step down from the original, to be sure, but still way above the average pie.

          We frequently stop at Nardelli's Grinders in Waterbury. They won best grinder in the state from CT magazine for several years. That claim may be open to dispute, but they have a variety of hot and cold sandwiches that my family enjoy. It is just off the highway (exit 25, I believe), so it is an easy pit stop on a road trip.

          1. re: SteveSCT
            L2k Nov 9, 2012 07:21 AM

            I agree with Pepe's. Not quite the same as New Haven, but still better than any alternatives.

            For a Diner alternative, we've never had a bad meal at Town Line Diner in Rocky Hill

            1. re: L2k
              Clams047 Nov 9, 2012 01:29 PM

              I'll second the Rocky Hill Town diner as well as the Cromwell Diner (Exit 21 - I-91) as being an excellent, quick stop, but neither is all that close to I-84 without taking a fairly significant detour.

              I've never found anything all that great along the I-84 stretch, except perhaps a hot dog at Blackies (exit 26 off I-84 in Chesire) or Demo's Snack Bar / Diary bar in Southbury (between exit 14/15 off I-84).

              If time isn't too much of a factor and you want an excellent meal, East Side Restaurant in New Britain serves excellent German style (closed Mondays).

            2. re: SteveSCT
              jcmods Oct 14, 2013 01:48 PM

              I thought I was finally going to get to try Nardelli's after driving past it hundreds of times. (it's a little tricky to get to if you are coming from the direction of Boston. A couple of turns to get to Main Street). But anyway, we got there and it was CLOSED on Sunday!! You would think they would do a booming football business. Anyway, it seems they are "closed most Sundays" whatever that means. Something to consider. We were not the only people who were bummed out that day. Seems to be quite a destination.

              However, they are opening one up in Southington soon.

              1. re: jcmods
                kattyeyes Oct 14, 2013 04:02 PM

                If you don't mind taking a couple of turns off the highway, you can find much better grinders in Hartford than Nardelli's could ever dare to dream. Maple Giant Grinders on Adelaide Street makes my grinder of choice, but they're not open Sundays, either.


                I'm sure folks here can provide other quality grinder options closer to 84 if that's what you're after.

                1. re: jcmods
                  jcmods Nov 6, 2013 05:50 AM

                  PS, one thing I totally forgot to mention is that there is an Albanian Social Club right next to Nardellis. It looks pretty interesting if someone is interested in Bourek's. Unfortunately, I did not have time to check it out.

          2. njmarshall55 Nov 9, 2012 09:59 AM

            Exit 44 will take you right to the GoldRoc Diner. Always a good place to stop.

            1 Reply
            1. re: njmarshall55
              ratbuddy Nov 9, 2012 12:55 PM

              He asked for good food, though, and Gold Roc by no means qualifies.

            2. junescook Nov 9, 2012 02:29 PM

              Chuck's Steak House at exit 4 (take a left and a quick right) has a nice salad bar (with freshly baked sourdough bread) and great burgers plus other reasonable entrees at lunch.


              1. a
                AdamD Nov 10, 2012 10:31 AM

                Not much worth stopping for between hartford and danbury. Maybe a classic connecticut chili dog at saints in southington (a true dive). Other than that, nothing that is destination worthy.

                5 Replies
                1. re: AdamD
                  Leslie Nov 10, 2012 10:46 AM

                  I'm not really familiar with the area, but I don't believe the OP was looking for
                  "destination worthy" food. The destination is Philadelphia and OP is looking for a few ideas for more than OK food along the way. I used to visit Hartford and West Hartford, which are right off of I-84. I recall a variety of ethic places in the area. among other places, but have not been the area for a while.

                  1. re: Leslie
                    AdamD Nov 10, 2012 10:57 AM

                    By destination worthy I mean place that are more than a mile or two off 84.
                    There is good food in hartford and west hartford, but it will add 20-30 minutes to your trip to seek them out.

                  2. re: AdamD
                    jcmods Nov 10, 2012 10:54 AM

                    That reminds me, Blackie's in Cheshire is kind of a destination hot dog place. Where is "Saint's?" We visit Southington all the time.

                    1. re: jcmods
                      AdamD Nov 10, 2012 11:06 AM

                      Off exit 32 past the fast food joints.

                      Its a true dive but the chili dogs are very good. Its considered one of the "classic" CT hot dog spots.

                    2. re: AdamD
                      njmarshall55 Nov 12, 2012 12:04 PM

                      Just up the road from Saints is Pagliacci's Italian. Never a bad meal so far. Portions are large, too. Prices decent.

                    3. jcmods Nov 10, 2012 10:51 AM

                      We drive this stretch all the time. Admittedly, we never really stop to eat anywhere because it is only a 1.5 hour drive for us. However, I have heard good things about a vietnamese place off exit 6 in Danbury (If you are heading east it is exit 5). A few years back, Jim Leff wrote that Danbury is a chowhound Mecca. I don't really know if that is still true. There was some sort of hungarian goulash lady there.

                      The only drawback is that Philly has lots of good Vietnamese places now. I know because they started springing up left and right the minute we moved back to NY.


                      1. kevinricci Nov 13, 2012 05:37 AM

                        I attended college in Pennsylvania when dinosaurs romed the Earth. During our many road trips we liked to stop at Rein's NY Deli in Vernon, CT. It's just east of Hartford and right off of 84.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: kevinricci
                          bagelman01 Nov 13, 2012 06:35 AM

                          also attended college in PA more than 40 years ago...............................
                          Rein's quality has steadilly gone downhill over the years

                          1. re: bagelman01
                            L2k Nov 13, 2012 07:24 AM

                            Went there once, they call themselves a "deli" and don't have Hard Salami.

                            1. re: bagelman01
                              dennisl Dec 17, 2012 05:40 AM

                              I agree. The last few times I was there it was a definite disappointment, more fast food atmosphere and (almost) food.

                          2. ebone Nov 13, 2012 07:23 AM

                            Thank you all for the suggestions. If I do this trip again, I will consult this list and maybe try something different next time. To be clear, my intent was to find something good to eat along the way (a 6ish hour trip), so that we wouldn't have to stop at McDonalds or the like. Ultimately we ended up at Frank Pepe's in Danbury and thought it was delicious (we had a half pepperoni pie). We had never been to the original, so we did not have that standard to compare it to. The pizza was charred on the edges, but chewy/crunchy in the interior with a nice sauce to cheese ratio. Pizzeria Regina in Boston sets the standard for me and this was right there with it. We would definitely go there again (and would love to hit the original). Thank you all for the recommendations.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ebone
                              Waquoit Dec 17, 2012 05:31 AM

                              Thanks. I always like reading the follow-up.

                            2. jcmods Dec 17, 2012 04:55 PM

                              Too late for the OP, but now that I think of it, there are a couple of turkish restaurants around exit 25 or thereabouts (near a huge mosque). Anyone ever tried those?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jcmods
                                junescook Dec 17, 2012 06:51 PM

                                We tried the deli one, I think Fatoush, and found it awful. We asked for gyros. They took precooked meat out of the cooler, put it into a wrap, stuck in some french fries, also from the cooler, put all into the microwave and served that to us. Never again. As far as the restaurant next door is concerned, it has changed hands twice since we've been there so I can't comment on it. Now go to the building just past their's and you can get a grinder at Nardelli's.

                                1. re: junescook
                                  jcmods Dec 18, 2012 02:38 PM

                                  I guess the other one is called Sultan's Turkish Restaurant. I actually found it on Yelp.

                              2. jcmods Jan 2, 2013 12:44 PM

                                We actually found another vietnamese place off exit 46 in West Hartford. The name of the place is Pho 206 on 206 Park Avenue (which is about three miles from the exit, but fairly simple to find). We found it because we also wanted to visit the Mark Twain House and Museum which is in the same general area. It seems like there are a lot of vietnamese places in West Hartford. We both had the beef Pho and thought it was better than what we've had here in New York (and we dont have any in Westchester County where we live).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jcmods
                                  kattyeyes Jan 3, 2013 12:50 PM

                                  Very cool. Definitely quite a few Vietnamese options in the Park Road area. Thanks for sharing one more.


                                  ;) Winking because, by the way, Park ROAD...much less schmantzy than Park AVENUE. ;)

                                  P.S. to you, jcmods. Lately, I find tips and new info more often on Yelp instead of here. Wish folks would chime in more frequently. Thanks again. It's perfect pho weather!

                                  1. re: jcmods
                                    kattyeyes Jan 26, 2013 05:31 PM

                                    I had Hue's spicy hot beef noodle soup for lunch today. It was hot as hell--the kind of hot that leaves your lips hot and tingling a good long while after eating. But some of the beef was tough--how does THAT happen? I'm accustomed to pho with thinly sliced rare beef. And I know much tastier pho can be found around here. Luckily, we do not lack for Vietnamese restaurants in this area.

                                    Oh, and service? Funny. Place order. Order is served. End of story and end of service. HA HA HA!

                                  Show Hidden Posts