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Nov 8, 2012 08:06 AM

Lunch on 84 somewhere between Hartford and Danbury?


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.


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  1. 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

      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

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

        If you want to stop in Waterbury for great hot grinders

        1. re: ebone

          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

            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

              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

              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

                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

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: njmarshall55

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

            2. 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. 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

                  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

                    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

                    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

                      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

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

                    3. 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.