Where to stop to eat in CT?
Driving from Philly to Boston this weekend so I thought CT might be a good place to stop to eat late dinner/evening snack. Some of the places we'll be driving through are Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. Anything come to mind that would be worth the stop/trip? A must see or must eat venue? Any Microbrews/Brew Pubs? THANKS!
I'm getting out of Boston and may be revisiting a CT road trip of a few years ago, so am checking on recent posts. Some things I can recommend are Bar in New Haven for pizza and interesting beer. You can get into this place easier than the more famous pizza places in NH. Louis Lunch is historic, the home of the hamburger. I've heard good things about Ibiza.
In Fairfield, get a great hot dog at Super Duper Weenie.
In Hartford, these guys have pretty good restaurants.
I'd recommend Luncheria Valencia in Norwalk; they do Venezuelan "Beach Food" with arepas, burritos, sandwiches, empanadas, entrees, and they always have interesting specials.
It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009, back when it was a very small place, and they have since expanded to a much larger venue, and the food continues to be solid.
They now have a full bar with some interesting drinks as well.
The kitchen is open till 9pm on Fri-Sat, so I'm not sure if that falls in your 'late dinner' time slot or not.
A lot depends on whether you take 95 or the Merritt. They will both have lots of traffic on a holiday Friday, though I think your odds are better on the Merritt. Unfortunately, the dining options are significantly poorer. I'll assume that you don't want too much of a detour from the highway, and that you want something unique to CT
Joanie beat me to the punch on Super Duper Weenie and Louis Lunch, both near 95. Although Louis stays open past midnight to cater to drunk Yalie's, Super Duper closes at 8 or 9 PM. While I have enjoyed a few of the Max's restaurants, which are very dependable and high-quality, I don't find them necessarily worth a special detour.
I second cardiak's rec for Valencia - it's in between 95 and the Merritt, just off US 7. It's been one of my favorite restaurants since it opened, even when Guy F. made it "too popular" for its old location. You can now get a table or eat at the bar in its new home a few doors down. (If they are way too crowded, Nicholas Roberts is a well-crafted American place a few blocks away.)
New Haven is certainly one of the world's great pizza destinations. There are several other CH posts detailing the whole gamut of CT and NH pizza, so you can decide for yourself, or have a "plan B" in mind. I like Sally's best, but find the wait interminable.
If you take I-95 and get hungry before New Haven, you can stop for pizza at Colony in Stamford (or Fairfeld) or Pepe's in Fairfield, which is around the corner from Super Duper. (The original is in New Haven, with branches in Fairfield and Manchester, among others). My favorites are the hot oil pie at the Colony, and the white clam pie at Pepe's.
Another spot unique to CT is Ted's in Meriden. It's very close to where the Merritt meets I-91. Their specialty is the steamed cheeseburger, cooked in a unique apparatus. It sounded gross before I tried it for the first time, but I was wrong, and my teenagers want every road trip to include a stop there.
Another frequent pit stop of ours is Nardelli's Grinders in Waterbury or Naugatuck. That works if you take Rte 8 from the Merritt to I-84. They have won best sub in CT for years on end, but I'm sure that there are hoagie shops in Philly that are as good if not better.
Don't get out much, but in the Hartford area, IF you're coming up 84, check out the plethora of places in West Hartford (not far off the interstate). Assuming you're looking for something better than national chains, Wood-n-Tap is a very good local chain (Hartford, Southington locations). On the other side of Hartford (not far) is Rein's NY Style Deli. Trumbull Kitchen is always good. And this link will get you a list of local breweries...