Looking for a dinner option in or near Springfield.
New to the area and looking for places to go. No chains, just real restaurants.
Here's a few:
Big Mamou for Cajun
Max's Tavern at the Basketball Hall of Fame
Figaro's in Enfield, CT
Theodore's for BBQ
Student Prince and the Fort for German
Ginger Blossom for Chinese without the buffet
Bueno y Sano for Mexican. Very casual, but very good food.
The Federal for upscale American. Very nice.
That should help you get started.
It sounds like you are using the term "chain" in a negative term associated to a National chain. Like Taco Bell.
5 restaurants of a local chain does not have the same meaning as a large national chain that puts out "cookie cutter" food.
The Max group is also a small local chain in MA and CT, yet there restaurants consistently put out some of the best food, coupled with great service.
I am commenting on MA locations only. My visits to CT have always been good. My last visit to Max's Hall of Fame. Our server had given her notice and was allowed to continue working. This was explained to me by the MOD. She served us wrong drinks then completely messed up our food order. She did not care. The MOD told me she had boyfriend issues etc. Not professional on either part. This was after sub par visits on prior visits. Longmeadow burgers are fair lack good flavors and cooking is off. If you are happy then you will continue to go and enjoy. You should
Big Mamou = Yes!
Max's = Cougar white trash bar scene, NO.
Figaro's = Strip Mall CT italian, NO.
Theodore's = Dive bar, "ok".
Student Prince = Rude, bad food, NO.
Adolfo's = Red sauce homage to local mafioso, NO.
Cafe Lebanon = Strip mall middle east, NO.
Ginger Blossom = Best local chinese, Yes.
Bueno y Sano = Best local mexican, Yes.
The Federal = Godawful pretentious and tacky, NO.
Lattitudes = See "The Federal", plus Cougars, NO.
I'll add that there are no "nice" restaurants in Springfield. It's a poor city with low standards. And I say that as someone who loves Springfield and loves eating out.
I eat regularly at Big Mamou, Pho Saigon, Panjabi Tadka, Red Rose Pizza, and Felix's. If you stick to honest local food, you'll be fine. If you go for the places that are supposed to be "fancy" or "trendy", you'll be horrified by the experience.
I'd give Auntie Cathie's Kitchen in West Springfield a try in another month when they get past their shakedown phase (in the old Pintu's) for brunch/lunch (especially since I am gluten-free), Pintu's (it's better and way cheaper than Indian places in Northampton where I live) and Crepes Tea House (Russian-Polish-Eastern European fare), also in West Springfield. I had a seriously good borscht there. I'd avoid any "cutlets" at Crepes, though. College dorm "mystery meat" came to mind.