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Road Food - Merrit Pkwy to 95 New Haven to Boston

Any new or old hidden gems not too far off the highway for a quick bite?

We do this drive quite a few times a year and looking for some new ideas.

We've enjoyed Louis and Pizza Wars in New Haven. How are those ever increasing food trucks by the water? Any standouts?

Dog Fish in Stoningham, used to like Little Kitchen in Mystic, but not since the location change. Never found the perfect bite in Old Saybrook, but I know it's there. Bishops Farm is the perfect exit for a quick gasup and farm stand shopping. Have enjoyed a bit of shopping on Federal Hill, or a muffin and perfect cappuccino at 7 Stars bakery. . .

What makes you leave the highway for a quick retreat and a bit of adventure?

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  1. I used to do that drive a lot, sometimes I would go Merritt Pkwy to 91 to 84 to Mass pike to Boston. Rein's Deli at exit 65 off I-84 in Vernon is arguably the best between NYC and Boston.

    19 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        84 skirts around downtown Hartford, and is a slightly shorter route. It's a good road now after many years of construction.

        1. re: Veggo

          I am conditioned to hate 84; maybe I should try it again.

        2. re: magiesmom

          For our current door to door - taking the shoreline 95 works for us. Plus I always loathed that stretch between Hartford and the Pike when that was the shorter route. I guess, had I stopped at Reins?!?!. Perhaps we will add some driving time and take that route in the future. Also in that neck of the woods that we stop at going to Western MA is a bbq joint in Sturbridge you might like - BT's Smokehouse.

            1. re: Bellachefa

              Those are our two favorite stops-BTs and Reins. Usually one on they way there and the other on the way back.

              1. re: foodieX2

                Does Rein's have hard salami? Went there once (5-6 years ago) and they didn't. How can you be a deli without hard salami?

                1. re: L2k

                  I never looked, I always go for Reuben!

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    I just phoned Rein's. Yes, they have hard salami. I like these easy questions!

                    1. re: Veggo

                      LOL!! I guess L2K could have done that too. You are a trooper!

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        Except when I went there they didn't have it, so I thought it a Fool's errand.

                        Glad things have changed, we will have to consider it when we tire of Pepe's in Manchester and BT's on our travels

                        1. re: L2k

                          So we went there yesterday.

                          They don't have hard salami. Not on the menu now, not "ever" as far as the waitress told us.

                          They also have mashed potato styled potato pancakes, which, to be fair, is just a preference thing, but not my preference.

                          I repeat. If you don't carry Hard Salami, you're not a "New York Style Deli".

                          Although we had an acceptable lunch, we won't be back. Too many other options along the route.

                          They won't miss us, I'm sure, considering the line out the door at 1PM

                          1. re: L2k

                            Mendacity! That question was the purpose of my call!

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Veggo....
                              Number one rule in retail (and restaurants are retail) get the customer in the door. Retailers often train their employees to tell any caller that the item is in stock/available. When they come in, sell them something else.
                              The diner at Reins (which I detest) has already pulled off the interstate and waited for a table, looked at the menu, and is hungry, they won't walk out, they will order.

                              When we had our 15 clothing stores and a customer came in and asked for an oddball item, standard answer was.."I'm so sorry, we just sold the last one an hour ago, may I show you something else?"

                            2. re: L2k

                              L2k....
                              I am not defending Rein's, I've hated their food for more than 30 years, BUT>>>>>>>>>

                              You may have a nomenclature problem at work here.

                              I was in the kosher deli business in the 70s, and come from a NY family.

                              What we call hard salami is actually ordinary beef salami, that has been hung to dry out (fat and moisture drips out) for weeks and gets very hard and difficult to slice and chew (if not sliced very thin).

                              In Connecticut, if one would go to the deli counter in the supermarket you woud encounter two types of salami for sale: Hard salami--which is the consistency of regular Hebrew National salami and Genoa Salami, a far more oily/greasy product that is pork based.

                              In our deli we sold regular kosher beef salami and hard salami that had been hung and dried.

                              Which product wre you seeking?

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  I like the stuff that has been hanging out to dry and is difficult to slice and chew. I can get that at many NYC delis, and I can get it at Zaftigs (when they have it in stock, which is usually, but not always, not a problem).

                                  Tangent: Many many years ago, when I lived at home with my parents, we had a Golden Retriever. This dog would eat anything, other than cherry tomatoes, but Hard Salami was her favorite food of all. If my father was bringing some home, that dog knew it before the car was in the garage.

                                  1. re: L2k

                                    Too funny...............
                                    Our Golden Retriver Sniffy (number 3 of 4 with the same name <1965-1982>) adored dried salami. We had to make sure that when we hung it to dry in the mud room off the kitchen that it hung above his ability (maximum height) to jump.

                                    again, here in CT many delis will know dried salami, as opposed to hard salami

              2. We make special trips to Federal Hill. Usually to get Casertas pizza and good burrata, antipasti and specialities items at Tony's. Sometimes Vendas but I have been disappointed with my last two pastas.

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodieX2

                  Thanks, will check them out. We do like stopping at Constantino Vendas for their sausage. Tuscan, Rabe, Sweet and Hot. Other then that antipasti items, butcher and cheese sections. Only occasionally buy the pasta. Their sauces are confusing without expiration dates. I often stop by at Tony's as well if we venture up the hill.

                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    I never bought the sausage, the Rabe soundly really interesting! Thanks back atcha.

                    ETA- the Casertas freezes really well, layered between wax paper. We always buy an extra just have on hand.

                  1. re: DonShirer

                    Thanks so much, will be helpful for the next trip. We ended up getting some italian provisions on Atwells Ave, debating a snack or sandwich or slice, but decided to cook instead! Leaving NY this morning we might have stopped at the old location of Little Kitchen in Mystic. Although the new spot has a view, we loved the original right off the highway. So we journeyed on.

                  2. This is a great thread, because I make this trip every year. I'll be sure to check in next summer before we start out.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bcc

                      Look for updates on highway construction, that has been the deal maker/breaker for about 40 years.

                    2. Late Dec 2013, we stopped at Frank Pepe's in Manchester CT on a Sunday afternoon returning from NYC and liked the clam pizza (our first time at any Pepe's).

                      Funny thing is, we first stopped at "Pepe's," also in Manchester but in a different part of town on our way to NYC, on Friday night. My food navigating friend (ie, hubby B, but I'm not blaming anyone), said "let's go to Pepe's for dinner!" I said "sure!" It looked suspect from the outside, and I mentioned this. Sure enough, after we ordered our white clam pizza, we found out from a loud, drunk woman drinking Bud Light out of a football-shaped glass (not that there's anything wrong with that) that we were not in THE Pepe's, but a (sad) facsimile. She loves the place and food. We did not.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: digga

                        When in Manchester and craving serious pizza, if you don't mind veering off 84, head for Mulberry Street. Try "The Italian Job" - white pizza with a lemon cream sauce, prosciutto, caramelized onions, fresh basil and Romano cheese. PERFETTO!
                        http://themulb.com/menu/

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lqtN...

                      2. I am assuming you cut over to 95 at the connector in Milford. Last night I ate at GG's which is on the Post Rd at the end of the connector. I had the wood fired wings which were good and the duck pizza, very good. They had a nice menu of entree's as well, and some interesting pizza and a daily meatball selection. Bar area seemed noisy but dining area OK, service was good. And oddly a camera facing the pizza oven so you can watch the pizza go in the oven.