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Top Food Destinations In Connecticut Locals Love

November 2, 2013 8:00 AM

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(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

A good meal can be had almost anywhere, but a great meal, well, that takes some hunting and some traveling, and fortunately Connecticut has a lot of great little places where the food is the destination. Here are just five that are as unique as they are different from one another, each of which has a loyal local following as well as a cadre of patrons who travel from across the state to enjoy their fare.

Adrienne
218 Kent Road, Route 7
New Milford, CT 06776
(860) 354-6001
www.adriennerestaurant.com

Why do people around New Milford love to come to Adrienne? Because it is not just her restaurant – it is her home, and a stately, lovely manor house of a home at that. It also helps that the host, Adrienne Sussman, is a chef who learned her craft at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, the Arizona Biltmore and the Waldorf-Astoria’s Peacock Alley. From all-natural baked goods to vegetarian specialties, as well as her own take on traditional American and seasonal New England cuisine, Adrienne Sussman offers something for everyone, including “cigar and cognac dinners.” She also hosts cooking classes and caters weddings.

Black Rabbit Bar & Grille
2 Ethan Allen St.
Lakeville, CT 06039
(860) 596-4227
www.blackrabbitbarandgrille.com

Nobody in the Northwest Corner makes French fries like the Black Rabbit Bar & Grille in Lakeville. That’s because they are home made, deep fried and come dressed with truffle oil and sprinkled with shaved parmesan. For those seeking to make their pommes frites into a meal all their own, the Black Rabbit will top them with a mountain of chili and cheddar, capped with a dollop of sour cream and chives.  Locals (and parents who come to visit their children at the very nearby Hotchkiss, Salisbury and Indian Mountain schools) also love the “Duck Drums” and Indian-spiced pork, not to mention very juicy burgers and steaks grilled to perfection. While there are many local pizza parlors in the Twin Lakes towns of Lakeville and Salisbury, the Black Rabbit makes a gourmet pizza in its own brick-fired oven, which it also uses when teaching classes on how to make the perfect pizza.

Related: Top Tableside Restaurant Preparations In Connecticut

Melt Mobile
Stamford, CT
(203) 667-1971
www.facebook.com/MeltMobile

Food trucks, like restaurants, have their faithful followers, and perhaps few more fanatic than those who follow Darlene Andersen and Diana Hall’s rolling “Melt Mobile.” Even they are a little surprised at just how far out of the way people will go to track down their “take it cheesy” rolling restaurant. Then again, never underestimate the lure of a really good grilled cheese sandwich – especially the ones these two make. Their creations are unique and amazing. Who else would melt cheesecake between two slices of pound cake, or take Tuscan bread and cream cheese and turn it into the sandwich equivalent of a Girl Scout Cookie (an homage to the popular Samoa)? Darlene and Diana offer four unique creations daily, and while the Monte Cristo and Mademoiselle routinely appear on the menu, there are always new surprises – from Jalapeno Popper Melts to Blanco Melts – courtesy of two women who welcome the nickname given to them by their Facebook fans: “The Melt Girls.”

Bill’s Seafood
548 Boston Post Road
Westbrook, CT 06498
(860) 399-7224
www.billsseafood.com

Dining at the shore has a special lure for many in Connecticut, and while there are those who like fancy tablecloths and string quartets playing in the background as they crack their lobsters, others want something a lot more casual, where the fish comes fried and the fries come in a plastic basket. At Bills’ Seafood ,they get that and more, from gum-chewing waitresses to the hum of the nearby “Singing” Bridge. The center of Bill’s is a sports bar, with two or more big TVs going at all times – except when the live entertainment shows up. To the front are some quiet booths on the enclosed porch, and in the back is a big deck with patio tables and umbrellas – and a parade of ducks patiently floating by hoping for patrons to toss them a few fries or shreds of buns.

Related: Top Tasting Menus In Connecticut

Staropolska
252 Broad St.
New Britain, CT 06053
(860) 612-1711
www.staropolska.net

Connecticut is more than the Greenwich sweater and pearls crowd; it is a state with rich ethnic neighborhoods, with food to match. For those longing for a true Old World experience, Bogdan Malinowksi’s famous Staropolksa restaurant and deli in New Britain is the place to go. The red borscht flows like the Vistula River itself, and here can be found those great tastes of Warsaw: kielbasa, golumpkis, pierogies, bigos and, of course, placki ziemniaczane. For those not of Polish heritage, those items are, in order: sausage, stuffed cabbage rolls, dumplings, meat stew and potato pancakes. There are many variations of the above as well as a long list of other Polish and East European specialties to choose from, along with plenty of good Polish and German beer to wash it all down and toast “Na zdrowie!”

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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