Barnum Publick House LLC
1020 Broad St.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Word of mouth has brought baseball fans to the Barnum Publick House before a game, not only for its Americana look, but for its mouth-watering food. One thing that brings fans to this restaurant is the convenient location to Harbor Yard, home to Bluefish baseball. What keeps bringing the fans back is food like good old American tomato soup or roasted onion soup served with melted cheese and a French bread crouton. However, fans know to give themselves plenty of time so they can enjoy one of the fabulous sandwiches like the “braised short rib sandwich served with Comte cheese, a root beer glaze and house-cut fries.” However, once they taste the “drunken pasta made with rigatoni, bacon Lardons, vodka, marinara, cream and parmesan cheese, coming back for the food is as important as coming back for the game.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
238 Commerce Drive
Fairfield, CT 06825
World known for its fabulous pizza, sports fans hang out at Frank Pepe’s before and after a game at Harbor Yard or any school football, baseball and soccer game to enjoy a delicious pizza. In addition to the outstanding pizza, fans have discovered that not only is the pizza great, but Pepe’s is open every single day. If you don’t have time to eat it there, you can call ahead, pick it up and eat it at the picnic grounds at Harbor Yard.
Vaughan’s Public House
59 Pratt St.
Hartford, CT 06117
Considering that it’s only a few steps away from the XL Center in Hartford, previously known as the Hartford Civic Center, it’s not surprising that Vaughan’s is not only a popular pre-game watering hole, but a fine place to grab something to eat before the UConn games or soccer games. What is so special about this place is that it serves everything from hearty dishes like shepherd’s pie and Irish stew to fabulous thin-sliced corned beef for great “Reuben” sandwiches. People come here for consistently delivered good food.
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150 Trumbull St.
Hartford, CT 06103
Here’s a hot spot in Hartford just a few blocks from the XL Center that is popular not only before a game, but at any time. Whether, you choose to dine in the stylish and open downstairs area or upstairs in the more quiet and intimate space, you’ll delight in the unique selection of beers and a menu that features items like a roasted anjou pear salad. Who can resist that for starters or a “BBQ pork sandwich with smoked pork, shaved red onion and sweet potato fries?” Best of all, Trumbull’s Kitchen makes a great, never fails burger.
City Steam Brewery Cafe
942 Main St.
Hartford, CT 06103
So many sports fans gather at City Steam Brewery before a game at the XL Center that fans need to know that it is important to make reservations on game nights. The reason this place is so appealing to sports fans is not only because it’s less than five minutes away from the XL Center, but also because of the restaurant’s “hand formed char-broiled burgers made with 100% Angus beef – antibiotic and hormone free.” Burgers here are outrageous. No wonder sports fans are drawn here. Just think of City Steam’s specialty burgers like the Great Plains bison burger with sautéed onions and scrumptious asiago cheese or City Steam’s “Brewburger – Naughty Nurse,” which is infused with steak sauce, Swiss cheese and Colt 46 braised mushrooms.
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Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.