So you have made the brilliant and possibly best decision of your life, you have decided to come to Connecticut for a weekend of PLL lacrosse. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, Connecticut is a hell of a time.
Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton is known as the “Home of the Submarine Force”. Sikorsky Aircraft builds helicopters for the military. So if you have something bad to say about Connecticut, you have something bad to say about the troops. Sit with that for a second, why don’t you.
You can visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford, or you can head to Bridgeport and check out the PT Barnum museum. Ever been to the circus? You’re welcome. It’s from CT.
But if you’re anything like me, you go to a new place, you have one main question. Where am I going to eat? Well good news, Connecticut has the best pizza in America. But that’s not all. Particularly in the Fairfield area, there are a myriad of places to eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy the Constitution State. Here’s a few of my favorites:
In Fairfield: Country Cow, Pine Creek Deli
Near Fairfield: Liz Sue Bagels in Norwalk
The Country Cow deli is about 5 minutes from the campus of Fairfield U and is considered by many to be the best bacon egg and cheese in southern Connecticut. I go with two eggs and add some hot sauce, on a roll, and a very tall water to help with whatever happened the previous evening. Pine Creek Deli also makes a spectacular breakfast sandwich and is near Fairfield U.
Outside of Fairfield, you can head about 15-20 minutes south into Norwalk and go to Liz Sue Bagels. Having had my fair share of NY bagels, I confidently say that Liz Sue is not just comparable to, but better than any bagel you can get in New York City. Sausage egg and cheese on a nicely toasted everything for me here. If the chorizo is available, make that your primary meat. Liz Sue does some delicious lunch sandwiches as well. Some other great breakfast spots in Fairfield worth a visit are Tasty Yolk and Harborview Market, but a bit north into Black Rock.
In Fairfield (basically): A&S Italian Fine Foods
Near Fairfield: Gaetano’s in Westport
Both places have elite chicken cutlet sandwiches, although Gaetano’s narrowly gets the edge. There are multiple A&S locations, my preferred spot is Norwalk, but the sandwiches are great at all of them. An italian combo with some vinegar peppers never fails to hit the spot. When it comes to cutlets, they get made every day. I put mine on a wedge (hero, sub, hoagie, here we say wedge) with some fresh mozzarella, red onion, roasted red peppers, and balsamic vinegar.
Gaetano’s chicken cutlets are some of the best anywhere in CT. Enjoy yourself a Stratford & Main (basically the sandwich I just described), or of course just do your own thing. I’m also a big fan of their DiCaprio sandwich, with sopressata, capicola, and mozzarella. At either Gaetano’s or A&S, whatever sandwich you get will be great, you don’t need any help from me with an order to get some delicious.
Of note is Centro, in downtown Fairfield. Is a restaurant and not a deli or sandwich place, but their menu has the bellagio sandwich, which is spectacular. Firehouse Deli in Fairfield is decent as well and right downtown.
Connecticut has no shortage of delis, and we are passionate about them. It’s tough to find anything but a great sandwich anywhere.
In Fairfield: Archie Moore’s
Near Fairfield: Dew Drop Inn in Derby
Archie Moore’s wings always hit the spot. The vibes are perfect whenever you go. Grab a seat at the bar, order a dozen wings and a beer, and enjoy. The sandwiches and other apps are good too, but if you’re here, it’s gotta be for the wings. It’s a great spot. They do all sorts of flavors but I’m pretty traditional and just stick to buffalo. They have the right amount of heat, crunch, and flavor. Not that it matters here but I will also reveal now that flats are better than drums every time.
If you want some incredible wings, head about 25 minutes north of Fairfield to Derby and hit up the Dew Drop Inn. It’s small, only a couple tables and a bar, but the wings are the best around. They also have a laundry list of flavors. The various dry rubbed wings are incredible, and I love the lemon pepper as well. People say the peanut butter and jelly wings are great, I haven’t ever worked up the nerve to try them. Whenever I go off the grid, I go with sweet chili asian glaze or parm garlic butter.
In Fairfield: Tequila Revolucion, Senor Salsa
Near Fairfield: Bartaco in Westport
Tequila Revolucion is the spin off from Tequila Mockingbird, a Mexican food mainstay in New Canaan for 40 years. Both places have essentially the same menu, with former employees/chefs leaving the New Canaan location to open the Fairfield location. For years, Tequila Mockingbird laid claim to having the largest selection of tequilas available on the eastern seaboard. If that’s your thing, this is your spot. The margaritas are delicious and deadly, and really hit the spot on a summer day. For food, I tend to stick to the specials, since there’s usually something seasonal and local on them. Whatever you do, absolutely make sure you order some Steak Tostada Nachos. If none of the specials speak to you, baja fish tacos hit the spot every time.
Also worth a mention, Senor Salsa. You’ll arrive at this place and think it’s a chain restaurant or dump. It is not. It is excellent. Tacos al pastor, carnitas, whatever your protein of choice, it’s a great taco here. It’s also hard to go wrong with a combo plate; I’ve never had such an easy time crushing Mexican food.
If you are leaving Fairfield, head to Westport and hit up Bartaco. They have locations in Stamford and a few other places as well. It’s more modern Mexican and upscale food, but still delicious. Margaritas are also excellent here, although maybe not quite as good as Revolucion. Can’t go wrong with any of those, and they are all good for families.
In Fairfield: Colony Grill
Near Fairfield: Sally’s in New Haven
This is what you’re here for. I gave you other spots, but let’s be real, people want the pizza here. In Fairfield, there’s a couple spots with decent pizza, but Colony is the best locally. The original Colony is in Stamford, and if you feel like a trip south for a bit, by all means visit that Colony. There’s nothing like the original. Colony is bar pizza, pretty small with a super thin, crispy crust. Most of the toppings are excellent, my order is usually hot oil and stingers. Sausage is good as well, but hot oil is a must for me. You’ll get some heat with that pie, it is delicious. Polish off a pie on your own with a cold one no problem. Nauti Dolphin is also in Fairfield and has some solid pizza.
If you’re here in CT and you’ve come this far, go to the Mecca. Take a bit of a ride further north to New Haven and get a pie from Sally’s. The best pizza in CT is a matter of heated debate, and you’ll get different answers from different people, but it’s not like anyone is actually wrong. For me, Sally’s is the best. Coal fired, thin crust, perfect amounts of sauce and cheese, it’s heavenly. The best around. Other options (still up in New Haven) are Modern, which is the 1A to Sally’s at number 1. Frank Pepe is good, get a white clam pie, but it can be a little touristy and dare I say has lost a little on the fastball in recent years. Bar is located very near Yale and the Joe Tsai Lacrosse Field House. They have a great bar, and serve pizza on a big baking sheet. Their mashed potato and bacon pizza is, trust me here, delicious.
CHEAP DOMESTIC LIGHT BEERS AND A TOUCHTUNES MACHINE
In Fairfield: The Sea Grape
Near Fairfield: No need
I love a good dive bar. That’s what this is all about. The Sea Grape is an institution. It’s been parked on the corner of Reef Road and Fairfield Beach Road for decades. It’s a few tables, a central bar, a stage, a jukebox, and the smell of a dive bar. You know the smell. Once upon a time, the Sea Grape had a claw machine where you could catch live lobsters but it has since been removed. The Grape has been there through Hurricane Sandy, despite having water basically to the ceiling as a result of being a block from the beach. Nothing will close this place. It’s still a regular spot for Fairfield U students, many of whom rent houses down on the beach for the school year. This is a place to probably not eat, but to enjoy a few cold ones.
If you are looking for something maybe a little nicer than that, first of all, why, second of all, sure. There’s Old Post Tavern right in downtown Fairfield which has a nice beer selection and a solid menu. It’s good for happy hours that turn into dinner that turn into beers and drinks after dinner. If you head north into Blackrock, you can go to Blind Rhino which is more of a sports bar with darts and games and a ton of TVs, or The Castle which is more of an irish pub vibe with some great fish and chips.
Trying to go off the beaten path a bit? There are a few options worth exploring.
Super Duper Weenie. Yes, that’s the real name. This place is in northern Fairfield and has legendary, as you can imagine, hot dogs. American Icon Guy Fieri has visited Super Duper Weenie before, so you know it’s legit. This is not a place where you just get a dog with some ketchup and mustard. You go all in. Get yourself a New Englander (sauerkraut, bacon, mustard, sweet relish, chopped onion) and chow down. They also do the Chicago dog better than Chicago. This place is basically lunch only, they open from 11-4.
Hoodoo Brown BBQ. This is a trip away from Fairfield, it’s way down in Ridgefield. Connecticut is not a place renowned for barbeque. You’ll be hard pressed to find many real good places for it here. Bobby Q’s in Westport and Norwalk is fine, but pretty run of the mill. Hoodoo is the exception. It’s some of the best I’ve ever had, and I eat a lot. If you don’t mind the ride, get a few ribs and some brisket with a tall cool budweiser, it’s very worth it.
Breweries. Two Roads is big one, a bit north of Fairfield in Stratford. They’ve become more widely distributed outside of Connecticut so if you’re from the northeast you’ve probably seen it more often by now. Road to Ruin is their IPA that is popular, Lil’ Juicy is my favorite as it’s hazier and easier to drink, and Two Juicy is the beer for you if you are trying to drink 8% rocket fuel in the middle of the day. Also, Athletic Brewing, a PLL partner that I’m sure you’ve seen in the PLL social posts, is a CT based company and has a taproom in Milford. It’s about 25 minutes north of Fairfield U. I have never been.
Enjoy your time in Connecticut, we are happy you’re here. If you are hunting Thai or something else not listed you can find me on social or send a message, I've got some good spots for that too. I will likely visit most of these places over the course of the weekend, because just compiling the list made me hungry.