20 Taylor St, Manchester, CT 06040
Good for: Solo
1432 Pleasant Valley Rd, Manchester, Connecticut, 06042, United States
Good for: Couples
Almost next to the Courtyard by Marriott, with only TGIFridays Restaurant inbetween. Outback...more
This place has been locally famous for about 50 years now I think. There are actually 2 locations, the original one (with an expansion) on E. Middle Tpke. out by the Bolton line, and a smaller one in the Parkade on W. Middle Tpke. The atmosphere is your typical local dairy bar with booths & some counter space with those rotating stools kids love (I was always so annoyed as a kid that my parents always wanted to sit in a booth!).
Besides the food described below, they're also well-known for good service & cleanliness. They had the same head waitress for years (like maybe 40?) & if she was there, you could be sure the waitresses were never standing still--if they weren't waiting, they were cleaning. The last couple of times I went in there, she wasn't there, so maybe she's retired finally, & I noticed there was some standing around talking to each other which she would never have allowed. So they're going to have to find another one like her to keep up their reputation, but so far the service & cleanliness are still good.
Also be sure to notice the murals on the walls when you go in--no matter which one you go to--it's all hand-painted. In the background of this picture is the mural at the E. Middle Tpke. location--it's not the original because that's the end of the building they expanded last & the mural wall had to come down. It's still whimsical, but the original had more subtle colors. The painting at the Parkade location is more like that.
The waitresses wear actual waitress uniforms; the guys wear little paper hats & bow ties, just like an old-fashioned soda jerk.
Tip: If you're going by yourself & want a booth, not a counter stool, go at an off time of day like I did--mid-afternoon. At busy times the booths are reserved for 2 or more.
NOTE: they do NOT take credit cards.
Favorite Dish: What they are particularly famous for is their treatment of cheese--whether put on a hamburger or a hot dog, they fry it in such a way that it stands up & curls. (It's hard to describe, just go in & look around, there are bound to be several on tables & you can see what I mean!) It's not cheap ($4.20 for the regular cheeseburger; they also have a large size & a platter), but it's sooo good! In fact, if you just want to experience the cheese on the cheap, you can actually get just an order of fried cheese!
They're also famous for good ice cream--they started out as a dairy making & selling their own, and they still do--downstairs at the E. Middle Tpke location. They have a wide selection of flavors (all hard ice cream) & the hot fudge sundae is the best!
They often have special flavors of pie, ice cream & sundaes for holidays (e.g. pumpkin, mince).
The cole slaw is also excellent and made right there at the E. Middle Tpke. location (it's the sweet, creamy kind, chopped, not the vinegary kind, shredded). And although I haven't had them for a while, their onion rings used to be very good, too--the whole ring of onion kind, not the chopped onion kind.
They also have the cole slaw & ice cream in large containers (quart, half-gallon) in coolers at the front of the store to take home, in addition to getting anything on the menu to go, including sundae toppings & smaller quantities of the cole slaw & ice cream.
I thought so much about this place writing this that I talked myself into going there again & was happy to discover I can still enjoy it even though I can't do the dairy products any more. I had a BLT ($3.85) where the bacon was actually cooked enough for me (I like it almost burnt & always get it undercooked when ordered out), a side of cole slaw ($1.75), water, and the best lemon meringue pie I've had in AGES ($2.50--that they don't make themselves, but they've definitely picked the right place to get it from!); it came to $8.10.
This is an historic building in Manchester, which has thankfully recently been restored to its original purpose--to give some cultural events to the local residents. It was originally built by the Cheneys that owned the nearby mills for their employees. Now it is used for small concerts and by the Little Theater of Manchester. It is a simple hall...more
The Q Club is at 395 Broad St., in the plaza next to the Shaws plaza.The Pool Factory is at 1131 Tolland Tpke, in the Burr Corners Plaza in the Buckland area.I know the Oak St. Pub also has pool tables, and according to the phone book the Sportsman's Cafe also does. (see the "not much" tip under nightlife).The phone book also lists World...more
1. Silk City Cafe at 485 Hartford Rd. sometimes has live music on the weekends, although they don't seem to be getting much of a crowd lately. 860-649-48082. Hartford Road Cafe is a quieter kind of place. 378 Hartford Rd., 860-646-10443. Sportsman's Cafe at 208 Spruce St. is your basic bar with TV's. 860-643-07154. Oak St. Pub at 30 Oak St. is a...more
1. The Spruce St. area (one block east of downtown Main St.2. Squire Village apartments on Spencer St. (might also be called Imperial Dr., Ruby Drive, Queens Ct., or Channing Dr.--those are the little streets within the complex).Neither comes even close to the North End and Parkville areas of Hartford, but they are what I would consider the higher...more
It's surprising to me, considering the number of hotels & apartments/condos in the area, but the town has not seen fit to make the whole Buckland area (the mall & it's "suburbs") pedestrian-friendly. The roads & driveways are often 4-lane, the intersections often don't have cross lights. So while things may be close by, you may take your life in...more
86 Reviews and Opinions
It's all national chains. If that's what you want, then that's the place to go.
Unique Suggestions: Don't go at peak times like Saturdays & the Xmas shopping season (ESPECIALLY the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Xmas.)
Fun Alternatives: Try some local restaurants:
For casual dining, try Shady Glen (see restaurant tips), or Nullis on Hartford Rd. (Italian).
For fancier fare, try Cavey's on E. Center St. (upstairs, French; downstairs Italian; the French part in particular is known for being quite expensive, so I've never been there), but it has been around for decades, so they must be doing something right.
The Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society has a small museum at 230 Pine St., on the corner of Pine St. & Hartford Rd. (right across Pine St. from Cheney Hall--see "music & local theater" tip under nightlife). This is another one of the historical buildings in Manchester. It is the original Cheney Fire House (minus the big tree that used to be...more
1. The Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Rd, right across Hartford Rd from Cheney Hall (see "concerts & local theater" under nightlife). This is the original 18th century home that started what became the Cheney Bros. Silk industry.2. Manchester Historical Society Museum, 126 Cedar St., which is off Cooper Hill St., just a little ways up Pine St. from...more
The bandshell at Manchester Community College has concerts all summer long. There's ample free parking, and the concerts are basically free--they will come around for voluntary donations about half-way thru. They have a variety of styles of music--Coast Guard band, bluegrass, barbershop quartet, jazz. They're of varying quality, but hey--what do...more