U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Connecticut
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-12-2009, 12:05 PM
 
138 posts, read 397,656 times
Reputation: 83

Advertisements

I'm a native Floridian (Tampa Bay Area) that moved to CT about a year and a half ago. I love the wineries, the proximity to NYC and Boston, fall weather, drastic decrease in humidity, and the farms. However, I'm having a terrible time finding good food up here. I miss Publix and chain restaurants (Bahama Breeze, Carrabba's, Chick-Fil-A, Sweet Tomatoes, Miller's Ale House, Total Wine, Buca Di Beppo, Bonefish Grill, Smokey Bones, etc.) Just seeing if anyone else out there misses these places too and if you have found substitutes or other solutions.

So far my solutions have been to fly home to get my "fix" or go to New Jersey (Chick-Fil-A nuggets freeze well).
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-12-2009, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 2,175,905 times
Reputation: 649
I left Florida in 2004 after living there for 15 years. I have to say that out of all the things that I would think a person would miss, I wouldn't think of food being one of them. I think the food is fantastic up here. Pizza, bagels, seafood and just overall great restaurants.

As for the chains.
Quote:
I miss Publix
I did like Publix a lot. I think that Big Y is like a more expensive version of publix. But Whole Foods and Trader Joes will have anything you could have gotten at Publix. I would much rather CT get a Wegmans if they get any new chain. Wegman's beats publix anyday.

Quote:
and chain restaurants (Bahama Breeze, Carrabba's, Chick-Fil-A, Sweet Tomatoes, Miller's Ale House, Total Wine, Buca Di Beppo, Bonefish Grill, Smokey Bones, etc.)
Bahama Breeze was just okay food for me. Plus each time I was there was always a 2 hour wait. So eh, don't miss it.
Carraba's- no way. I can get frozen Italian at the grocery store. Chick-Fil-A and Sweet Tomatoes never did it for me either though I know many people love them. Never heard of Total Wine.
Loved Buca Di Beppo! Bonefish and SMokey Bones were really good too. It would be nice to have them here.
But I guess there is such good food around that I haven't had a chance to miss anything from Florida.
Maybe post the town or the area you are from and I'm sure people will make some good suggestions for you. I've only lived here for 6 months now.
It's going to be an adjustment but you'll get into a pattern and have all new food joints that are your favorites. I know that when you live in an area that is heavily dependant on chains, you become so used to it that it's hard when you aren't surrounded by them anymore.
I didn't realize how chain heavy Florida was until I left. I lived in Tampa and outside of Tampa and I was used to a Publix, home depot walmart and dozens of chains every 10 minutes. Where I used to live, there are 4 Walmarts within 15 minutes of my old house. There are 2 home depots within 10 minutes of my old house.
Then up here, I had to learn to find hardware stores, independant restaurants, know where the Starbucks is because there isn't one on every corner. You will get used to it though and then when you go to Florida, you'll see how bland the overuse of chains can make an area. I don't mind some chain stores, but Florida was just overkill. If someone wants to own their own business, they pretty much have to buy a franchise. It's sad.
But welcome to CT. I have not missed Florida for one day since I left.

ETA I forgot, I saw a Smokey Bones in Manchester when I was there. I don't know if there are others in the state though.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
32,117 posts, read 50,817,065 times
Reputation: 10033
I must agree. How can you miss what is mostly chain restaurant type food???

A few of these chains are in the Hartford area including Carrabas and Smoky Bones (both in Manchester), but there are much better places than these IMHO. I think just about every town in the state has a decent Italian restaurant of comparable or better quality than Carrabbas. And there are many fine barbeque places around. Jay
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 02:14 PM
 
138 posts, read 397,656 times
Reputation: 83
I have to agree with you on Wegmans. Blows Publix out of the water. And we are getting a Fresh Market in 2 weeks (Westport). When I was at the Harrisburg PA Wegmans, an associate told me that Boston will be getting a Wegmans in 2011. Nearest one to CT is 119 miles away in Englishtown.

Having chain restaurants gives you choices and to suddenly not have those choices is rather hard for me. And unfortunately, it's been hard for me to find quality food up here. Not that the chain restaurants I quoted served high quality food. But they were convenient choices. To take it a step further, it's the lack of food genres that I miss as well: Mexican, Chinese, Wings. And you are correct, you have to drive to get to the food and the stores (PF Changs - my favorite - is 30+ miles away. When I lived in Tampa, it was in Westshore Mall - less than 15 mins away). The options just aren't here (unless it's Italian).

Yep, I forgot about Smokey Bones being in Manchester - thank you. However it's 47 miles away - not exactly convenient for dinner.

And I am open to finding new places. In fact, I've been writing reviews on the new places I've been. Not sure if I can post my blog site, but I'll give it a go: www.foodandwinegal.com.

Thank you for you perspective.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeerose00 View Post
I left Florida in 2004 after living there for 15 years. I have to say that out of all the things that I would think a person would miss, I wouldn't think of food being one of them. I think the food is fantastic up here. Pizza, bagels, seafood and just overall great restaurants.

As for the chains.

I did like Publix a lot. I think that Big Y is like a more expensive version of publix. But Whole Foods and Trader Joes will have anything you could have gotten at Publix. I would much rather CT get a Wegmans if they get any new chain. Wegman's beats publix anyday.

Bahama Breeze was just okay food for me. Plus each time I was there was always a 2 hour wait. So eh, don't miss it.
Carraba's- no way. I can get frozen Italian at the grocery store. Chick-Fil-A and Sweet Tomatoes never did it for me either though I know many people love them. Never heard of Total Wine.
Loved Buca Di Beppo! Bonefish and SMokey Bones were really good too. It would be nice to have them here.
But I guess there is such good food around that I haven't had a chance to miss anything from Florida.
Maybe post the town or the area you are from and I'm sure people will make some good suggestions for you. I've only lived here for 6 months now.
It's going to be an adjustment but you'll get into a pattern and have all new food joints that are your favorites. I know that when you live in an area that is heavily dependant on chains, you become so used to it that it's hard when you aren't surrounded by them anymore.
I didn't realize how chain heavy Florida was until I left. I lived in Tampa and outside of Tampa and I was used to a Publix, home depot walmart and dozens of chains every 10 minutes. Where I used to live, there are 4 Walmarts within 15 minutes of my old house. There are 2 home depots within 10 minutes of my old house.
Then up here, I had to learn to find hardware stores, independant restaurants, know where the Starbucks is because there isn't one on every corner. You will get used to it though and then when you go to Florida, you'll see how bland the overuse of chains can make an area. I don't mind some chain stores, but Florida was just overkill. If someone wants to own their own business, they pretty much have to buy a franchise. It's sad.
But welcome to CT. I have not missed Florida for one day since I left.

ETA I forgot, I saw a Smokey Bones in Manchester when I was there. I don't know if there are others in the state though.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 2,175,905 times
Reputation: 649
I completely understand about getting used to not having chains.
After I left Tampa, I moved to Richmond, which still has a lot of chains, but did not have the overall sprawl that Tampa had. So then when we moved up here, at first it was really hard because there are all of these names of places I never heard of and I realized that I have to do a trial and error to find my new favorite places.
My cousin went through a bit of this when she moved from Jersey to California. She said there are tons of chains in Cali, but she never heard of half of them, so she had to get used to a whole new routine.
It's funny how people think that New Jersey or Connecticut is crowded and full of sprawl. They have no idea. Florida has built up so much in the past 10 years and while I hated living there, I'll admit, there is a convenience of the sprawl. Passed one Publix? There's another one less than 5 minutes away.
That's funny you mentioned West Shore mall. I used to go there all the time. If West Shore didn't have a store, International mall was 5 minutes away and Citrus Park was about 15 minutes away from that. You just don't have that here. You will get used to it, and IMO, once you have a routine and establish your favorite places, you'll appreciate the overall lack of chains.
I'm sure people who live here are thinking, but Connecticut has chains. What are these people talking about. But compared to Tampa, the lack of amenities is a bit daunting at first. It's hard when you are used to everything being 5 minutes away.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 07:02 PM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 20,019,086 times
Reputation: 3320
OMG, you're having a hard time finding QUALITY food here in CT? YIKES!

Perhaps one needs to define quality then!

For me it's real food, prepared by real chefs, perhaps a family run business with momma, son etc doing the cooking...and NOT 23 year olds in a dead end job just pulling boil bags out of the freezer that the corporate 18 wheeler dropped off last week.

I think once you get past that, you are going to see what REAL food is, and what you've been sold as being so. The food will be a lot healthier as well.

In fact...ironically, I had lunch at a family run Indian restaurant today. Fresh FRESH ingredients prepared in real time - REAL food. I just was driving by and said "why not". Simply awesome.

CT makes you work for it, but once you "get it" you'll never go back to spoon fed strip mall crap again.

For me, the chains are just fun to slum at once in a while...then the novelty wears off for half a year. lol

P.S. Screw Smokey Bones, you want REAL BBQ head to The Cookhouse Cafe. You'll notice, if you look reeeeal close, that Smokey Bones has - gasp! No SMOKER or pit, or smoke stack at their places! It's artifically smoked food. YUCK!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
10,703 posts, read 17,260,978 times
Reputation: 4535
Quote:
Originally Posted by JViello View Post
In fact...ironically, I had lunch at a family run Indian restaurant today. Fresh FRESH ingredients prepared in real time - REAL food. I just was driving by and said "why not". Simply awesome.
Just curious, was it "India House" on Tolland Turnpike in Manchester next to America's Best Value Inn?

If it was I find the place and its food quite amazing (and ironic for this forum topic) considering that it was converted from a Roy Rogers that went out of business.

I know of it because when I was temporarily living in the area for 2 months I had some issues with the room I was originally rented and stayed at that motel for a week (which is run by the same family to the point where they even do the housecleaning). They were a very nice family (they actually had contacts who helped me find a more permanent "room" situation for the rest of my stay in the area) and I ate at their restaurant a couple of times. Not only great Indian food, but pretty inexpensive too!

If it wasn't that, well I mentioned another good "anti-chain". I honestly find that CT (and the parts of NY State adjacent to it, like Westchester and Putnam counties) are one of the "least chained" parts of America, rivaled in that sense only by Vermont. For example, there's no Olive Garden between NYC and Poughkeepsie, and the only Chili's between the two is on the west side of the Hudson.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-12-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,037 posts, read 9,694,436 times
Reputation: 4988
HaHa. I had the opposite experience. I moved from CT to the South (first Texas, then Florida) and was horrified at all of the chain restaurants, especially those that specialize in pizza, subs and ice cream, as the places that serve those specialties in CT. are all independently run, homemade and infintely better WRT quality.
I have recently been considering a move back up north, and will admit that even I will miss Publix.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-13-2009, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Central Virginia
834 posts, read 2,175,905 times
Reputation: 649
What I cannot wrap my head around is all of the chains that are in Times Square! Who goes to NYC and eats at a chain? Did anyone see that episode of The Office where Steve Carrell says, "Ahh it's good to be in New York where I can get some real pizza" and he walks into a Sbarro? I thought that was hilarious.

But anyway, I definitely know what this poster is talking about but when you live someplace with only chains and sprawl, it's a huge undertaking to move to a new area and have to search out all new places to eat again. And I've eaten at plenty of mom and pop places that sucked, no doubt. But overall, once you've lived here a bit and you find your indie restaurants, you'll laugh at places like Olive Garden or Red Lobster. I cannot imagine eating at those places now but when I lived in Tampa, it was always either OG, Chili's, or Red Lobster. The OG by my house in Tampa, would have at least an hour wait on Friday nights, sometimes two hours. Cheesecake Factory by the mall had 2 hour waits on Friday and Sat. nights. Everyone goes to the chains because that's pretty much all there is except for a few indie owned places. But the nicer and hip parts of the city all have chains.

For weddings, everyone I knew who got married, got their wedding cakes at Publix! Here, I cannot imagine someone getting their wedding cake from a grocery store. But in Florida, it was Publix for everything. I really hope that Publix stays down south because while I did like the store, they are getting so widespread in the south that they are quickly becoming like Walmart. Just overkill.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-13-2009, 10:38 AM
 
Location: New England
8,155 posts, read 20,019,086 times
Reputation: 3320
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Wishes View Post
Just curious, was it "India House" on Tolland Turnpike in Manchester next to America's Best Value Inn?

If it was I find the place and its food quite amazing (and ironic for this forum topic) considering that it was converted from a Roy Rogers that went out of business.

I know of it because when I was temporarily living in the area for 2 months I had some issues with the room I was originally rented and stayed at that motel for a week (which is run by the same family to the point where they even do the housecleaning). They were a very nice family (they actually had contacts who helped me find a more permanent "room" situation for the rest of my stay in the area) and I ate at their restaurant a couple of times. Not only great Indian food, but pretty inexpensive too!

If it wasn't that, well I mentioned another good "anti-chain". I honestly find that CT (and the parts of NY State adjacent to it, like Westchester and Putnam counties) are one of the "least chained" parts of America, rivaled in that sense only by Vermont. For example, there's no Olive Garden between NYC and Poughkeepsie, and the only Chili's between the two is on the west side of the Hudson.
Great post...I agree.

No this wasn't India Kitchen - but that place is great too! I've been getting friendly with the owners and they are very down to earth folks.

This was just a small place in Windsor I passed going to an appointment in the morning and figured "why not". Great food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeerose00 View Post
What I cannot wrap my head around is all of the chains that are in Times Square! Who goes to NYC and eats at a chain? Did anyone see that episode of The Office where Steve Carrell says, "Ahh it's good to be in New York where I can get some real pizza" and he walks into a Sbarro? I thought that was hilarious.
Two words: Tourist Trap.

Time square is great, but not where many locals like to hang out. It's definetly a "must see" place, but again, lots of tourists - hence the chains.

I will say though that Victors Cuban Cafe on 52nd and Broadway (Few blocks North) will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!

Victor’s Cafe


YouTube - Victor's Café... great Cuban food in New York

As for grocery stores. Yea Publix was good. To me, not much different than Stop and Shop. But in the spirit of this thread, that's another thing we have here that is family "indie" owned.

Small family markets such as Highland Park (My favorite Highland Park - Nobody Does It Better! ), Giesslers etc etc.

Example:
http://www.highlandparkmarket.com/vegetables.swf
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Connecticut
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top