Saigon City in Old Saybrook: Vietnamese with An Artistic Attitude


Old Saybrook is a small, seaside town in Middlesex County. It’s also one of the oldest towns in Connecticut with roots that date back to 1624! A New York Times review of Saigon City, a quaint Vietnamese restaurant, inspired us to stop by the town for dinner and a round of mini golf.  We felt excited to try a new Vietnamese restaurant for the first time in almost a year.  We were equally delighted to find that Old Saybrook still had a mini golf course by the docks. With our two year anniversary around the corner,  we were eager to embark on a pre-celebration in this town.

Saigon City

Grade: A

Location:  1315 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT

Website Menu

from the official website.

Atmosphere: 10/10-When you step into the Saigon City, you’ll notice the beautiful Vietnamese paintings that decorate the walls.  Chef Vu Nguyen, who co-owns Saigon City with his wife, Bernadette, painted some of these! This speaks to Saigon City’s authentic, creative atmosphere and to the talent of Nguyen.  The  paintings represent a wonderful, welcoming expression of the Vietnamese culture.  Saigon City’s dining room fireplace is an added bonus, especially for those frigid, Fall and Winter  nights.  We opted  to sit on the deck  and soak in the sun.  We noticed that Saigon City differs from other restaurants in that it keeps both its interior and exterior clean!

Service: 9/10-We waited a little longer than we expected for refills but, we found our waitress to be personable and efficient.  We also give props to the chef(s) who prepared our dishes in under 15 minutes.  Vietnamese  cuisine (if done well) boasts complexity in its taste and design. The quick preparation time highlights the experience of Saigon City’s chefs.

Price: 4/5-Lunch prices range from $7.95 to $10.95.  Dinner prices range from $11.95 to $17.95.  If you want a glass of wine, you’ll spend an average of $5-$6. These are some pretty sweet deals!  Our experience  caused us to re-evaluate our perspective on price. We visited an Italian restaurant the other week in which the price of entrees ranged from $17.95 and above!  We expected superior, gourmet cuisine for this amount.  We tasted tasty, overpriced cuisine.  At Saigon City, you will pay significantly less for dishes with filling portions and damn good taste!

Selection: 5/5-Click on the menu link above and scroll down. This extensive menu spans ten pages! From Vietnamese spring rolls to Red Curry pork, you have plenty to choose from! We suggest you review this extensive menu before you stop by.

Taste: 9/10-Lemon grass, peanuts, limes, vegetables, coconut milk, curry and chili-paste: these are some of the key ingredients to signature Vietnamese dishes.  Saigon City’s chefs honored this culinary tradition and the results proved downright delectable!  If you’re a fan of spice, you might want to tell your server beforehand. The dishes marked as “spicy” may not  taste as spicy as you might anticipate without this suggestion.  

Below you’ll find our picks for the top 5 most creative entrees:

1.   Saigon Spicy Chicken (Slices of tender chicken breast marinated with coconut milk, yellow curry, and chili pepper.  Stir-fried with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and clear noodles.  Sprinkled with ground peanuts)-$12.95

2.  Spicy Vegetarian Curry (Tofu marinated with coconut milk, curry, and chili pepper.  Stir-fried with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and clear noodles.  Sprinkled with ground peanuts)-$12.95

3. Red Curry Pork (Sliced pork marinated with red curry and simmered in coconut milk with bamboo shoots, red chili, and bell peppers)-$12.95

4.  Saigon Beef Delight (Slices of flank steak stir-fried with pineapple, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumbers)-$14.95

5.  Squid Sate-(Squid sautéed with carrots, onions, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, bamboo shoots, and baby corn)-$14,95

In a nutshell: 37/40-Saigon City proved that it is possible for restaurants to serve authentic, delicious cuisine at affordable prices. Yes, this includes wine too! You can treat yourself this to an exquisite dinner or lunch  without burdening your wallet. We strongly recommend you visit and immerse yourself in the artistic and culinary gem that is Saigon City.

Saigon City on Urbanspoon

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Hiking & Lunch in CT: Talcott Mountain & Apollo’s Pizza and Pasta in Simsbury


With the summer winding down, we decided to explore the natural side of Connecticut.  We took a week’s vacation to Delaware and discovered that we missed Connecticut’s nature most of all.   To satisfy  our longing, we hiked Talcott Mountain in Simsbury on Saturday and stumbled into Apollo’s Pizza  and Pasta on our way home.    Then it hit us-hiking and lunch is an ideal outing  for friends, family and dates!  If  you choose a mountain  with a great  view and eat great local food nearby,  you might make a tradition out of it!  We knew Talcott mountain had a great  view, but we had no idea about its historical significance.  Here is how our afternoon panned out-

Talcott Mountain

Overall Grade: A-

Location: Talcott Mountain State Park, 560 Simsbury Road, Bloomfield, CT

Website

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Parking fee: 10/10-There is no parking fee!. Your trip to Talcott Mountain is actually free fun!  Please note that you must park on the grass on the side of the road that lies before the trail.  Parking  fills quickly.  If you want to find a decent parking spot,  your best bet is to go  before noon.   Talcott Mountain State Park closes at 5:00 P.M.

Atmosphere of Mountain:  4/5-Talcott Mountain is located just 6 miles west of the city of Hartford, bordering Farmington, West Hartford, Bloomfield, Simsbury and Avon.  It is comprised of many notable cliffs, including the 950 ft high point on which the historic  Heublein tower stands.  We enjoyed  the variety of hikers, animals and vegetation.   The mountain is suitable for all ages .  We  saw kids as young as three and adults well into their eighties walk to the top.    If you’re looking for a longer hike, you might want to start at Penwood State Park, which located a short distance away from Talcott Mountain State Park.

Atmosphere of Tower:  5/5-The historic Heublein Tower has a lot of history.  The setup is like a mini museum inside.   Every room is a mini exhibit that tells a great deal about the tower’s history.   We don’t want to spoil the rich history for you, so we’ve selected five interesting facts to  share about the tower-

1.   It served as Gilbert Heublein’s home and retreat from the 1914 until his death in the 1930s.  He founded Heublein Inc, an American producer of beverages and food.  He was most notably a manufacturer of Smirnoff Vodka and A1 steak sauce.

2,   While hiking with his wife on Talcott Mountain, Gilbert promised her he would one day build her a tower.

3.   Ronald Reagan,  Prescott Bush and Dwight D. Eisenhower were guests at the tower during the 1950s.  The staff threw an election party for Eisenhower during the 1950s.

4.   The Hartford Times used the tower to operate its FM station from 1948 to 1950.

5.   The State of Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection now manages the tower.

Trail: 8/10-The trail is short, considering Talcott Mountain spans only three miles at its widest point.   The trail, however, offers a nice view of the Greater Hartford area a short distance from the top.

View from Tower and Mountain  9/10-From the top of the tower, you’ll get a  great view of Farmington, West Hartford, Bloomfield, Simsbury and the Farmington River.  The tower offers a panoramic view of the Hartford skyline, the Farmington River, the Farmington valley, Mt. Tom and four New England states.  We were more than delighted to receive these incredible views for free.  The view from the top of the tower was a perfect way to   top off our hike.

In a nutshell: 36/40-We thoroughly enjoyed our hike and we recommend you visit for….

-The free parking

-The scenic trail

-The historic Heublein Tower

-The Snapple machine inside the tower. (This machine offers Snapple in a can.  A rarity at most venues).

-The view from the top of the tower and the top of the mountain.

Apollo’s Pizza and Pasta

Overall Grade: B+

Location:  775 Hopmeadow Street,  Simsbury, CT

Website  Menu

Atmosphere:  9/10-Our hike inspired us to venture into Simsbury for lunch.  We stumbled upon Apollo’s Pizza and Pasta on Hopmeadow street, a five minute drive from the mountain.  When we entered the restaurant, we we noticed the small, classy interior.  You’ll notice that the staff advertises Avery’s Soda at the front counter.   Avery’s Soda is old fashioned  soda that comes in  a glass bottle.   Avery’s boasts a variety of flavors   from Black Cherry to odder flavors such as Bug Barf soda.  No, we’re not kidding.  The old fashioned sodas sparked us with a sense of wonder about the menu items.

Service:  9/10-We appreciated our service.  We received our food in under 15 minutes and constant refills from our waitress.

Price/selection of lunch:  4.5/5-The lunch menu is noticeably cheaper than the dinner menu.   Entrees average around $10 to $14.   You’ll receive  a considerable amount of food for the price you pay.

Price/selection of dinner: 3.5/5-Entrees ranges from $11.5o to $19.50.   A large, traditional pizza costs only $11.25!  This is considerably cheaper than the price for most large pizzas.  If you want a large, gourmet pizza you will pay around $18.  Apollo’s entrees are still  considerably cheaper than many restaurants in Simsbury.

Taste: 8.5/10-We enjoyed our entrees but expected slightly more because of the flavorful composition of the  dish.   The portion size definitely matches the price.  You won’t leave the restaurant hungry.

In a nutshell: 34.5/40-Apollo’s scores a solid  B+  for its good food, good service and great lunch prices.   We recommend you visit, especially if you’re looking for a nice hole in the wall restaurant after you hike Talcott Mountain.   Check out our top four picks for  the most creative items!

1.  The Simsbury Burger (this may not be the name).  Apollo’s does not have a lunch a menu online so we cannot double check.

2. Scallops Ala Vodka

3.  Florentine Pizza

4.  Eggplant Rollatini

Below you’ll find additional pics from our Simsbury adventure!

The top of the tower
View of Mt. Tom
View of dining room
Heublein’s bedroom
Christina’s burger

Historical Ghost Tours in New Haven & Quick Tips on Groupon/Living Social


There are a lot of interesting deals on the Groupon and Living Social websites. These websites seem to offer great deals on dining, fun activities, products and vacations because of their intriguing descriptions. Recently, Groupon posted a deal for CoCo Key Water Resort, an indoor water resort in Waterbury. The Groupon description reads, “Regardless of the weather outside, CoCo Key Water Resort simulates an 84-degree Key West day.” A Key West setting in Waterbury? This sounds amazing and a little too good to be true. When we scrolled down to the reviews, we noticed 143 reviews with an average two star rating. One user wrote, “The smell inside was horrible who knows if they even use chlorine to sanitize. Asked an employee for the manager and didn’t see anyone for at least 20 min until we asked someone else.” Many of the other reviews mirrored this one. Before buying a Groupon or Living Social Deal, always check the reviews and purchase at your own risk.

Of course, many deals on Groupon match their descriptions. El Flamboyan  in Wallingford exceeded our expectations with their savory Puerto Rican cuisine.  Groupon offers the catchy descriptions to get the ball rolling on business.  Businesses that choose to use Groupon either live up to those standards or fall short of them.  We gave Groupon another go with the Historical Ghost tours of New Haven.  Connecticut missed out on Halloween last year due to a violent snowstorm.  We’ve been craving some creepy fun ever since.  This is how our night played out-

Walking Tours of New Haven

Historical Ghost Tours (approx 90 minutes)

Overall Grade: B-

Meeting Place:  1070 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT

Website Groupon

Contact: info@walkingtoursofnewhaven.com.

Atmosphere: 8.5/10-If you’re not from the New Haven area, you might have trouble finding parking.  If you can’t find street parking on Chapel Street, we recommend you park at the garage on College Street where the Shubert Theatre lies.  Chapel Street is a short walk from the garage.  We met our tour guide and our group in front of the Starbucks on Chapel Street.  Our tour guide led us to a number of interesting destinations in a ninety minute period. We wished could have gone inside some of the tour destinations.  If we were allowed to go inside the Grove Street cemetery or the Skull & Bones society, we would have enjoyed the tour a lot more.  Check out our picks for the most interesting destinations:

Skull & Bones Secret Society:  Located on High St, this secret society is known for its mysterious rituals and traditions.  The ghost of Geronimo, a famous Apache chief, supposedly haunts these grounds.  Legend has it that Prescott Bush, our former presidents’ father and grandfather, stole Geronimo’s skull from his burial site.  The members of the secret society reportedly require new members to kiss Geronimo’s skull!

New Haven Green: Bounded by Chapel, Church, Elm and College Streets, the green rests over thousands of burials of yellow fever victims that died during the late 1700s.

Grove Street Cemetery:  This is cemetery is home to many historical figures such as Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin and Noah Webster, the creator of the Webster Dictionary.  Grove Street Cemetery is also home to Midnight Mary.  You can read her story on Damned Connecticut.

Service: 8.5/10-Our tour guide displayed vast knowledge of New Haven’s haunted history.  She was quirky but did not project the spooky vibe one might expect for this type of tour. Nonetheless,  we enjoyed following our tour guide to the various destinations on the tour and listening to her stories.

Price: 6.5/10-Without the Groupon deal, Historical Ghost Tours loses points on its price.  $25 per person is steep for a 90 minute tour, especially one that does not venture into most of its destinations.

Variety:  8.5/10-The tour covers a handful of places in a 90 minute period.  We found this to be the most desirable aspect of the tour.

In a nutshell: 32/40-Historical Ghost Tours in New Haven-it’s a good idea and has a lot of interesting elements.  We recommend you try this tour if they launch another Groupon deal or if you feel the price matches the quality.  We would like to look into more of Connecticut’s haunted history and we’ll most likely try this type of tour again in the near future.

Nos gusta Los Mariachis en Wallingford


Update: 8/1/12-The Groupon deal has ended but the regular menu prices are still decent at an average of $10-$12 per entree.

Connecticut has an abundance of “Mexican” restaurants.  From On the Border to Azteca, you can find Tex-Mex restaurants in almost every town.  With Christina’s birthday around the corner, I decided to assemble a surprise party at a Mexican restaurant.  I chose Los Mariachis Grill because as a hole in the wall restaurant, it stood the chance of looking and tasting authentic.  Hole in the wall restaurants tend to be family owned and stay true to the culture in terms of food and decorations.  We genuinely enjoyed the company of friends and good Mexican food.

Los Mariachis Grill

Overall Grade: A-

Location:  105 North Colony Street, Wallingford, CT

Website Facebook Menu Groupon

Atmosphere:  9/10-Los Mariachis has a small interior.   It does, however, offer a bar and outside seating.  You’ll notice a few paintings on the wall but nothing that screams authentically Mexican.   Los Mariachis could benefit by adding a few more paintings and possibly some music.  We enjoyed Los Mariachis cozy size.  Unlike most chain restaurants, Los Mariachis isn’t burdened by crowds or long waits.  Unfortunately, the parking lot is unequipped to handle many cars so you might have to park on the street. Update: The last time we visited, we enjoyed a wonderful Mariachi band!

Service:  9/10-Los Mariachis was short staffed for a busy night.  Our waitress was friendly but rarely refilled our drinks.  We were impressed that our appetizers and entrees arrived quickly.  When the plates arrived, they were steaming hot and looked delicious. Like El Flamboyan, the staff paid attention to the ambiance of our meals.  We liked the way the staff separated the toppings for our entrees. This gives the customer culinary creative control!

Price/selection: 8/10-Los Mariachis’ prices are decent.  The same goes for their entrees, specials and appetizer variety.   Entrees average around $11 or $12.   We took advantage of  Los Mariachis’ Groupon deal.  This allows you to purchase $20  worth of food for $10.  This is a good deal!  Please note that you are only allowed to use one Groupon per table.  We didn’t read the fine print and ended up paying a little more than we expected.  We were slightly disappointed by the gratuity charge on our bill.  We understand that restaurants want to be tipped, but, we feel good tips depend on good service.  We appreciated our service and would have liked to determine its worth on our own.

Taste:  9.5/10- Los Mariachis won over taste buds.  We loved the “kick” to the hot sauce, the appetizers and the entrees.  Tex Mex restaurants tend to dilute the spiciness because of the age-old stereotype about American distaste for spicy foods.  We loved that the dishes made zero apologies for their spice quality.  We also loved the portion size.  You receive plenty of food for your money.  We recommend you try the giant burritos or the flavorful fajitas.

Extra credit: 0.5-Los Mariachis offers delivery! This is an added bonus for residents of Wallingford.

In a nutshell: 36/40- In all, we enjoyed our experience at Los Mariachis and we plan to use our other Groupon soon! We recommend you try Los Mariachis for the great taste and large portion size.  Be aware of the gratuity charges and the limited parking spaces when you visit.    

Los Mariachis on Urbanspoon

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Hiking in Connecticut: Sleeping Giant in Hamden


If you’re looking to take advantage of Connecticut’s wonderful weather this summer, why not go for hike!  There are hundreds of hiking trails in our state and many of them lead to great views. Whether you’re an experienced climber or you’ve only gazed at mountains from afar, Connecticut has hikes for all levels and ages. I’ve hiked across the country since the age of twelve as a member of the Highpointers Club.  Christina, a city girl at heart, is fairly new to the hiking scene.   Regardless of our differences, we enjoy what Connecticut has to offer in terms of hiking.  On Sunday, we climbed Sleeping Giant in Hamden.  Here is how our afternoon panned out-

Sleeping Giant

Overall Grade: B

Address: Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT

Website 

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From the official website. We could not get a good enough picture of the tower.

Parking Fee: 8/10-The parking fee is $10.  If you’re planning on camping overnight, this is not a bad fee.  If you’re only planning on a day hike, however, it might seem kind of steep.

Atmosphere: 9/10-Sleeping Giant lies in Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. The park is across the street from Quinnipiac University, a private institution with an enrollment of approximately 5900 students. A large fraction of those students hiked Sleeping Giant on Sunday.  Most of the other hikers included families with small children and teenagers.  The park offers hiking, picnicking, camping and fishing.  The mountain offers a lookout tower, a modest nature trail and a scenic view. You’ll find plenty to do if you decide to spend the day.

Trail: 8.5/10-The trail is only 1.5 miles long.  The park’s website calls it “scenic” but the mountain is cloaked by trees until you get to the top.  We enjoyed the historical trail markers we found along the way.  You’ll also notice a modest amount of wild life.

The view:  9/10-When you reach the top, you’ll find a nice view of Long Island Sound and the New Haven area from the stone observation tower! 

 In a nutshell:  34.5/40-If you’re looking for a nice quick hike with a great view, Sleeping Giant delivers.  We recommend you take advantage of the park’s fishing and camping opportunities to make the most of your parking fee.

Hole In The Walls: Monster Mini Golf & RollerMagic


Okay, we admit it.  We promise to review “fun” and “food” but we’ve kind of strayed away from the “fun” aspect lately. It’s the weekend. You’ve enjoyed a great meal at an unconventional restaurant.  Now, you want to enjoy yourself. You want move around! You want to be active! Or, somewhat active.  We recently visited Monster Mini Golf in Windsor Locks and Roller Magic in Waterbury for our after-meal fun.  Monster Mini Golf is a glow in the dark, indoor miniature golf course with plenty of scary props and a decent sized arcade. Roller Magic is a combination of a roller rink and an arcade.  This is the breakdown-

Monster Mini Golf in Windsor Locks

Overall Grade: B+

NEW ADDRESS:  14 starr road, Danbury, CT

Facebook

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Course:  8.5/10-When we entered Monster Mini Golf, we immediately noticed the glow in the dark lighting and Halloween themed props. We felt as if we stepped into an episode of 90′s Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid Of The Dark, a Twilight Zone/camp fire story show for kids and nostalgic adults. Are You Afraid Of The Dark featured an episode with a murderous clown named Zeebo who haunts a fun house. The creepy clown face (see the picture above) reminded us of him! Monster Mini Golf changes their props around Christmas to create a Nightmare Before Christmas feel!  We found the course itself a little tricky. You need to calculate each shot around winding corners and tricky props. We enjoyed the challenge but felt that it slows down the progress of the game. You might spend a little extra time waiting from one hole to another.

Service: 9/10-We appreciated the creativity of the staff. During your game, a staff member will announce an upcoming challenge for players with a certain color ball. Another staff member (wearing a white lab coat) will randomly select a player for a challenge.  The staff member challenged me to a mini golf shoot off! The objective: one hole, one shot. The person who putts closest to the hole wins the challenge. Unfortunately, I lost the challenge.  Nonetheless, he awarded me with glow in the dark fangs as a complimentary prize!

Price of Course:  8.5/10-$8 for adults. $7 for kids.  It’s a fairly standard price among mini golf courses in Connecticut.  Monster Mini Golf will offer discount deals on their facebook page.  They’ll often post secret words for weekly discounts on group games. Check back with their facebook page often for secret words and other prizes.  Monster Mini Golf held a costume sweepstakes last October.

Arcade: 9/10-We loved their arcade!  It’s a nice kick back to the 80s/90s with classic games like Pacman and shuffle board.  Like drive-in movies, Connecticut  seems to lack arcades so it’s always a delight when we find one.

In a nutshell: 35/40-Monster Mini Golf delivers Halloween fun all year round and pays respect to the classics   with its retro arcade.  Despite its tricky course, we recommend you visit for the creative staff, spooky props, glow in the dark lighting and, of course, Zeebo the clown!  We will be back very soon (especially for Halloween). Here are the top three features we would love to see the staff add to   Monster Mini Golf:

1.  Scarier music:  Music enhances the atmosphere of any environment. Scary music would definitely compliment the spooky props.

2.  Remixed holes:  Mini golf courses change up the structure of their holes every once in awhile.  We would love for Monster Mini golf to add new, spooky holes with different obstacle courses when the customers least expect it.  People love the element of unpredictability!

3.  Tournaments:  Farmington Mini Golf holds a tournament every August.  The top prize pays $100. Monster Mini Golf could hold a tournament at Halloween that pays this amount.

On a final note:  There are several Monster Mini Golf courses throughout the U.S. and Canada. We would love to see more of them in the Hartford county area. Monster Mini Golf will soon open in Stamford and Orange.

Roller Magic in Waterbury

a.k.a Waterbury Skating Center

Overall Grade: A-

 Location:  60 Harvester Road, Waterbury, CT

Website Facebook

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Atmosphere: 9.5/10-RollerMagic is located in a part of Waterbury that looks like San Fransisco with its very long streets and houses/condos with decks on each story.  The rink itself is hidden behind some factory buildings. These factors added to the adventure.  They made us feel like we were in a place far removed from our state.  When we found the rink, we  discovered a parking lot filled with cars!  We knew then that this place was a community secret.  Families, teenagers and young adults poured into the rink the way college students pour into clubs in downtown New Haven.  But unlike those clubs, the RollerMagic holds the crowd with ease. The building is spacious.  It contains a large rink, a small food venue and an average sized arcade. We enjoyed skating around the rink for a good hour and a half. Christina showed off her roller blading expertise while I tried to stay on my feet. You could tell the customers were regulars by their expertise as well.  We enjoyed watching the skaters show off their jumps, dance moves and other crazy tricks.

Service: 9/10-RollerMagic has fast and friendly service.  No matter the size of the crowd, their staff takes care of you in a jiffy. They make you sign a waiver before you skate but do their best to ensure the safety of the skaters.  The staff will skate around the rink to prevent any injuries or other difficulties.  If you have any questions, they will be happy to help you.  If you ask them questions while you’re skating, be sure to watch where you’re going!

Price: 8.5/10-The price is relatively cheap compared to other skate rinks in Conneticut.  They offer deals at certain times during the week. Click here for more detailed information.  RollerMagic could benefit by using Groupon like Ron-A-Roll Skating Center in Vernon does.

Arcade: 9/10-This is yet another arcade that pays tribute to the classic arcade games and incorporates new games as well.  We liked the fact that Pacman costs only 25 cents per player! This is definitely reminiscent of the older arcades.

 In a nutshell: 36/40-Whether you’re a skating pro like Christina or a skating novice (to put it nicely) like me, you’ll have a lot of fun at RollerMagic.  You will burn A LOT of calories without realizing you’re doing so! Here are the top three features we would love to see the staff add to RollerMagic:

1.  Larger lockers:  Larger lockers would offer more room for the customer’s items.

2.  A wider variety of snacks: This would attract more customers who feel hungry or thirsty after a round of skating.

3.  Skate competitions:  I won’t be participating in these anytime soon but it would be nice to see roller derby make a comeback!

Pop’s Burgers and a Movie at Southington Drive-In


After a very long break, we’re back! We last left off with a dinner + movie review at Gilson Cafe Cinema in Winsted. We liked the movie prices but weren’t too impressed with the food. We decided to try this experience again at the Southington Drive-In.  The Southington Drive-In served the town of Southington from 1955 until 2002.  The town decided to reopen the drive-in 2010 as a community run theater.  Nostalgia was reborn!   The drive-in drew  a large crowd of both newcomers and movie-going veterans who longed to relive their drive-in memories.  We visited Southington Drive-In last summer and loved our experience.  When we learned Pop’s Burgers (also of Southington) serviced the Drive-in, we decided to review the drive-in as a dinner-and-a-movie package.  This is how our night panned out-

Southington Drive-In

Overall Grade: A

Location:  935 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT

Website Facebook Pop’s Burgers Menu

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Atmosphere: 10/10-We felt as if we were reliving a piece of history. We were in awe seeing the many cars lined up toward the drive-in screen.  We recalled our experience at the Hartford Drive-In before the town abandoned it and the Toll Brothers built mundane looking houses on the land.  We knew the importance of this drive-in from the moment we parked. There are only three drive-ins left in the state of Connecticut.  By the 1980s, drive-ins rapidly disappeared from the state.  The town of Southington cared enough to keep their drive-in alive and the community cared enough to show up in large quantities.  The power of nostalgia is something we cannot word eloquently but we can say that we were moved, truly and deeply moved.

We are also moved by Southington Drive-In’s choice to play classic movies and old fashioned commercials.  The drive-in plays a wonderful selection of movies.  They range from kid friendly like Shrek to scary movies like Friday the 13th. We enjoyed watching Shrek on the big screen again. We caught all of the “adult jokes” this time around!  If you visit the website, you’ll find a wide selection of movies that play throughout the summer. When you visit the drive-in, you’ll notice commercials like the one below. See if you recognize this gem!

 

Service: 10/10-We appreciated the hard work and personalities of the staff at the Southington Drive-In and Pop’s Burgers.  They greeted you with smiles and provided quick, quality service.  Be sure to thank a staff member on your visit.  They put A LOT of effort into making your experience enjoyable so remember to reciprocate  Also, show some respect for the park.  We saw a couple rude customers waiting in line for food and two women (with children) who smoked in front of them and threw their cigarette butts on the grass. We shouldn’t have to tell you why this is rude, disrespectful and downright stupid.  You are NOT entitled to disrespecting the property or the employees.

Price of food: 4/5-The prices are decent compared to other theaters. You’ll pay less for any of the items on Pop’s menu than you would at a regular movie theater. You’ll also A LOT pay less for Popcorn and Candy.  For example, a large bag of popcorn costs $3.  You can’t even get a box of candy for that price at most movie theaters!  Many people sneak in food to movie theaters because its so expensive.  At Southington Drive-In, you can pay for dinner and a snack and not feel broke.

Taste:  8.5/10– We also liked the taste of our food better than we do at most movie theaters.  Pop’s burgers and fries are made fresh on a grill.  We found the bun to be the most appealing part of our burger because it tasted like freshly cooked bread from a bakery.  We especially loved our savory fries.  The staff serves them in large quantities (like Five Guys Burgers & Fries) but they taste better than Five Guys’ fries.

Price of movie: 5/5  $10 a car for Southington residents.  $13 a car for non-residents. Pack a car full of friends (or family) and take advantage of the awesome price!

In a nutshell:  37.5/40-Southington Drive-In earns an A because they deliver great nostalgia, great food and great customer service.  The summer is young.  Check out their website and visit them this summer!