Listen, Readers. I would never, ever urge you to leave New Haven. There’s nothing for you out there. Everything you need in this world… is right here. Unless you count reasonably-priced grocery stories, a decent hardware store, or anywhere to dance to EDM.
But let’s say you wanted to explore beyond New Haven, for some reason. Fair. I can’t stop you. The government has been very clear about that.
Don’t worry, though, Dear Reader. I wouldn’t abandon you like that. Even though you’re leaving New Haven, I’m with you in spirit. And I have opinions. Baseless, ill-informed opinions, but that’s what you signed up for.
So let me share some of my favorite places that are near New Haven. Places that might even be worth driving to, or taking a bus for.
Though, as always, bike is preferred.
Mikro Depot (Hamden, CT)
Formerly in a tiny strip mall, the new location is gorgeous. And it even has parking, if you’re into that whole owning a car thing.
This beer bar, which is now located directly on the Farmington Canal Trail, is a great spot featuring a rotating draft lift of excellent beer, as well as some of the best farm-to-table food you can get in the Greater New Haven area.
Should we forgive them for opening in Hamden instead of New Haven? I guess so.
Seriously, it’s a great restaurant with outdoor picnic tables, a very cool, rustic feel to it, great beer, great food, great service. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not to go check it out.
Plus, you can easily bike there. Stop listening to people who say you’ll die in Newhalville. No more than 1 in 5 people die there. Calm down.
Yelp Recommends: Pork Belly Bahn Mi, Fried Chick Peas
Saray Turkish Restaurant (West Haven, CT)
You know what one of my favorite all-time things is? Restaurants which let you bring your own booze. Cause the only thing better than a great glass of wine with dinner is a great glass of wine you paid only $3.00 for. (At least that’s how I remember it.)
On Campbell Ave in West Haven, Saray Turkish Restaurant is a hidden gem. The menu is enormous, but absolutely worth exploring. They have so many dips, sauces, combinations. They also have a great combo deal where you can do an appetizer/entree/dessert for an extremely reasonable price.
The entrees themselves are a little pricey, but again — you’re bringing your own alcohol. So they’re basically paying you to eat. I admit I’m a little fuzzy on economics.
The service has always been excellent, and the atmosphere is nice. It’s not super fancy or anything, but it’s got a nice vibe to it.
Plus, you can bring a date and then be like “Whaaat this place is BYOB I had no idea” and then pull out a bottle of wine.
It doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Yelp Recommends: Iskender Kebab, Antep Ezme
Stony Creek Brewery (Branford, CT)
Listen, you’re not here for the beer. We all get that, right? I’m sorry, Stony Creek. It’s just… yeah. I don’t know who told you what an IPA was supposed to taste like.
But Stony Creek needs exactly zero business advice from me, cause that place is absolutely packed every time I go there.
It’s not about the beer. It’s about the riverfront picnic tables. The cornhole. The umbrellas. The beautiful people everywhere (including you!). The atmosphere.
Plus, if you don’t own a car, it’s within walking distance from the Branford Shoreline East station, so there’s a great way to avoid drinking and driving. Check out their schedules here.
Yelp Recommends: Sun Juice
In fact, while you’re there, you might as well stop at…
The Lobster Shack (Branford, CT)
It’s literally right next door to Stony Creek.
You’re already in Branford. And you only have an hour or so before they make you buy a boat and live there forever, never to return.
So you have just enough time to hit up Lobster Shack and grab yourself a big ol’ lobster roll, served the proper way, hot with butter. (Get outta here with your weird cold lobster, Maine).
It’s open until October or so, so you still have another month to fill yourself up with creamy butter and lobster. It’s too late to get that beach body, anyway. Maybe next year.
Georgie’s Diner (West Haven, CT)
A diner is a diner is a diner. Unless it’s Georgie’s Diner.
Wwhich not only covers your typical diner fare, but also provides plenty of Gluten Free and vegan options, as well as a bevy of insane breakfast options like Nutella French Toast (!!!) and Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.
Sure, it’s a little bit pricier than your typical diner, but only barely, and for the quality and options you get, it’s absolutely worth it.
Plus, you still get that diner vibe. And you’re in West Haven, so you don’t need your Going Out Pants.
Yelp Recommends: Nutella French Toast, Butternut Squash Hash
Sushi Palace (Hamden, Orange, and North Haven, CT)
What’s better than sushi?
Eating two pounds of sushi. And then having some green tea ice cream cause fuck it, you already spent the $20, you’re just trying to get your money’s worth now.
It is absolutely worth skipping a meal in preparation for Sushi Palace. For $20 (last I checked) you get unlimited sushi and other stuff. And boy can you eat a lot of sushi if you really put your mind to it.
Yelp Recommends: Soft Shell Crab Roll, Red Bean Ice Cream
I’d have liked to add Sleeping Giant State Park, but womp womp, it’s closed until next year cause of stupid nature. Everyone pretends nature is like a pretty unicorn or whatever, but nature also just like destroys stuff for no reason like a huge jerk. So, y’know. Don’t forget that at Christmas.
Anyway, I hope you liked the list. If I forgot something, let me know.
New podcast out on Monday with Liverpool New Haven members, so be on the look out for that.
As much as it disgusts me to leave New Haven for food, I will definitely check out Mikro. I hope East Rock brewery has better beer than Stony Creek. Why couldn’t Nebco score that beautiful location??
We have a GREAT hardware store! Spring Glen!! Been here for years.
I love Spring Glen Hardware too, but it’s in Spring Glen which makes it in Hamden.
Hamden is not part of New Haven.
Then again “The Annex” part of New Haven was once part of East Haven until New Haven “annexed” it. Hence the name of course.
Don’t give New Haven politicians any ideas or they’d try to annex Spring Glen.