NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Posts from the “Restaurants” Category

Destination: Dog Lane Cafe – Storrs, Connecticut

Posted on May 26, 2015

Write-up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett      Dog Lane Cafe at Storrs Center in Connecticut was a show of good faith that has become a success. Located across the road from the main University of Connecticut campus which is tucked into the rural Connecticut countryside, this European/American style cafe holds the anchor spot for the still relatively new mixed use center, that back in 2005 was said to have been struggling to attract tenants. On the day of my recent visit, the cafe was bustling with students and adults – attracting the latter by design.   Brothers Barry and Brian Jessurum, business partners in Dog Lane Cafe’s sister restaurants, the hugely popular Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, and 85 Main in Putnam, reportedly…

Destination: Au Bon Pain – Holiday Shopping Oasis at Westfarms Mall

Posted on November 17, 2014

Write-up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett   Looking for an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Try Au Bon Pain in Farmington, Connecticut at Westfarms Mall. The European feel of this small bakery/cafe is inviting. It features a variety of breads displayed immediately above half a dozen pots of simmering soups – plus offerings of croissants & more. Founded in 1978 in Boston, where it is still headquarted, Au Bon Pain which in French means -place with good bread or, with the good bread – is now a nationwide chain. As well, it has a presence in countries outside the United States. Au Bon Pain at “Westfarms” has the sense of being spacious, with a selection of long, round, or…

Destination: Cozy “Vanilla Bean Cafe” in Pomfret, Connecticut

Posted on October 28, 2014

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett   Perched on one of the coziest of New England four corners is the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, Connecticut. The beauty of the drive here alone is worth the trip, along scenic country roads – some are officially designated “scenic”. Upon arrival it is clear this cafe is something special. With a clientele ranging from preppies to couples, families, and cordial bikers sporting a bevy of Harley-Davidsons, everyone can feel comfortable at the Vanilla Bean.    On a recent busy, autumn Sunday, customers waiting in line to reach the ordering counter were greeted by friendly staff inquiring whether or not it was a first time visit. They then offered a brief rundown of the day’s homemade soups.…

Destination: Pure Charm – Sadler’s Restaurant*Bakery in Marlborough, Connecticut

Posted on October 7, 2014

            Article & Photos by: Jacqueline Bennett     Sadler’s Restaurant * Bakery in Marlborough, Connecticut has an unassuming, Colonial looking exterior – what waits inside is pure charm. Quaint, cozy. warm, unpretentious. Sadler’s is all of that and more. With its wood floors, beamed ceilings, working two-sided stone fireplace, hanging baskets, Early American reminiscent furniture, lanterns and authentic cooking, the extraordinarily lovely Sadler’s is quintessential New England. Not only is the ambiance and staff welcoming, but the food is quite enjoyable. Our group of five could not have chosen a better place to partake of Sunday breakfast on an October morning. We were fortunate enough to cross paths with Chef/Owner Kevin Haggerty and found him to be equally as…

Destination: Skippers at Niantic Bay

Posted on September 30, 2014

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett Although autumn has officially arrived, temperatures in the 80’s extended summer’s reach this past weekend. I spent my “extended summer” the way I began the season, enjoying a restaurant in Niantic, Connecticut near Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound. In this case, a seafood shack called “Skippers”. Skipper’s is a pleasant year round spot with indoor and outdoor seating – the latter is most likely seasonal – and a friendly staff. The food is good. Be sure to try the spicy relish available at the self-serve condiment corner.                        Using “cholesterol free” oil, fried is the focus for seafood dinners here, such as the Fisher Man’s Platter…

Destination: Mixed Reviews for the new IHOP in Manchester, CT

Posted on September 1, 2014

Write-up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Recently, a friend invited me to breakfast at the newly opened IHOP restaurant in Manchester, Connecticut. It replaced Applebee’s, which closed. I came away from the experience with mixed reviews. First the lighting here is very bright, I tend to prefer soft or low lighting. Secondly, even though there was plenty of space in the main dining room and none of the servers appeared to be overburdened in any section, the waitress went to seat us in the somewhat isolated section to the far left. When we said we would prefer the main dining area, the waitress was visibly perturbed. She seated us as close to that left section as possible which meant one of us –…

Destination: Fred’s Shanty New London, Connecticut

Posted on July 21, 2014

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett    Tucked along Pequot Avenue on the waterfront in New London, Connecticut is Fred’s Shanty. Clam chowder was the first menu item I tried here. It was late summer, September, and my family decided we would drive down that weekend and take a look at the water one last time before the end of the season. There was a slight chill in the air and we were all wearing sweatshirts or light jackets. Dusk was falling when we came upon this marvelous roadside clam and hotdog shack on our way back from Ocean Beach. I have been returning at least once a summer ever since.   Fred’s Shanty overlooks a marina which makes for a pleasing vista…

Destination: Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant Mother’s Day Brunch, East Lyme Connecticut

Posted on May 10, 2014

Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb Sunday brunches have long been popular at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant in East Lyme, Connecticut. Tomorrow should be no exception when they put on a special Mother’s Day Brunch. Before renovation and expansion several years ago at this 30 year local mainstay, folks patiently waited in lengthy lines for a table in what was a small, cozy dining room inside an early 20th Century style house. It had ambiance galore. Out front were rustic picnic benches and a take-out window where a steady stream of customers showed up to order favorites such as clam fritters. Though some of the quaint atmosphere at Flanders was sacrificed for expansion, clearly it made good business sense. This is a…

Destination: Main Street Grille, Niantic Connecticut

Posted on May 4, 2014

031Write-Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Formerly Constantine’s, Main Street Grille now operated by Teddy Ignatiadis, is located in the center of Niantic village. The  front entrance is on Main and a rear upstairs deck overlooks the water of Niantic Bay. Handicapped access is a lower level rear entrance. Inside, the main dining area has long patio doors in the back, and there are plenty of windows in a smaller front dining area and adjacent bar, offering an outside view from pretty much any spot in the restaurant.

Delectable Lobster Bisque with huge chuncks of lobster.

Delectable Lobster Bisque with a huge chunk of lobster.


With warmer weather finally having arrived after a long, hard winter in New England, and, with summer just around the corner, this was a day to enjoy seafood. An especially tasty selection was the Lobster Bisque, with a large chunk of lobster which was positively delectable! The grilled salmon, served with an artistic dripping of white sauce, and the scallops were both cooked to perfection. Each came with two sides of the diner’s choice from a wide selection of sides – the chosen mashed sweet potato at a $1 more, sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers mix and cole slaw all got positive reviews. For the landlubber in the group, the teriyaki chicken was also good. Dinners were served with an uneventful basket of  white rolls – three rolls in the basket, refilled at no additional charge upon request.

The bar.

Another view of the bar.

In the bar, a wall of local history photos.

In the bar, a wall of local history photos.

Scallops with sauteed mushroom mix and coleslaw.

Scallops with sauteed mushroom mix and coleslaw.


Salmon and mashed sweet potato.

Salmon and mashed sweet potato.


Many dishes on the typical American cuisine menu are prepared with individualizing touches and they offer a Sunday Brunch.

Didn’t make it to dessert, however they have it, including creme brulee which is not found everywhere, and a variety of after dinner dessert drinks.

Decor is soft colors and ocean themed framed prints. In the bar is an interesting wall filled with a long row of local history photos.

The food at Main Street Grille is tasty, the prices for entrees range from $11 – $30, sandwiches and burgers $9-$16, soups, salads and appetizers $3-$12. The atmosphere is relaxed – it’s worthy of a return visit – 252 Main Street, 860-739-5300.

Due to its close proximity to Rocky Neck State Park, the population of downtown Niantic swells during the summer. The village has a few other restaurants, ice cream and frozen yogurt spots, a funky-looking downtown theater – a rarity nowadays- and a popular used book store called the Book Barn.




Destination: Wood-n-Tap Bar & Grill in Farmington, Connecticut

Posted on April 11, 2014

Write – Up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb Wood-n-Tap Bar & Grill in Farmington, Connecticut is one of a group of restaurants by the same name in the Greater Hartford area and lower part of the state. Open daily at 11:30 a.m., the Farmington site is located in what once was The Keg on the corner of an intersection along Farmington Avenue. The main dining area has a casual ambiance with dark decor booths and tables accented by overhanging lamps. The rear section tables are next to long patio windows and connected to a patio that overlooks a pond. In the tavern is an eye-catching stone fireplace, a bar, television – usually tuned to sports, booths and a long center table with high…