I-95 Eats
February 17, 2011 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Any worthwhile pit stops along I-95 in the Northeast Corridor?

Between NYC and Boston, are there any excellent places to grab a bite right off I-95? There has to be a great cup of coffee/slice of pie/plate of food along that stretch of highway instead of the fast food in the Rest Areas, right? I'm looking for recommendations that don't require heading into town, more like easy-off/on.
posted by mkultra to Travel & Transportation (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If you take 95 the whole way from NYC to Boston, you're doing it wrong.

That said, hop off in Fairfield, CT for a pizza at Pepe's (yes, I know it's not original, but it's closest to the highway, I think).
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Broadway Diner in Baltimore is right off the Eastern Ave exit of 95. It's quite good and they have great desserts. Also I love their meat loaf.
posted by capnsue at 1:55 PM on February 17, 2011

Super Duper Weenie!
posted by steveminutillo at 2:07 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Premises is right - why are you taking 95? Is there a reason you need to go through Rhode Island?

If you are actually going via 91 and 84 and the Mass Pike, there's Traveler Restaurant in Union on the CT side of the Mass/CT border.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:10 PM on February 17, 2011

I agree with the first response. I would also avoid taking 95 the whole way, unless you have to for some reason. 95north to 91north to 84 to 90. It's what all the buses do between NYC and BOS. 95 can be a crawling nightmare. 8 hour drives are not unusual.

If you do take the alternate route look for Reins Deli. Standard NYC style Jewish Deli with good food. Reins Deli
posted by WickedPissah at 2:15 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well IF you want to take a detour through long island there are many places to stop .
posted by majortom1981 at 2:17 PM on February 17, 2011

I meant you could take a detour through long island stop at a winery or two and take a relaxing ferry ride to new london.
posted by majortom1981 at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2011

If you do end up taking 95, there are a couple of good places in and around Mystic CT. Use the exit for Mystic Aquarium.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

10 minutes off of Exit 133 in Fredericksburg VA is Carl's Ice Cream stand. It opens for the season tomorrow.
posted by COD at 2:30 PM on February 17, 2011

I do that drive a lot and if you're going during the day taking the Merritt Parkway is MUCH nicer and less boring, and it'll take you all the way to 91. Also you'll save on tolls. That said, we've been to many of the diners off both roads and they're nice. But yeah, Mickey D's off the road is never good--if you want to do a roadside experience, there are several truck stops along the way so at least you get the possibility of a steam table. Have a good drive!
posted by supercoollady at 3:08 PM on February 17, 2011

I am willing to go off track here and recommend instead that you go off track: From Boston, you should be taking Route 90 to Route 84 to Route 91 to Route 95. You will still have the chance to visit the rather interesting Traveller's Restaurant in Union, CT (which is right on 84, look for the "FOOD AND BOOKS" sign), and you will have the chance to pull off in New Haven for Frank Pepe's or Sally's Apizza if that's more your style. Even if you do take 95 the whole way, you can still get to Frank Pepe's or Sally's in NH.
posted by holterbarbour at 3:09 PM on February 17, 2011

...or do it the other way around since you said NYC to Boston, not Boston to NYC.
posted by holterbarbour at 3:10 PM on February 17, 2011

"Between NYC and Boston" so presumably NJ, Virginia, and Maryland are out of the way.

There used to be an awesome truck stop off of I-95 exit 93 in Connecticut. IT was open 24 hours a day and between midnight and 7 during the week they had all-you-can-eat pancakes, homefries, toast, eggs, and coffee for like $3. They closed last month :(

There is a 24-hour truck stop in West Greenwich, RI.

If you decide to take I-84, the Gold Roc Diner in West Hartford is OK.

All my other suggestions are close enough to your destination that you may as well just keep driving: The Attleboro and Norwood exits in Massachusetts have a ton of options.
posted by mkb at 3:16 PM on February 17, 2011

Traveller's Restaurant, absolutely. With a meal, you get three free used books. It is a fantastic one-of-a-kind place. You will not be blown away by the food. It is... fine. It's just worth going to see a restaurant covered in bookshelves, and hear the stories the waitresses tell. And free books!
posted by Adridne at 3:18 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hah! As These Premises Are Alarmed says, pizza in Fairfield CT at Pepe's, ohmygod yes! I am a Fairfield native living in Bucks County PA these days, but when I get back there Pepe's is on the list of got-to-go-to's. Funny thing is, it's relatively new there... the original Pepe's being in nearby New Haven (which you'll also pass through). Fairfield had a few good pizza places when I was growing up there but Pepe's kills them dead.

While it's true that the Merritt is a much more scenic drive, there are fewer points of interest along it, and really no notable places to eat that I can think of until you get up around New Haven -- and tven then you'd have to drive further to get to them.

Plus you can stop off at Mystic CT and see their very cool aquarium and some great old ship-like things if you've a mind to do a bit of sightseeing.

Note that there is not hamburger all over the highway there... at least, not anymore.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2011

"even" not "tven." *sigh*
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:50 PM on February 17, 2011

there are a couple of good places in and around Mystic CT

A few of these are:

Sea Swirl, a favorite for fried clams and other roadside summer food;

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream;

and Kitchen Little.

I chuckled at the "you're doing it wrong" comment, but I've been shuttling between New York and New England for years and I still prefer 95. There is much more to see and do along the way, more interesting places to stop, and much more civilization - a plus if, like me, you're female and travel a lone a lot.

Time works out the same, the difference is potential traffic. It all depends on what times/days you're traveling. Avoid the hours of 6-10 AM and 4-8 PM on weekdays either direction near either major city. Avoid going north on 95 on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings in summer, and south on Sunday evenings in summer (vacation traffic backups). For driving during midday, most weekend days one way or the other, and off season, it's not so bad.
posted by Miko at 4:00 PM on February 17, 2011

gosh sorry i totally missed the 'between NYC and Boston' thing! sorry!
posted by capnsue at 4:51 PM on February 17, 2011

If you are going to get off the highway in New Haven for pizza, leave Pepe's and Sally's for the tourists and enjoy Modern Apizza.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 5:45 PM on February 17, 2011

Time works out the same, the difference is potential traffic

I mean, I guess, but Providence is a traffic nightmare and Southern RI / Eastern CT is basically a dead zone. Whereas 90/84/91 is predictably tame, except Hartford, which is not nearly as bad as Providence in my experience.

/grumping by guy from the "much less civilization area". we invented basketball!

Anyway, pizza in New Haven is a win. If you're going to Pepe's, go to that one, not the one in Fairfield! Sheesh! Reins is also excellent.
posted by zvs at 11:21 PM on February 17, 2011

Also I-95 in CT has much more construction than I-84 it seems, with no carpool lane! At least with Providence you could take I-295 around the city proper but that hardly makes up for I-95 in CT. If I absolutely had to drive that route I would take US-6 or US-44 east from Hartford instead.

Uh, end derail, sorry.
posted by mkb at 6:31 AM on February 18, 2011

If you take the preferred route, Rein's as mentioned above is good.

Another favorite that won't make the list is the Merritt Canteen on Main St in Bridgeport. Take exit 48 from the parkway, turn right, and it's about a mile away on your right. The whole belly clam roll is perfect.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:33 AM on February 18, 2011

Providence is a traffic nightmare

It's a thousand times better since they completed the 195/95 split construction - very smooth and wide. The only serious traffic is over about 90 minutes around rush hour, and even then it's a slowdown for 10 miles but very rarely a complete stop.

and Southern RI / Eastern CT is basically a dead zone

Oh, not true - that's where I used to live and it's one of the reasons I like driving through there - there are so many good places to stop in that area, all with good eateries and interesting browsing - Old Lyme, Niantic, New London, Mystic, Stonington, Westerly/Watch Hill.

I was also going to suggest stopping in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence for a home-cooked Italian lunch and some great specialty grocery shopping.
posted by Miko at 6:46 AM on February 18, 2011

Did this drive yesterday, and took the parkways (Henry Hudson->Saw Mill->Cross County->Hutchinson River->Merritt->Wilbur Cross). No traffic or construction delays at all and no commercial traffic to bother you. Much faster and more pleasant trip than I-95. Katz's Restaurtant Deli in Woodbridge, CT meets your needs exactly.
posted by Right On Red at 8:19 AM on February 18, 2011

that's where I used to live

Haha, I believe we both have the same bias.

That said, I haven't driven through Providence without the 195 construction, so I'm willing to concede that Miko could be right. But you still won't catch me on I-95! I also recommend the Merritt Parkway to the W Cross, that's a nice trip. Although it can be slow.

(Federal Hill is a nice option.)
posted by zvs at 12:26 PM on February 18, 2011

If you take 95 through Philly, I highly recommend Sketch Berger.
posted by Blandanomics at 4:25 PM on February 19, 2011

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