Snack Shacks and Pop-Ups
Here are a few of our favorite local summer snacks.
You know the sort of summer place that just looks like a good time? That’s what you’ll find at Shank’s. Order your fried seafood platters or fish tacos from the folks inside the lobster boat (with a fully functional commercial kitchen), then head to the upstairs deck for a stunning view of Clinton Harbor and sailboats bobbing on their moorings. We spent a perfect Wednesday night, grateful for long days and lazy sunsets, watching paddlers and kayakers ply the calm waters. Mammoth platters of fat belly clams and crispy steak fries arrived at our table from an earnest staff who genuinely aims to please. The fish tacos are a winner here, served either grilled or fried, but you won’t go wrong with any of the fried offerings. The New England style chowder is a tasty one, studded with clams and potatoes and not too gloppy. Paleo peeps will be happy with piles of greens topped with giant grilled shrimp. Kid friendly and BYOB.
131 Grove Street, Clinton
Wafflebar, Old Lyme
Waffles? On the beach? Why not? I’m more likely to go for a lemon ice on a beach day, so I sent e-list intern, Kelly, down to Sound View to check out this new snack stop. She found a Belgian-inspired cafe and a menu of design-your-own waffles, smoothies and sundaes. After taste-testing her way through a salted caramel/whipped cream concoction and Nutella, stawberry and banana mash-up, she declared the crispy treats delish. A perfect brunch or quick afternoon snack, Wafflebar is open 8am to 8pm daily, through October. Cash only.
The Pilot House, Haddam
I’ve blazed past the Pilot House a bazillion times over the years and never stopped in. You’ve seen it on 154 in Haddam as you turn toward the river to the Blue Oar. This classic roadside stand never exactly screamed healthy choices for my clean eating regime but once my mind was set on snack shack indulging, I made a bee line. I’d heard from a couple of hot dog connoisseurs that THIS is the place, justly famous for their housemade relish. On a shady picnic table overlooking lush woods, I tucked in for a taste test atop long grilled hot dogs. I couldn’t decide between HOT and SWEET so I went for one of each. The hot was HOT, but bold with flavor and the sweet was crunchy with loads of celery – both perfectly paired with a grilled and buttered bun. After 70 years in full swing, these folks have it down.
They serve burgers and ice cream, too. But that relish…
1364 Saybrook Rd, Haddam
Visit their Facebook page.
by Laura Williams
Cedar Lake Snack Shack, Chester
Where can you get your morning egg sandwich and coffee waterside these days? I get mine at the Snack Shack at Cedar Lake. During the summer months, Cedar Lake Town Beach is for Chester residents and guests only, but anyone can hit the Snack Shack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the view like a local. Munch on grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers, fries and all sorts of candy, chips and ice cream on the deck at an umbrella-topped picnic table. This place meets all snack shack criteria: fry-o-lator, swinging screen doors, breeze off the water. Need to charge your phone? Or a magazine to read while you’re here? They’ve got that too. Even better, there’s LIVE MUSIC every Sunday on the beach. BYOB and a handful of friends for a variety of bands like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde or Essex Corinthian Jazz Band.
Check the FB page for details and times. Concerts are free and open to everyone.
218 West Main Street, Chester