We stopped into this Connecticut chainlet (with outposts in Greenwich and Wilton) and even though it was day TWO, the parking lot was packed. And this is no teeny, tiny restaurant. From the outside, the Tudor structure is meant to evoke a classic English pub, and from the inside it sort of does, albeit a large and airy one with antique beams, stone fireplaces, and iron chandeliers.
You won’t find bangers and mash or Yorkshire pudding on the menu, but you will find plenty of interesting takes on burgers, wraps, and sammies. We tried the pickle wings (weirdly tasty, with a hint of salty pickle brine) and we just can’t say no to Buffalo, here with a decent tangy sauce in need of a couple shakes of Tabasco. My Steakhouse Burger smothered in grilled onions, thick cut bacon, and melted cheddar on an airy brioche roll was delish; care has clearly been taken with the ingredients and grind. My husband’s deconstructed Ahi Tuna Tacos were less of a winner, but worth eating all the same. The guy likes his tuna barely passed over a flame and this serving was a bit overdone. Our exceptional waitress noticed and promptly sent a manager with an apology and the dish was deducted from our bill. “Little Plates” are fun, too, with pork and kimchi dumplings and Peking duck tacos on the menu. The “3.a.m At The Diner Fries” were calling to me (cheddar, chopped bacon, and chicken gravy) but luckily I had a wisp of willpower.
There is a slew of craft beers on tap, an enormous bar with requisite wide-screens, and a vast dining room for those that prefer an old-fashioned gabfest at dinner. It’s a fun gathering spot that will please the pickiest eater, great for families and easy on the wallet. Live music is in the works. I imagine the parking lot will continue to be packed as there aren’t many spots like this to grab a casual meal around Old Saybrook.