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Where's the best classic restaurant in Connecticut?

Food & Wine Magazine has listed the top three classic restaurants in each state across the country. Here's who they named for Connecticut.
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Glass of red wine at dining table in backyard patio

CONNECTICUT, USA — Three Connecticut restaurants have been named in Food & Wine Magazine's top classic restaurants list

The list features restaurants from every state, but if you live in Connecticut, you'd know how hard the choices must have been, given how many delicious eateries are around.

Food & Wine said their list features nearly 250 restaurants from Alaska to Florida, taking a look at "classic" restaurants. They said the list represents an "attempt at examining each state's unique fingerprint on this vast, remarkably diverse thing that we call American food." 

So, which Connecticut restaurants made the list?

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First, the magazine lists Jean-Pierre Vuillermet's Union League Cafe in New Haven. The restaurant first opened in 1973 in a former home of a wealthy industrialist. The home itself was built on the site of the original homestead of founding father Roger Sherman on Chapel Avenue, steps away from the New Haven Green. 

"Connecticut romantics can't seem to quit, and who could blame them, this gorgeous old thing, with its swooping arches and dark wood trim and white tablecloths," said Food & Wine. 

While New Haven has almost too many fantastic restaurants to choose from and iconic pizza, Food and Wine next lists a restaurant in nearby Derby

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Roseland Apizzaa neon-signed, dimly lit relic from the 1930s that serves up that delicious "New Haven Style" pizza (a coal-fired Neapolitan pie) along with other mouth-watering Italian dishes.

"You're here for the blistered, giant-sized pies, but you'll come back for everything, starting with the soulful fra diavoloa frequent special," said Food & Wine.

The third restaurant can be considered a classic both by menu and by origin. 

"Hungry for a blast from the seriously distant past? The Griswold Inn has been serving hungry travelers since 1766," Food & Wine said. 

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The Griswold Inn can be considered one of the outstanding relics from when Europeans began to colonize the New England area. The Inn has some remarkable beginnings. On January 31, 1776, the Colony of Connecticut authorized the building of its first warship for the Revolution, the Oliver Cromwell. Shipbuilder Uriah Hayden of Essex (then known as “Saybrook”) was tapped to complete this mission. Hayden hired tradesmen and contracted with suppliers to outfit the vessel. 

Essex suddenly experienced an economic boom as the Haydens housed the shipyard workers and provided food, spirits and lodging to the suppliers, politicians and other patriots who would visit. 

If you have a taste for history, The Griswold Inn provides classic American fare and a front-row seat to witness classic early-American history. 


Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com.  

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