Stopping by The Sloppy Waffle in Newington


It always fascinates us to see restaurants develop a cult following. When people typically think of the phrase “cult following,” they apply it to movies, bands, television shows or occasionally novels. Restaurants develop cult followings when they offer something new and exciting to customers. When GoldBurgers opened in Newington, residents developed a love for their savory burgers, terrific staff and creative specials. The word spread fast and GoldBurgers quickly earned the reputation as one of the best burger places in Connecticut. Since its opening a couple of years ago,  The Sloppy Waffle has started to earn a similar reputation as evidenced by almost 2000 likes on Facebook and an endorsement from Bob Kaufman, the founder of Bob’s Discount Furniture. Would The Sloppy Waffle develop the same “cult following” that GoldBurgers has? We had to find out for ourselves.

The Sloppy Waffle

B+

Location: 2551 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06111

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DSC00041Atmosphere-9/10: The Sloppy Waffle has a certain charm about it in both its interior and exterior. When we entered the restaurant, we noticed plenty of decorative pictures on the walls along with signs detailed with humorous sayings. Several restaurants down south decorate their interior in a similar fashion. During the spring and summer months, customers can sit outside and enjoy their waffles under quaint little tables with red umbrellas. On a sunny, Saturday morning, it’s a picturesque place to be.

Service: 8.5/10-The staff members at The Sloppy Waffle always have a cheerful disposition and try their best to satisfy customers. While the restaurant can be quite busy and sometimes understaffed, we were never dissatisfied by their attempts. One fact about The Sloppy Waffle that we found interesting and somewhat strange is that they do not accept credit cards. Instead, they have an ATM machine in the lobby to make up for the trouble. This works to both The Sloppy Waffle’s advantage and detriment. The cash only policy will remind some customers of a more innocent time when most restaurants were of this mindset. For younger customers, the historical resemblance will be lost upon them.

Price/Selection: 8.5/10-The Sloppy Waffle offers a unique selection in terms of their specialty waffles. When customers open up the  menu, they are often taken by the variety and the creativity of the waffles. Some of the more unique selections include chicken and waffles, apple cobbler, chocolate lover and s’mores that are gluten free. The restaurant also offers eggs, burgers and an option that allows you to build your own waffles.  In terms of the price to portion ratio, the waffles tend to be smaller than some customers would expect for what they pay. The waffles, however, are quite filling with a side of eggs, bacon or sausage.

DSC00043Taste: 9/10-We have visited The Sloppy Waffle several times since their opening two years ago because we have been consistently satisfied by their entrees. While some Yelp and Facebook users would beg to differ, we consider their specialty waffles to be delicious in terms of their taste and texture. We were especially taken by their chicken and waffles dish along with their s’mores waffle. The chicken and waffles dish impressed us because of how well the staff succeeded in replicating a southern favorite in a New England  Kitchen. The s’mores waffle was so delicious that it inspired us to go out to Price Chopper and buy ingredients to make the real thing.

In a nutshell: 35/40-Despite a few kinks, we wouldn’t be surprised if The Sloppy Waffle becomes a Newington classic and earns a cult following. The restaurant has improved since its humble beginnings and we expect it to continue to improve as long as it maintains its dedicated staff and has a presence in Newington. As the town of Newington continues to transform into a hot spot for hole in the wall restaurants, it’s nice to see The Sloppy Waffle contribute to that reputation.

A Look at CT Snapshot’s Season 4 Reviews


Since 2012, we at CTSnapshot have done our best to review Connecticut’s fun and food. We have focused more on the “food” aspect of that phrase in recent years, however, because Connecticut has so much to offer in terms of its diverse restaurants. In 2015, we will do our best to deliver reviews with respect to both because we want residents to never stop exploring what their state has to offer in terms of its activities, entertainment and cuisine.  In 2015,  we will continue be honest and sometimes blunt about our experiences because our readers deserve to know the truth about the quality of the places we visit.

Check out the list below for a sneak peak of our season 4 reviews. This is a tentative list and by no means a comprehensive one. If you have any recommendations about restaurants or other establishments we should visit, we would love to hear your suggestions!

1. The Sloppy Waffle in Newington

2. Vinny’s Jump and Jive in Middletown

3. Utsav Indian Cuisine in Wethersfield

4. Mark’s Tree Farm in Colchester

5. Zafra Rum Bar in New Haven

6. Prime Climb in Wallingford

7. Thimble Island Brewing Company in Branford

8. Fascia’s Chocolates in Waterbury

Vetting the Venetian Restaurant in Torrington


We believe reviewers have the responsibility of being both thorough and honest in their content. Long before we started CT Snapshot, Christina and I frequented websites such as Yelp and Urban Spoon to help us find the best places to eat in Connecticut. The reviewers who posted thorough and honest content proved the most helpful. As bloggers, we have the responsibility to do the same for our readers given our platform and reach. When we visited the Venetian restaurant in Torrington back in October we knew that we owed it to our readers to tell the truth about our experience.

The Venetian Restaurant is the only one of its kind in the state of Connecticut. It was started by Italian immigrants in 1960 and developed a reputation as a renowned restaurant since then. We respect and appreciate the legacy of this restaurant because of our adoration for history and our love for stories about the American Dream. Like the DilLullo family, our grandparents and great grandparents immigrated to this country to contribute something beautiful and meaningful.  The original owners of this restaurant undoubtedly made this contribution to the town of Torrington. A place with such a great legacy, however, must be maintained by people who love and care for it throughout the years.  Unfortunately, the Venetian restaurant failed to capture our hearts due to poor service and mediocre cuisine.

The Venetian Restaurant

Location:  52 East Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790

Grade: C

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Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 4.36.53 PMAtmosphere: 9/10-When we stepped inside the Venetian Restaurant, we noticed that the owners were making a considerable effort to immerse the customers in the culture of Venice. The paintings on wall were indicative of the city throughout the ages. The fancifully decorated tables showed a willingness to make customers believe that they were receiving a fine dining experience. The paintings on the wall spoke to my own experience in Venice. This particular painting (shown to the left) reminded me of my first gondola ride, minus the men in clothing of a different era. Others paintings reminded me of the beauty of Venice at any time of year.

Price/Selection: 8/10-The menu items are borderline expensive, but this is not out of the ordinary for Italian restaurants. Many Italian restaurants across the state of Connecticut tend to charge upwards of twenty dollars or more per menu item. While the restaurant’s seafood dishes average $20 or more, pasta dishes cost no more than $17. The Venetian Restaurant also offers a theatre menu for people attending a show at the Warner Theatre. This speaks to their awareness of their customers’ needs and makes them a viable option for theatre goers on a tight schedule.

Service: 5/10-The service is  what soured our experience. We fully realize that one  waiter or waitress is not representative of every staff member at a restaurant. One waiter or waitress, nonetheless, can leave a lasting impression on any customer. Our waitress first showed us an awareness of our needs. We asked for the show menu and she informed us that she would serve our food in a timely fashion. From there on, our waitress berated us with rude comments such as “make up your mind” and “I’m going to bring you a vase of water because you’re drinking a lot” instead of asking us if we wanted one. She also scoffed at us when we thanked her for bringing us our check. We were saddened that we treated our waitress with the utmost respect and she showed us none in return.

Taste: 7.5/10-We wanted to enjoy our fish and pasta cuisines, but they left much to be desired. These dishes were nicely decorated and assembled in a way that speaks to the chef’s culinary talent. We were excited to try our dishes because we read numerous reviews that described them as “savory” and “delicious.” While the dishes offered a palatable texture, they lacked the savory quality we had expected. They satisfied our hunger, but left us wondering about the delicious Venetian cuisine that oh so many customers have spoken of over the years.

In a nutshell-29.5/40-In our experience, The Venetian Restaurant fell short of its established legacy. We are open minded people and would be willing to give it a second chance, but unfortunately the service and food soured our first impression of the restaurant. We hope that if any staff members from the restaurant ever read this review, they will remember to value their customers and honor the restaurant’s great legacy. We encourage you to experience The Venetian Restaurant for yourselves and tell us if it measures up to your expectations of it.

Venturing to Pho Viet in Newington


We’ve placed some entries on the back burner in 2014 to attend to life’s rigor and routine. But alas, here they are! Back in July, we visited Pho Viet, Newington’s first Vietnamese restaurant out of curiosity and our love for Vietnamese cuisine. Personally, I fell in love with Vietnamese cuisine back in college when I visited a cute, hole in the wall restaurant in Farmington.  The fresh meats and vegetables lifted my taste buds to a level of flavor they had not experienced before. In the coming years, I visited other Vietnamese restaurants with Christina, but none quite compared. I wondered if Pho Viet could capture my heart and hers in the same fashion.

Pho Viet

A

Location: 36 Fenn Road, Newington, CT 06111

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Atmosphere: 10/10-The word “beautiful” isn’t one we use lightly, especially when it comes to describing the atmosphere of a restaurant, but it perfectly describes the interior of Pho Viet. We’re not using the word in a conventional sense either, but in terms of owners’ craftsmanship. Most restaurants owners will go through the trouble of decorating  their restaurant by utilizing the wall space with pictures and signs, but few care to paint the interior in a way that is truly artistic. The brightly colored walls of Pho Viet remind visitors how deeply the owners care about how their restaurant looks and inviting visitors to experience their culture.

Service: 9.5/10-Knowing how much the owners care about the ambiance of the restaurant, we expected the service to be equally great and we were not disappointed. Pho Viet offers the option of dining in or ordering out. As such, the staff members are always busy attending to multiple different tasks. While it’s commonplace for restaurants to face these challenges, Pho Viet has the edge in that most of the staff members are related. The familial bond makes it easier for them to work as a team and satisfy customers.

Price/Selection: 9/10-Pho Viet offers great prices in terms of its entrees and appetizers. Neither the appetizers nor the entrees exceed $12, giving this restaurant a competitive edge when comparing it to other Vietnamese restaurants across the state. Pho Viet offers a limited number of menu items and this works both to their advantage and disadvantage. Having a limited number of items makes it easier for customers to choose, especially those who have never tried Pho before. It is also an indication that the staff specializes in creating these items. A limited number of vegetarian items, on the other hand, could leave some customers wanting more.

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Taste: 9/10-Pho Viet’s pho proved to be the most satisfying item on its menu. The restaurant offers a number of unique items such as crispy spring rolls, rice vermicelli and Vietnamese rice dishes and soups, but none proved more delicious than the pho. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup consisting of rice noodles, basil, bean sprouts, lime and cilantro in a seasoned beef or chicken broth. We recommend trying the Pho Ga (rice noodles with chicken) or for those more daring, the Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef soup with Hue style vermicelli.

In a nutshell: 37.5/40-Pho Viet created a totally new experience from the Vietnamese restaurant we dined at in Farmington long ago. It reminded us that no matter how many of the same types of restaurants exist across the state with similar sounding names, it is still worth it to stop by one at your own convenience. You never know when you’re going to be surprised by the owners’ craftsmanship, competitively low prices or quality service that can only come from a true familial bond.

Italian Take 3-Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant


CT Snapshot started two years ago with a newly opened Italian restaurant in Wethersfield. We went without any intention of reviewing the restaurant, never mind starting a review blog. We were two customers looking to enjoy an inexpensive, delicious Italian meal.  We encountered sheer disappointment. A year later, we continued our quest in East Hartford. While our experience improved, we were still left wondering if a restaurant that served delicious, inexpensive Italian cuisine existed in the state. Last night, we continued our quest and decided to put Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant in Southington to the test.

Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant

Grade: B/B-

Location: 75 Center street, Southington, CT

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10384670_10152586872957953_2577116091419246860_nAtmosphere: 8/10- From across the street, we noticed a few tables of people enjoying their meals outside. With wine glasses in their hands and good conversations, we knew they were perfectly content. As we entered the restaurant, we noticed the paintings of Italian and Italian-American culture that mounted the walls. We were pleased to note that the staff took the time to decorate the interior. The tables, however, left us slightly disappointed. Our tables were not set until our waitress came. We also found it odd that most of the tables in the restaurant were without cloths.We understood that it was a busy night for the restaurant, but we wondered how our experience would turn out.

Service: 9/10-We knew Machiavelli’s was short staffed when it seemed like our waitress served the majority of the tables at the restaurant. We also had to wait a considerable amount of time for our waitress to come to our table. Once she did, she apologized and took our order along with the orders of several other tables! We also received our meals in a reasonable amount of time. If the rest of Machiavelli’s staff is as efficient as our waitress proved to be, one can safely say that they care about customer service.

Price/Selection: 8/10-Italian restaurants tend to be pricy, but Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant has a number of entrees at affordable prices. Entrees range in price from $10.99 to $29.99. People of all income levels can enjoy meals without breaking the bank. In terms of selection, Machiavelli’s offers a variety of entrees. We wondered if offering items such as steaks or burgers added or subtracted from the restaurant’s authenticity.

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 Taste: 8/10- We were left with varying emotions about our entrees and appetizers. We took note of the delicious sauces, sweet taste of the Italian sausage and scrumptious clam pieces. We also enjoyed the freshly baked breads.  We found the salad to be mediocre and could have had more vegetables to add to the taste. Christina also found her pasta to be a little dry. We can safely say though that we enjoyed our meals.

In a nutshell: 33/40-Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant proved to be the best Italian restaurant we have reviewed in CT Snapshot so far. With a friendly staff and a wide array of menu items and tastes, we feel that Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant has the potential to succeed in Southington. We still believe that an excellent, inexpensive Italian restaurant exists in the state and we will continue our quest to find it!

Machiavelli's Italian on Urbanspoon

Torrington’s Teriyaki Boy


Christina and I saw a peculiar sight when we were driving down East Main Street in Torrington one night. It was a quaint, little restaurant that stood less than a mile from the highway. We noticed that it was too small for people to eat inside and that it was only accessible by walk-up and drive-thru windows. We also noticed the restaurant’s sign-an adorable raccoon eating a rice bowl with chop sticks. We couldn’t recognize the name in the dark, but we remembered the sign and we were interested enough to conduct further research. Once we discovered that the owners lived in Japan before opening Teriyaki Boy, we knew we had to review it!

Teriyaki Boy

Grade: A-

Location: 305 East Main Street, Torrington, CT

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  Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.13.59 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.17.12 PMAtmosphere: 9/10-Teriyaki Boy’s odd appeal is that it’s only accessible by a walk up window and a drive-thru window. In Connecticut, one would typically expect this up type of set up from an ice shop such as Dairy Queen, not a Japanese restaurant. Teriyaki Boy’s other appeal is its existence as one of the only rice bowl restaurants in the state. The owners knew they had something special to offer a town that already has many restaurants. These facts inspired us to drive an hour from where we live to eat there. While seating is limited, we enjoyed being able to eat outside on a sunny, summer day.

Service: 9/10-Teriyaki Boy has a small staff, yet they are still friendly and efficient. While the owner was of few words, we found her to be pleasant and dedicated. The rice bowls take no more than five minutes to make, but this amount of time does not sacrifice the quality of the products. This speaks to the staff’s knowledge and practice in their craft.

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Selection: 4/5-The menu contains a select number of items in terms of drinks, appetizers and entrees. Rice bowls and curry make up the bulk of the menu. Customers can also order items such as miso soup, shumai  (fried shrimp dumplings) and Tokyo style ramen. The rice bowl flavors include Beef Teriyaki, Chicken Teriyaki, Veggie Tofu, Salmon Teriyaki, Chicken Katsu Curry, Seafood Combo and popcorn chicken. Delicious Japanese soft drinks such as Calpico can be found on the menu as well.

Price: 5/5-Customers will pay no more than $8.95 for a meal at Teriyaki Boy. Whether you are in a hurry for lunch or want to sit down and stay awhile, you won’t have to burn a hole in your wallet.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.13.36 PM Taste: 9/10-As mentioned above, while many of Teriyaki Boy’s items are fast and ready-made, they do not sacrifice flavor. For example, when we tried the Salmon and Veggie Tofu rice bowls, we could taste the juices of the salmon and tofu before applying the soy sauce. Likewise, the pickled ginger tickled our taste buds and the steamed vegetables reminded us we were eating a healthy meal at an affordable price. Our

Recommendations: We recommend trying the Veggie Tofu, Salmon and Chicken Katsu Curry as our top picks for the rice bowl selection. Of the ramen, miso stands out as the most flavorful. For a drink, we recommend any of the Calpico flavors, especially the original lemon if you have never tried the beverage before.

In a nutshell: 36/40-Whether you live in the Torrington area or you’re looking to make the trip, we recommend Teriyaki Boy for its delicious cuisine, affordable menu items and all around originality. In order to survive, people need to get the word about Teriyaki boy. If you enjoy what you try, please do the restaurant a favor and spread the word.

Munching on Mecha Noodle


We remember the college days in which we were so broke that Maruchan ramen noodles proved to be a cheap, practical meal. We’re not alone. Our friends also recall binge eating Maruchan ramen noodles because they were easy to buy and effortless to make. We failed to realize that eating Maruchan’s version was a  disservice to our taste buds. Some of us went on to try real ramen in cities such as Boston. Others neglected to try it and failed to realize that restaurants exist in Connecticut that serve real ramen noodles. It wasn’t until after graduating college that Christina and I decided to venture to Fairfield to try Mecha Noodle Bar. Knowing that “mecha” means “mom and pop” in Vietnamese, we were in high hopes for a home cooked, ramen dinner.

 Mecha Noodle Bar

Grade: B+

Location: 1215 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT

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Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.21.34 AMAtmosphere: 9/10-We  were disappointed to discover that the image we captured of Mecha Noodle Bar’s interior was too blurry and used an image from Yelp instead. We’re pleased to report, however, that Mecha Noodle’s interior is one of intrigue. Immediately upon walking inside, we saw a plethora of decoratively hung and placed wooden pieces that reminded us of a bamboo village or forest. The music did not add to the atmosphere though.

Service: 8.5/10-Mecha Noodle Bar seemed short staffed that night and it took longer than we expected to receive our meals. A restaurant that attracts many customers per night needs a number of staff members to keep up with the demand. Nonetheless, we received competent, friendly service. We found our waitress to be both personal and knowledgable. Without hesitation, she answered our questions about the menu and the restaurant itself.

Price/Selection: 9/10-The restaurant’s menu offers a wide selection of items, including ramen, pho, dumplings, cocktails, wines and beers. We were particularly impressed by their beer selection, as Dogfish Head is our favorite IPA.   We were also surprised by the number of ramen items on the menu versus the number of pho items because of the reputation the restaurant carries for its ramen. We figured that Mecha Noodle Bar also has a reputation for their affordable entrees that range from only $10-19!

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Taste: 9/10-When you try ramen or pho from Mecha Noodle House, you probably won’t want to settle for the store brand again. While the entrees varied in terms of taste, our taste buds were pleased  with what we tried, especially with the ramen and dumplings.  If you have never treated real ramen before, we recommend the miso ramen because we are especially fond of the red miso/chili oil combination. If you’re a seafood lover, we recommend the mazemen dish for its variety of shellfish.

In a nutshell: 35.5/40-We recommend that you stop by Mecha Noodle Bar for its admirable selection of ramen, pho and alcohol along with its decorated interior. If you have never tried real ramen before, you might not revert back to your store brand ramen days!

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