Pop’s Burgers and a Movie at Southington Drive-In


After a very long break, we’re back! We last left off with a dinner + movie review at Gilson Cafe Cinema in Winsted. We liked the movie prices but weren’t too impressed with the food. We decided to try this experience again at the Southington Drive-In.  The Southington Drive-In served the town of Southington from 1955 until 2002.  The town decided to reopen the drive-in 2010 as a community run theater.  Nostalgia was reborn!   The drive-in drew  a large crowd of both newcomers and movie-going veterans who longed to relive their drive-in memories.  We visited Southington Drive-In last summer and loved our experience.  When we learned Pop’s Burgers (also of Southington) serviced the Drive-in, we decided to review the drive-in as a dinner-and-a-movie package.  This is how our night panned out-

Southington Drive-In

Overall Grade: A

Location:  935 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT

Website Facebook Pop’s Burgers Menu

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Atmosphere: 10/10-We felt as if we were reliving a piece of history. We were in awe seeing the many cars lined up toward the drive-in screen.  We recalled our experience at the Hartford Drive-In before the town abandoned it and the Toll Brothers built mundane looking houses on the land.  We knew the importance of this drive-in from the moment we parked. There are only three drive-ins left in the state of Connecticut.  By the 1980s, drive-ins rapidly disappeared from the state.  The town of Southington cared enough to keep their drive-in alive and the community cared enough to show up in large quantities.  The power of nostalgia is something we cannot word eloquently but we can say that we were moved, truly and deeply moved.

We are also moved by Southington Drive-In’s choice to play classic movies and old fashioned commercials.  The drive-in plays a wonderful selection of movies.  They range from kid friendly like Shrek to scary movies like Friday the 13th. We enjoyed watching Shrek on the big screen again. We caught all of the “adult jokes” this time around!  If you visit the website, you’ll find a wide selection of movies that play throughout the summer. When you visit the drive-in, you’ll notice commercials like the one below. See if you recognize this gem!

 

Service: 10/10-We appreciated the hard work and personalities of the staff at the Southington Drive-In and Pop’s Burgers.  They greeted you with smiles and provided quick, quality service.  Be sure to thank a staff member on your visit.  They put A LOT of effort into making your experience enjoyable so remember to reciprocate  Also, show some respect for the park.  We saw a couple rude customers waiting in line for food and two women (with children) who smoked in front of them and threw their cigarette butts on the grass. We shouldn’t have to tell you why this is rude, disrespectful and downright stupid.  You are NOT entitled to disrespecting the property or the employees.

Price of food: 4/5-The prices are decent compared to other theaters. You’ll pay less for any of the items on Pop’s menu than you would at a regular movie theater. You’ll also A LOT pay less for Popcorn and Candy.  For example, a large bag of popcorn costs $3.  You can’t even get a box of candy for that price at most movie theaters!  Many people sneak in food to movie theaters because its so expensive.  At Southington Drive-In, you can pay for dinner and a snack and not feel broke.

Taste:  8.5/10– We also liked the taste of our food better than we do at most movie theaters.  Pop’s burgers and fries are made fresh on a grill.  We found the bun to be the most appealing part of our burger because it tasted like freshly cooked bread from a bakery.  We especially loved our savory fries.  The staff serves them in large quantities (like Five Guys Burgers & Fries) but they taste better than Five Guys’ fries.

Price of movie: 5/5  $10 a car for Southington residents.  $13 a car for non-residents. Pack a car full of friends (or family) and take advantage of the awesome price!

In a nutshell:  37.5/40-Southington Drive-In earns an A because they deliver great nostalgia, great food and great customer service.  The summer is young.  Check out their website and visit them this summer!

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More Hole In The Walls


Imagine that you’re with your friends, family or significant other on a weekend afternoon or night.  You’re looking for place to eat where you don’t have to wait long.  You’re starving and.want instant gratification.  You can opt for fast food.  Most people do.  But why settle for greasy mediocrity when you can have great local taste? This week, we’ll take a look at two Newington Hole In The Walls that offer just that.

GoldBurgers

Overall Grade: A

Links: WebsiteFacebookMenu     

Location:  1096 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111

Atmosphere: 9/10-    When you enter this brightly colored restaurant, you’ll be immersed by creativity.  You might first notice some local faces hanging in picture frames on the wall.  These are the winners of GoldBurgers’ food challenges.  The “Big Dog” and “Trinity” challenges require contestants to finish a large  amount of food in less than 45 minutes.  You will also notice a specials board and a suggestion box.  If you have a creative idea for a new menu item, you can submit it to the suggestion box.  The GoldBurgers staff considers new items all the time.  They could choose your idea and add it to the specials board!

Service: 10/10-   We’ve visited GoldBurgers several times since its opening in 2009 and we’ve always encountered friendly and fast service.  The staff tries their best to make you feel at home and will often inquire about your day, local events and how your food tastes.  This “hometown personality” cannot be replicated by a chain restaurant or  some fast food joint.

Price: 4/5-  Revision 12/28/12: We did an inventory of burger places in Connecticut and discovered that GoldBurgers prices DO NOT border on the high side. In fact,  Goldburger’s prices are pretty competitive. This is why we changed the score to 4/5. You can buy a solid meal (a burger, fries and a drink)  for around $10.

If you’re looking for an economical route, we suggest the “Build Your Own Burger” option.  For $3.49 you can build a single patty burger with choice of a number of free toppings.  You can even choose potato chips and banana peppers!  For $4.99, you can build a double patty burger.

Selection: 5/5-GoldBurgers oozes with creativity and variety!  In addition to the menu, the specials board features even more creative items that were brainstormed by the staff and customers.  Check out our five picks for GoldBurger’s most creative items.  For more information, check out the menu:


 1.  The GoldBurger:  2 beef patties, American cheese, lettuce, onions, GoldBurger sauce topped off with potato chips.   $5.99

2.   The “Boss” Burger:  2 beef patties layered with cheddar cheese sauce and jalapenos topped with pepper jack cheese and spicy mustard.  $5.99

3.  Chicken Hummus Burger:  Chicken burger topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and roasted red pepper hummus.  $5.39 

4.  Build Your Own Burger:   See menu.  $3.49- $4.99 +

 5.  Fully Loaded Fries:  Your choice of fresh cut fries or waffle fries topped with nacho cheese sauce, crumbled bacon, sour cream & jalapenos.  $5.99.  Add Chili for $1.00.  

 Taste  9/10:  Yes, GoldBurgers’  menu items taste as delicious as they sound.  They’re juicy, freshly made and packed with plenty of flavor.

In a nutshell: 37/40-GoldBurgers stands as one of the best burger joints in Connecticut because of its creative atmosphere, diverse menu and dishes that drip with flavor.  We strongly recommend you stop by for a bite if you live in Hartford county or if you’re willing to make the trip.

Tokyo Café

Overall Grade: B+

Links: FacebookMenu

Location: 451 New Britain Avenue, Newington, CT 06111

Atmosphere:  9/10-  Located on the border of Newington and New Britain, Tokyo Café exists as an anomaly in this part of town.  When Tokyo Café opened in the Summer of 2010, we thought it would be doomed to close early, knowing the history of several ill-fated restaurants that attempted to survive the slow business of New Britain Ave.  Tokyo Café has since beaten the odds (knock on wood) and we can’t be surprised.  The restaurant seats only a handful of people but one will overlook this because of  the charming Japanese decorations  and relaxing music.  Tokyo Café omits an aroma of authenticity, one that is hard to come by in other Japanese restaurants.   Few things about Tokyo Café scream “Americanized.”

Service:  9/10– You’ll find humble and pleasant service at Tokyo Café.  The staff greets and serves you with a quiet kindness.   You won’t need to wait long for your meals or for a check.  You can also order take-out style.

Selection/price: 8/10-   Tokyo  Café  has a diverse selection of items.  When you scan the menu, you will find a unique selection of  items that don’t exist at other local Japanese restaurants (i.e. Philadelphia Roll, Peanut Avocado Roll, Sweet Potato Roll).  You can also order a select number of hibachi items. Tokyo  Café  is fairly priced for a sushi and hibachi restaurant.  It could, however, benefit from an “all you can eat-sushi” option.  Check out  our five picks for  Tokyo Café’s most creative menu items.  For more information, check out the entire menu.

 1.  Philadelphia Roll: smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese.  $4.50

2.  French Dragon Roll:  Spicy crunch shrimp and avocado inside topped with crab meat and finished with eel sauce, spicy mayo and boney wasabi sauce.   $8.95

3.   Dinosaur Roll:  Salmon tempura inside topped with salmon and avocado.    $9.95

4.   Bento Box Lunch:  Your choice of vegetable, shrimp, chicken, beef, salmon, chicken or steak teriyaki, tempura or negimaki with California rolls, Shumai, White Rice, Miso Soup & Salad. $7.50-8.50

5. Authentic Japanese sodas: Flavors include-strawberry, orange, kiwi and mango.

 Taste:  9/10-Tokyo  Café serves a fresh and delicious taste.  Tokyo Café’s sushi dishes are not all together filling. If you are looking for a filling meal, we suggest you order one of the bento box options or the hibachi dishes.

In a nutshell: 35/40-Tokyo Café scores a solid B+ in our books.  You can expect authenticity and quality when you visit this restaurant.  We recommend you stop by with a couple of friends or a significant other. Tokyo Café is not big enough to hold a large group of people.  We hope it stays this way =)

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