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Head on out for dinner…. And BYOB

Pack up your travel cooler with your favorite libations and head out to enjoy, friends, family and outdoor dining at one of the many Connecticut shoreline’s most unique outdoor dining & BYOB places.


Location: 131 Grove St. Clinton Ct 06413

Phone: (860) 669-4224

Energy: Putting a new twist on the food truck craze Shanks is a land anchored food boat, located off the beaten track amdist the marinas on Clinton’s water front.

Offering clean eating, fresh local fare with a rustic outdoor flare, seating at this sensational, seafood, sanctum is picnic tables and shade sails.

Tantalizing Tidbits: A wide variety of scintillating seafood sustenance can be found on the menu of this open air eatery.

Some favorites include:

Lobster, shrimp, tuna or chicken tacos topped with avocado, cabbage, mango pico de gallo and a delicious chipotle aioli topping

Lobster Nachos

Maple BBQ sweet potato fries

Fried avocado fingers

Twinkie strawberry shortcake


Fords Lobster

Location: 15 Riverview Ave, Noank, CT 06340

Phone: (860) 536-2842

Energy:  You won’t find this lobster lovers haven if you are not looking for it. Located way off the beaten path, just outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Mystic, Ford’s Lobster affords lobster shack fare coupled with waterfront fun. Offering an expansive view of Haring Marina and the Mystic River, this laid back, quaint, deck dining room also offers boat to dock dining.

The outdoor kitchen adds an authentic New England seaside feel to the fresh food experience and the added luxury of receiving a text when your table is available allows diners the freedom and flexibility to take a seaside stroll while waiting to be seated.

Tasty Tidbits: An abundant array of lobster-centric food can be found at this unique dining destination.

Some favorites include:

The famous “Lobster Bomb”. Made with a buttered bread bowls stuffed with ½ pound of fresh lobster (served with or without a ladle of creamy lobster bisque).

Lobster Rueben

Lobster Risotto

Lobster Thermidor

Lobster Bisque


Blue Oar

Address: 16 Snyder Rd, Haddam, CT 06438

Phone: (860) 345-2994

Energy: This place will transport you to Jamaica if you let it. With an upscale reggae bar feel, colorful red, yellow and blue picnic tables and white lights beneath the sprawling canopy of a century old tree. The Blue Oar has the perfect makings for a relaxed, serene summer scene, with friends and family. Offering up fresh creative preparations, this restaurant on the Connecticut River requests that you bring booze, cash (no credit cards) and your appetite to enjoy the tranquil vibe and casual ambiance. And if you have a boat, even better. This establishment is located dock side and welcomes and encourages visitors by water.

Tasty Tidbits: With call to fresh and local, fresh seafood is peppered throughout the menu, but there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Dinner offerings change daily.

Some favorites include:

Seared Ahi Sesame Tuna over avocado salad

BBQ Baby Back ribs with roasted potatoes and vegetable

Grilled Cajun Pork Lion

Coconut Shrimp over ginger rice

Variety of 20 different tarts, mousse and cakes made daily


Chow Food Truck

Location: 11 Ferry Street Essex CT

Phone: (860)-669-6200

Energy: On trend, Chow Food Truck, offers great chow, quick and easy. Taking over a scenic spot at Essex Island Marina, truck feasting at Chow means eating outdoors on picnic tables and a view to die for. The Connecticut River breeze comes off the water cooling diners as they enjoy tastefully created provisions that seduce taste buds and explode with flavorful  ferocity.

Tasty Tidbits: Unlike other outside BYOB spots on the shoreline, the Chow Food Truck does not focus on seafood, instead the fare is a variety of choices which are mostly meat centric.

Some favorites include:

The Havana Sandwich – ​Pulled pork, prosciutto de parma, sliced pickles, swiss and artisanal mustard on pressed bread.

The Spicy Bird – A buttermilk fried chicken thigh with chipotle mayo, pickles and smoked gouda on Brioche.

Beef Brisket Sandwich – With bourbon onion, smoked cheddar & pineapple chipotle BBQ sauce, served with french fries.

Roasted Tomato Bisque

Egg Rolls -Pulled pork with shredded cabbage & smoked cheddar, served with mango salsa dipping sauce


The Place

Location: 901 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT 06437

Phone: (203) 453-9276

Energy: If you like camping cuisine you will love this stress free spot, complete with tree trunk stools, red round table tops adorned with wine bottle vases and a la carte menu choices. The Place, is the place. Come as you are, bring who you want and enjoy fresh food cooked uniquely on the en plein air 18 foot long fire pit.

Located right on Route 1 in Guilford, this historic landmark is easy to find and hard to forget. Offering simple, non dressed fare, The Place welcomes guests to bring cash or check, (no credit cards) their own alcohol and their own sides to complement the main courses.

Tantalizing Tidbits: Everything at the Place is cooked over an open fire so there are no fries, no fried and no fuss.

Some favorites include:


Roast Clams

Cat Fish

Rib Eye Steak

Roasted Corn



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