Thursday, September 13, 2012

Unapologetically Unimpressive

I used to go to Side Street Grille for the free, stale, buttery popcorn…and the free buffalo wings (which, by the way, most likely led to my eventual vegetarianism, given the mass quantities I ate).

I also used to go for the $2 beers (during happy hour), the quirky menu, and the perfectly dive-y atmosphere.

But last weekend, I went to Side Street Grille with some college friends for lunch – a real, adult, sit-down meal - that I actually paid money for. Oh, how times have changed.

Located in Hamden, Connecticut – about 10 minutes outside of New Haven – Side Street Grille is one of the few bars/restaurants located within walking distance of Quinnipiac University, my alma mater. I used to frequent this establishment at least once per week during my college days, so it was fun to go back and see what has changed. Or, in this case, what hasn’t. The place is still a dive – but clean and safe enough to be enjoyed by families and college kids alike. They’re also still serving up complimentary popcorn (which is still wonderfully stale and buttery, mind you). And while the menu has changed slightly, it’s still pretty much the same. The only big change this time around is that I only had one beer, and I paid full price for an actual meal there.

For my entrée, I ended up going with one of their specials that day: a tomato, arugula and mozzarella sandwich on ciabatta bread, served with fries and a pickle (sandwiches range from $9.99-$10.99).

Now that my palate has matured a little bit since college, I could tell that not much on this plate was fresh – meaning, the fries were clearly pre-frozen, and the bread was a little too chewy. However, realizing this gave me some comfort, knowing that the soon-to-be QU alumns would get to experience Side Street Grille for what it is: unimpressive, and unapologetic for it. I can’t wait to go back the next time I’m in Hamden.

Do you have a favorite dive bar/restaurant?

Side Street Grille on Urbanspoon


  1. I love dive bars, Michelle but there is no excuse for stale, pre-packaged food! One of my favorite places in Boston is Barracuda Tavern. With its $4 appetizers, incredible whole belly fried clams, fish tacos, and $2 beer specials. We usually make a whole meal out of just shared small plates which is ideal for serious drinking anyway.

    1. $4 apps and $2 beers sound pretty darn awesome to me!

  2. I don't even want to think of some of the things we ate in college... late-night calzones from DP Dough, steak and cheese sandwiches from Ted's, and probably most embarrassing of all, post-gym tuna sandwiches from Subway.

    1. Ooooh, the late night food...whenever I think back about what I ate after 2 a.m., I cringe.