the place restaurant in guilford

I got an extension. You know, like the kind you used to hope for in school, but it was never a year long!  My Hawaii cousin Brent has extended his stay in Boston until July 2012. Even so, the pressure is on to make sure he completes the quintessential Connecticut bucket list in the time remaining. A rainy morning sent us in search of alternate plans and since we couldn’t hit the beach, the next best thing was a trip to The Place Restaurant in Guilford, Connecticut.

If you have visitors who are new to New England, this place is a home run. I’m guessing the menu has been the same since it opened in 1971. You put your ‘rump on a tree stump’ and order something from the grill. While it’s not my favorite seafood in the state, it is one of my favorite places, based on atmosphere alone. We usually come here at least once a season (May-October).

You’re lookin’ at the one menu and the grill, where everything is cooked.

I don’t exactly know why it’s so much fun to sit on a stump. It’s not the most comfortable seating arrangement, which is I guess why they have some weathered seat cushions hanging at the edge of the tent.

At night, it’s great to be directly under the stars, but in case of inclement weather or super hot days, they pull over the tent. In this photo you can see these folks have come prepared with their cooler. The Place is BYOB and they don’t mind if you bring other sides to complement the menu. While your packing up your cooler, I will recommend two other items. A round outdoor tablecloth isn’t a bad idea and some dental floss may come in handy, you will be eating corn on the cob after all. You may also notice something silvery on the tree stumps.  All the seating was still damp from passing thunderstorms, so The Place offered up tin foil to keep you dry.

Roasted Corn. It’s a must order item, even though it’s a bit of a mess. When you’re done eating, always ask your neighbor if there are any charred black bits you should know about.

Roasted Clam Special. This is hands-down my favorite thing on the menu. It’s just clams with cocktail sauce, straight from the grill. Careful, those grates are HOT!

And the main event. 1-3/8 lb lobsters.  I am a lazy lobster-eater which means I usually prefer a hot lobster roll. Please – no mayo, I was born and raised in Connecticut. Right now Bill’s Seafood is my CT favorite, but @donvivant has convinced me that I must try Lobster Landing in Clinton. Despite my love of the easy-to-eat lobster roll, once a summer I enjoy digging in and working for my lunch with a roasted whole lobster.

If you’re driving to Guilford from Fairfield County (or points west), remember to factor in I-95 traffic. The highway can get jammed on Friday afternoon, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons with vacationers travelling to/from Rhode Island and the Cape.

More nighttime photos from last year’s visit.

Other food-related stops while you’re in Guilford: Bishop Orchards Farm Market or Pick Your Own.
I try to load up on PYO raspberries every September.

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  1. I really need to get to lobster landing!!!

  2. I am ashamed to say that in 12 years total of living on the shoreline, I never made it to The Place. Next trip back, I’m there. I strongly recommend the lobster rolls at Lobster Landing – better than Bill’s, in my opinion. Although Abbot’s is great, too.

  3. Leeanne, I’m with you. I could skip the lobster and just do the clams. I haven’t been to Abbott’s. We’ve driven by and it looks great! Definitely also on my list.

  4. Like I mentioned to you earlier, we were a bit put off by the dry lobster. But, damn, those clams.

    Had I prepared better on our first visit (which I believe was July 4th weekend, 2009) I would have brought alcoholic beverages and a truckload of napkins (or better, wet wipes.) You get messy.

    Ever been to Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough up in Noank?

  5. Always glad to have you Brent. Come again soon. .

    One last note. The Place doesn’t take credit cards. There is an ATM nearby on the Post Road.

  6. Glad I stuck around to check this one off our New England adventure list. Rump on a stump + grilled seafood = A great Sunday afternoon.

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