But since I consider them both great resources for cool vintage restaurants and food places, I made sure that Retro Roadhusband and I would stop at this roadside restaurant during one of our many jaunts through Connecticut.
We parked in the ample parking lot and hurried out of the cold into the warm, simple brick building. The place was bustling, with booths filled, people waiting for takeout orders near the freezers filled with gallons of homemade ice-cream Luckily we found a pair of swivel stools at the counter and sat between a mom and her toddler and a lone businessman.
A throwback to an earlier era of dining, the interior of the Shady Glen reminded me of somplace my grandmother would take us for lunch. Formica topped tables and counters, grillmen wearing white paper hats and bowties, and no menus to be handed, rather the offerings are posted on the wall. We knew what we wanted however – so when the white-uniformed waitress came over and gave us each a small glass of water (remember when every place used to do that?) we were ready for her.
Not realizing until we arrived at the restaurant that they also were famous for their homemade ice cream, we divided up our eating so we could taste a bit of everything.
Retro Roadhusband got their famous cheeseburger – the Bernice Original! Invented in 1949, this distinctive burger is made with FOUR slices of cheese, each one only covering a quarter of the patty. The cheese is a special blend that has been designed to work perfectly with this method of cooking, so it stays together and doesn’t burn. The grillfolks at the Shady Glen are all trained to make this creation, and they comprise upwards of 80% of the menu items ordered.
I mean, who could resist this? Even just for science’s sake?
I, on the other hand, opted for the “Cheesefurter” – not only for it’s more diminutive size (saving room for ice cream) but also who can resist a silly name like that? I love how the words frankfurter, and even better, frankfort, are often used in New England, instead of the simple Hot Dog.
My cheesefurter arrived on wings of cheese, just like the burger, and we were offered a condiment caddy filled with relish, mustard and onions to dress our sandwiches as we saw fit. (Not pictured, crinkle cut fries, for the win!)
The cheese wings were kinda soft, kinda crunchy and definitely an unique accompaniment! I happily ate my split dog (that’s the way they do ‘em here in CT) and was glad to find that, even with all the fries, I still did have some room for an ice cream sundae!
This was a small or kid size sundae and was just delicious! The hot fudge and rich ice cream made a perfect pair.
So if you like your dairy in the salty extra cheesy style or the cold and creamy style, check out the Shady Glen!
Shady Glen Dairy Bar Restaurant
840 East Middle Turnpike
Manchester CT 06040
View CT – Connecticut Retro RoadMAP in a larger map