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Danny's Drive-In

940 Ferry Blvd., Stratford, CT - (203) 378-6728
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/6/2002 2:17:00 PM
New customers at Danny’s are warned, verbally and in writing (on a sign by the order counter) that the chili is very, very hot. It is Kuhn’s chili, well-known to Fairfield County chiliheads, still made by Mr. Kuhn according to a secret recipe, and delivered to Danny’s as the coup de grace for hot dogs, hamburgers, and fried potatoes. It is a powerfully aromatic emulsion that will make your lips and tongue tingle and will set your digestive tract aglow.

The charms of this 1935-vintage drive-in go way beyond four-alarm chili, which in this case is really only a condiment (albeit a persuasive one). Danny’s main claim to fame is a hamburger – or a cheeseburger, or a double burger or a triple piggie (3 patties, 3 slices of cheese, 3 strips of bacon) – with the works. The works are swell: lettuce, tomato, sliced onion (Vidalia in season) and a ring of green pepper. The burger is a modest one, so doubles and triples make sense, as does an available six-ounce angus burger on a king-size roll. Of course, you can have your burger blanketed with chili.

Hot dogs, known descriptively as long dogs and served in tender-outside, grilled-inside buns, are Hummel-brand beauties. You can have yours assembled however you like it in forms that include the bull dog (chili and fried onions), the devil dog (chili, bacon, onions, cheese, and jalapeno peppers), the New York dog (with special onion sauce), and with the works, which in the case of tube steaks means Gulden’s mustard, relish, and sauerkraut.

French fries at Danny’s are terrific in their crazy form, which is topped with chili, molten cheese, jalapeno chips and chopped raw onions. Good alternatives are waffle fries and batter-dipped onion rings (both available in the crazy configuration). And if you are a milk shake connoisseur, mark this place on your must-drink list. Shakes are made to order in tall silver beakers; flavors include chocolate, vanilla, coffee, creamsicle, peanut butter, and root beer.

Aside from being a source of exemplary quick eats, Danny’s is worth knowing about for its old-time drive-in flavor. There are no seats inside – just a narrow counter by the window for stand-up eating – so most people dine either at outdoor picnic tables or in their cars. The interior wall space is devoted to a personality-plus collage of roadside memories, old Coke advertisements, patriotic manifestoes, and letters from extremely satisfied customers. If you like roadfood, we can practically guarantee you will find satisfaction here, too.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
long dog
Burger with the works
crazy fries
waffle fries
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Simple though it may appear, this foot-long chili dog has a complex flavor. The dog itself is delicious; the chili is alarming!
"Simple though it may appear, this foot-long chili dog has a complex flavor. The dog itself is delicious; the chili is alarming!"
Michael Stern





Outside Danny's fly the star-spangled banner and, just below it, the flag of the U.S. Marines. Proprietor Paul Galietti, a leatherneck, named Danny's Bull Dog (topped with chili & onions) after the Corps' mascot.
"Outside Danny's fly the star-spangled banner and, just below it, the flag of the U.S. Marines. Proprietor Paul Galietti, a leatherneck, named Danny's Bull Dog (topped with chili & onions) after the Corps' mascot."
Michael Stern


This sign from Danny's earliest days now hangs inside below the order window. It shows cartoon characters Maggie and Jiggs on either side of the founder's name.
"This sign from Danny's earliest days now hangs inside below the order window. It shows cartoon characters Maggie and Jiggs on either side of the founder's name."
Michael Stern


This brief time line since Danny's opened gives good insight into the genuinely patriotic spirit of a true all-American drive-in.
"This brief time line since Danny's opened gives good insight into the genuinely patriotic spirit of a true all-American drive-in."
Michael Stern


Crazy means topped with hot chili, melted cheese, jalapeno chips, and onions. These are French fries. You can also have Crazy Onion Rings and Crazy Waffle Fries.
"Crazy means topped with hot chili, melted cheese, jalapeno chips, and onions. These are French fries. You can also have Crazy Onion Rings and Crazy Waffle Fries."
Michael Stern


Danny's has been a Stratford beacon of burgers and hot dogs since Danny Smith opened it (just across the road) in 1935. To the right of the picture are the picnic tables (too cold on this December day!) and also the parking lot, where many customers choose to eat in their cars.
"Danny's has been a Stratford beacon of burgers and hot dogs since Danny Smith opened it (just across the road) in 1935. To the right of the picture are the picnic tables (too cold on this December day!) and also the parking lot, where many customers choose to eat in their cars."
Michael Stern


At Danny's Drive-In a hamburger with the works includes a ring of green pepper along with lettuce, tomato, and onions. Other condiments you can add yourself; and of course, chili is also available as a burger topper.
"At Danny's Drive-In a hamburger with the works includes a ring of green pepper along with lettuce, tomato, and onions. Other condiments you can add yourself; and of course, chili is also available as a burger topper."
Michael Stern



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