On a trip from the mountains of New Hampshire back to New York City, we carefully scanned the Roadfood book for a dinner destination. Tom's jumped off the page, because we LOVE the CT hot dog stands: Super Duper, Rawley's, Swanky Franks, not to mention our New York standbys...
But, I'm sorry to say we were quite disappointed. The first thing we noticed (after hours of driving) was that there were no restroom facilities. The locals directed us to a truck stop and diner about 5 minutes north, and we headed off (and back again).
With that out of the way, we eagerly ordered a pair of footlongs, one with beans, one "slaw dog" with mustard, and two orders of fries. What came out was underwhelming. Sure, the footlongs have natural casing, but they are indifferently cooked (boiled? steamed?), yielding much less "snap" than you might expect. And the bun: squishy Wonder Bread. The dog with beans was good, but my slaw dog (which came out as a plain dog with mustard, didn't feel like arguing over it) was completely lifeless, as boring as something I might slap together at home. Fries were OK, your typical crispy rectangles.
Hanging out at the picnic tables was relaxing. It is amusing to eat in what is essentially a parking lot adjacent to Route 91. While we were there a group of hot air balloons actually appeared over the horizon, and their "chase teams" pulled into the lot and away again, off to some other landing location. That was a nice coincidence!
Overall, though, this is the first recommendation in the Roadfood book that was simply not worth it.
"the dogs here have a nice snap to them from the natural casing"
"On this battered tray are four-star eats: a long dog, fully dressed, and an order of superlative French fries."
"Since the last time I visited (summer 2010) Tom's has expanded their restaurant to accomodate customers all year long. I had the ''Chicago Dog'' and it was excellent! My dog had a plain hot dog with nothing; she loved hers too."
"Stopped in on my way home from Thanksgiving down in CT. I parked next to the new signage announcing year-round service at Tom's. My dog waited patiently in the van for her lunch."