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Harry's Drive-In

104 Broadway, Colchester, CT - (860) 537-2410
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/16/2006 9:32:00 AM
“My girlfriend and I are great fans of your books and of roadfood.com,” wrote Fred Arazan. “We find the service you provide invaluable, especially when traveling to new places. However, having both lived in Connecticut, we are in agreement that there is one gleaming omission from your reviews. It is Harry's in Colchester. In summertime, Harry's is to local burger fans what Abbott's is to lobster lovers. There is no fresher, juicier, tastier burger in the state, if not in all New England.” Mr. Arazan simply could not understand why we have not sung hosannas to this place, asking, “Do you have a vendetta against Harry's?”

The answer is, no, we have nothing against Harry’s. The embarrassing fact is that we had never been there before. But after reading his endorsement, we were on our way. And sure enough, we found ourselves at a drive-in where the hamburgers are superb and the cheeseburgers are proof, once more, that Connecticut is where the cheeseburgers are fast-food perfection.

Standing at the pick up window (which is where you go after you have placed your order and paid at the other window), you have a great view of the grill on which the hamburgers are cooked. They are put on the hot, oily surface as a round patty a little smaller than a baseball, then they are flattened out with a spatula. Despite getting squished, the hamburgers remain thick enough to be overwhelmingly juicy.

Hot dogs are cooked on the same grill, and they’re plump and tasty ones, especially satisfying when bedded atop some of Harry’s chili sauce. And you can get good fried clams, too. But it’s burgers on which Harry’s reputation is built, and rightfully so.

Seating is strictly outdoors on picnic tables along both sides of the capacious parking lot. Mr. Arazan’s note contained one extra tip for those who are waiting for their hamburgers to be cooked. “Look for the plaque outside,” he said. “Harry’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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The beef patty itself is thick, and that's a double layer of cheese. With lettuce and tomato added, the toothpick plunged into the top of the bun is a necessity to prevent complete collapse
"The beef patty itself is thick, and that's a double layer of cheese. With lettuce and tomato added, the toothpick plunged into the top of the bun is a necessity to prevent complete collapse"
Michael Stern





While hamburgers are (rightfully) Harry's major claim to fame, we would not kick this fine chili dog off the plate, either.
"While hamburgers are (rightfully) Harry's major claim to fame, we would not kick this fine chili dog off the plate, either."
Michael Stern


Hot dogs and hamburgers have separate but equal space on Harry's grill.
"Hot dogs and hamburgers have separate but equal space on Harry's grill."
Michael Stern


Another night working the grill at Harry's Place in Colchester.
"Another night working the grill at Harry's Place in Colchester."
Johnny Dark


Need I say more!
"Need I say more!"
Michael Puzzo


Lights on at Harry's Drive-In, Colchester.
"Lights on at Harry's Drive-In, Colchester."
Johnny Dark


People enjoying their food at Harry's place in Colchester.
"People enjoying their food at Harry's place in Colchester."
Johnny Dark


Place your order on the right; pick it up on the left.
"Place your order on the right; pick it up on the left."
Michael Stern


After eight miles and two and a quarter hours we arrive, but too early :(
"After eight miles and two and a quarter hours we arrive, but too early :("
Michael Puzzo


After a grueling 45 minute wait in the cold and threat of rain the promised land is in sight!
"After a grueling 45 minute wait in the cold and threat of rain the promised land is in sight!"
Michael Puzzo


Harry's is a rugged sort of drive-in, but its dining facilities, at picnic tables among these flowering trees, are positively bucolic.
"Harry's is a rugged sort of drive-in, but its dining facilities, at picnic tables among these flowering trees, are positively bucolic."
Michael Stern



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