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Denmo's Snack & Dairy Bar

346 Main St. S., Southbury, CT - (203) 264-4626
Posted By Michael Stern on March 12, 2006 10:14 PM
Denmo’s is a happy drive-in with picnic-table seats and an eat-in-the-rough style of service. You wait in line at one of two order windows; while waiting you peruse the posted permanent menu (fried clams and shrimp, hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and Philly cheese steaks) as well as cards tacked around the menu announcing seasonal and daily specials (soft-shelled crabs, hot lobster roll, soup of the day). When your turn comes, you tell the order-taker what you want, pay for it, and get a number. Then loiter around the third window waiting for your number to be called. While waiting, there is excellent reading material available: a huge communal bulletin board, where locals post notices of services and goods for sale and interesting events coming up. Your meal is presented on a tray, which you carry to a table around the side or in back of the little roadside restaurant.

You’d expect the fried seafood to be good in a place such as this, and it is more than good. The clams – available in the gooey whole-belly configuration or as the chewier and less oceanic “clam strips” – are crisp-crusted and delicious. Shrimp are big and sweet, and there are plenty to an order. The hot lobster roll, a Southern New England specialty that differs from the more typical mayonnaise-bound cold lobster salad roll, is superb. Onion rings and French fries (the latter available either straight or curly) are good, too. We are perpetually wowed by the soups, which are made here daily, and are extraordinarily delicious. Chowder, beef barley, and lentil soup are exemplary; and although they are served in Styrofoam cups with plastic spoons, they have quality and flavor that is anything but cheap.

Denmo’s is also known for its ice cream, which is very good; but by the time we’ve sucked down an excellent Denmo’s chocolate milk shake with our fried clam dinner, we’re seldom in the mood for an ice cream cone …
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Fried Clam Basket
Lobster Roll

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Posted By Lauren Zalewski on October 11, 2008 3:10 PM
I had to go up to Massachusetts, and stopped at Denmo's as I was craving belly clams. Boy, was I not sorry! The editor review is right on: this place is great. Conveniently located just a few minutes off of Route 84, this little clam shack is a gem.

I ordered a large basket of whole belly clams, which came with French fries, tartar sauce, a lemon, and coleslaw. The clams were served on buttered toast. These clams were perfect: lightly breaded, perfectly gooey, and unbelievably delicious. I'm not sure why the clams were on top of the toast, but even that was really delectable!

I also ordered a lobster roll. Now this was the lobster roll to end all lobster rolls! Warm lobster (and these were big pieces of claw, tail, and leg meat) served on a large buttered, grilled hot dog bun. No mayonnaise. Absolute perfection.

I stopped back the next day on my way home and ordered the same exact thing, packed them away in my cooler, and headed home. I cannot wait to stop there again.
5 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Tom Walker on October 4, 2003 11:16 AM
As result of seeing Denmo's on, my party of five stopped there on 9/6/03, passing through town on I-84. I guess arriving just after the Sat. night dinner rush was not a good time for testing this facility. Though all food items we tried were in the good to very good range, and prices were good, the atmosphere that night left lots to be desired. Business was still pretty good at 7PM, but the line moved quickly, and food was served hot and quickly. The outdoor tables "could" make for a nice atmosphere, but the cleanliness did not. Tables were dirty, trash cans overflowing, and we did not see an employee outside until we had finished eating. We felt sorry for the kid sent out to clean up the mess, as he did not know where to start. He began by bringing in three piles of trays that had been left on top of the trash cans, and was probably the reason they sent him, that being the need for more trays, not actually the desparate need to clean up. Also, though the single rest room was not as bad as we thought it might be, the heavy scent of garbage in the area was enough to turn your stomach.

After dinner, we ate our ice cream in the car in order to vacate the area. One of the grand kids had to use the rest room, in a bad way, and was made more of an emergency when the man in front of her accidentally locked the door on his way out. An employee was summoned with a set of keys that failed to open the lock, and only his obvious past experience of opening the lock with a piece of a cardboard tray saved the day. Inside was a warning to unlock the handle when leaving or the door will lock. This to us was another bad sign of poor management, as why not fix the door, and not cause such inconvenience to customers, especially little ones. Such problems always makes us wonder what kind of shortcuts are being made in the kitchen.

For those who may go there at a better time, we did enjoy or lobster roll, whole clams, hot dogs, hamburger, and one of our two little ones raved over the chicken pamesean sandwich he ate without the torpedo roll it was served on. The ice cream was in the excellent category. However, they should have an express line for ice cream, as it was only because of the kids that we endured a long wait for dessert.

We will not likely return, as it is not on our normal travel route, and the conditions would not pull us to make the 40 minute drive from home, as many other Roadhouse sites do.
1 star rating
Overall Rating

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