At Vienna Restaurant and Historic Inn's Austria-inspired getaway, chef and owner Jonathan Krach maintains a culinary dialogue with Europe more than 100 years after his grandfather passed through Ellis Island en route to the United States. The restaurant's plentiful dining rooms each have their own working fireplaces where visitors can cozy up and dig into plates of beef stroganoff and smoked pork shanks. In one of the dining areas, a portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph directs his gaze over white linen tablecloths, intricate light fixtures, and gold-colored walls, waiting patiently for the return of the Habsburg Empire or for someone to tickle his whiskers. Listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, Vienna Restaurant and Historic Inn boasts Italianate Revival architecture with 12-foot ceilings and a Mansard-style roof. Two-hundred-year-old copper beech trees ward off hot sunrays on the outdoor patio, and a dwarf japanese maple tree on the front porch hovers over shoulders to catch a glimpse of the day's paper. On cool nights, an outdoor patio fireplace warms guests. The hotel portion of the building comprises five two-room guest suites, each with unique decorations.
Featured in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette as a neighborhood pizza staple, family-owned P&D Oxford House of Pizza decorates 19 specialty pies in a livery of savory toppings while dishing out platters of toasty Italian fare. The Inferno pizza ($8.50–$14) coaxes taste buds through a doughy ring of fire spackled with pepperoni, sausage, and hot peppers, and the Athenian's garlic butter sets the gustatory stage for grilled chicken morsels dressed in spinach togas and feta-cheese helmets ($8.50–$14). Patrons can choose their own pizza adventure with a slew of toppings, including broccoli, meatballs, and bacon. P&D's toasted grinders, such as the steak- and mushroom-laden "Flynn-IE" ($6–$7.50), deepen the roster of handheld edibles, and homemade lasagna ($6.25) leads a hearty caravan of pasta dishes. Guests can defer to the bistro’s free Internet access to settle dinnertime disputes over whether pasta was first invented by China, Italy, or Marlon Brando as a way to pass the time on the set of The Godfather.
The large wood columns sprouting from the weathered wooden bar evoke the belly of a ship—no doubt a hat-tip to the pub’s namesake, the highly decorated Navy Admiral TJ O’Brien. The menu lets seafood and steaks romp beneath cloaks of sauce, on steaming pastas, or between slices of bread. Draft pints fill with suds from local breweries including Opa Opa and Bentley, and wineglasses shiver to the pulse of live music on Friday and Saturday. On the wrap-around porch, patrons loosen belts while trying to glimpse the Quinebaug River Reservoir or spot a majestic submarine periscope grazing in its natural habitat.
The menu at 420 Main features a stunning array of hearty, expertly prepared concoctions. Dive into dining with a plate of seasonal oysters in a half shell ($2.50 each) or a bowl of creamy lobster bisque ($7). Moving on to the mains, the exquisitely marinated and seasoned 8 oz. venison ($30) is juicy, tender, and capable of quelling all medium- to large-sized appetite creatures, spotted throughout history peeking through the buttonholes of overcoats. Sink your eager chompers into a 10 oz. filet mignon ($30) or a fine non-steak dish such as the grilled Atlantic salmon gorgonzola ($22). All entrees are served with your choice of two sides, such as garlic mashed potatoes or broccoli au gratin ($4 separately). Inner-child sophisticates can be indulged with a heaping portion of three cheese-n-mac with fresh lobster ($19). Alternatively, satisfy actual youngsters with a kids’ meal such as pasta with red sauce ($7), served with one side and followed by a youth-sating ice-cream sandwich.
As diners gaze at water trickling down a 28-foot custom waterfall, Eighty Ates Bar & Grille's wait staff flits about the outdoor patio, carrying classic American and regional New England dishes. Patrons can also sit inside the expansive dining room to sup on seafood entrees, savory pasta dishes, and 8- and 12-ounce Angus rib-eye steaks, along with sweet desserts, including the chef's cheesecake of the day.
The cooks at Piccadilly Pub Restaurant bake, fry, grill, and assemble a medley of sandwiches, seafood platters, and other comfort cuisine. Haddock fillets take a dip in a light beer batter before trans-fat-free oil cooks them to a golden crisp, and fries and coleslaw cuddle up beside them in a dish of fish 'n' chips ($11.69). A dozen seafood platters harvest additional ocean occupants, including lobster, salmon, shrimp, and mermaid-grown sea vegetables. Baked bowls of shepherd's pie ($9.59) and chicken pot pie ($8.99) release a flood of steam after knives and forks cut into the blistering combination of seasoned meat and vegetables. A different house-made soup holds court daily ($3.50–$4.50), and the soothing staples of Piccadilly clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl ($7.99) and lobster bisque ($4.59–$7.99), taking their middle-school yearbook inscriptions to heart, never change.