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.
Situated inside Mohegan Bowl, All Star Pub invites patrons to kick up their feet after a few rounds of bowling to indulge in appetizers, burgers, and beer. Draft and bottled brews wet whistles in time for hand-tossed taco pizzas to appear draped in pico de gallo and housemade tortilla chips. Shareable appetizers such as spicy jalapeño bottle caps preheat maws before diners chow down on half-pound burgers, stacked pastrami grinders, and salads tossed with grilled chicken. Before venturing back to the lanes or to the arcade, patrons can dig into chocolate-fudge brownies or a Candle-Pin Strike—fried balls of dough served with ice cream and drizzled with raspberry sauce.
Stewarded by three generations of the Morse family, the Colonial Restaurant & Pub continues more than 60 years of tongue-delighting tradition with a seafood and steak-heavy menu curated by executive chef Adam Dowd. Painted clapboard siding and stone accents conceal a pub with a spacious wooden bar more handsome than Cary Grant's side part and an elegant dining room where white-draped tables lounge by a fireplace situated beneath wrought-iron chandeliers. Dinners tempt taste buds with Italian-style pastas and chophouse steaks and fish, and lunch retells stories of bygone eats, with homestyle recipes including meatloaf and mac ‘n’ cheese sharing space with burgers and overstuffed sandwiches. Chefs cater outside events, and the restaurant's Sky Room plays host to showers, banquets, and luncheons celebrating the retirement of ’80s slang terms such as “gnarly” and “onomatopoeia.”
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.