It's no wonder that Dave and Camille, the owners of Camille's Wood Fired Pizza, have adopted the mantra "food is love." Nearly a decade ago they met in a pizzeria without any idea that one day they would fall in love and open their very own restaurant. Today, their love for each other and for great food helps to warm the inviting atmosphere at Camille's, along with the kitchen's wood-fire oven, which heats up to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The taste furnace renders crispy crusts on specialty pies, which chefs top with products from organic and sustainable farms whenever possible. Small plates such as artisanal salads and inventive ideas such as eggplant fries round out meals and bring an upscale touch to pizza night.
City Sports Grille is too inviting for just one bar. That's why there are two. Beneath the blue glow of more than 25 high-definition TVs, the Bristol location bustles with the friendly din of diners and drinkers. Meanwhile, the golden interior of the Vernon location bathes each patron in welcoming warmth augmented by the sounds of the day’s sports highlights. Both pubs feature a similar menu of pub-friendly grub, including chargrilled pizzas and flatbreads, half-pound burgers, and wraps that lovingly embrace hunger before utterly defeating it. Each location hosts special events on most nights, including karaoke on Thursdays and free pool on Wednesdays in Bristol and Wednesday trivia and live music on Saturdays in Vernon.
The Hidden Still is "Connecticut's first restaurant and moonshine bar," its staff says. It's a bold claim, but even fanatic mixologists would be hard-pressed to name another bar with more than 10 moonshine varietals on its shelves. Culled from across the nation, and made from genuine moon rocks' first pressings, these moonshines are savored neat, infused in-house, and poured into signature cocktails. Of course, many diners come for the food. Executive chef Sean Martin offers polished interpretations of pub classics, such as flatbread pulled-pork sandwiches and fish tacos.
Amoroso's Ristorante & Lounge’s wood-burning brick oven pops outs pizzas topped with homemade meatballs, crispy chicken, olives, and ranch dressing. The chefs also chop, boil, and bake their way through platefuls of three-cheese ravioli and veal parmesan. On select nights, a corner of the dining room converts into a cozy stage with live musical acts and shadow-puppet shows.
The eggplant-slinging chefs at Cafe Lebanon churn out an authentic Middle Eastern menu replete with zesty cuts of lamb, garlicky baba gannouj, and fresh tabbouleh. Dinner options foreground skewered meats with a selection of kabob entrees to please the turkey, shrimp, or vegetable decimator that lives between your incisors ($13–$23). A lunch-sized falafel plate unites chickpeas and ground fava beans in savory deep-fried patty form, served alongside rice pilaf and tahini sauce ($8). Finish your Middle Eastern mouth safari with a piece of baklava ($4) or a Mediterranean cheese pastry—shredded phyllo dough stuffed with ricotta cheese, drizzled with blossom syrup, and sprinkled with crushed pistachios ($6). In addition to authentic eats, Cafe Lebanon showcases belly dancers on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tangerine-colored walls and colorful prints from the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, embody the spirit of the visual- and performing-arts celebrations for which Spoleto East Longmeadow—a member of the Spoleto Restaurant Group—is named. Yet, the inspiration doesn’t stop in South Carolina. Across the Atlantic, in Spoleto, Italy, the annual Festival of the Two Worlds showcases the Umbria region's dance, drama, cinema, and opera. The two yearly festivals in Charleston serve as the stateside mirror images of the Italian original. Spoleto restaurant owner Claudio Guerra has fond memories of taking part in these festivities with his mother as a child, and so christened his restaurants after them in homage.
Like the Northampton location before it, the East Longmeadow site offers a lively atmosphere and traditional Italian dishes such as stone-baked pizzas topped with cremini mushrooms and veal saltimbocca with fresh sage and marsala sauce. Diners can personalize their experiences by opting for the restaurant's multicourse meal option, or by carving their likenesses into meatballs before eating them.