Just a few minutes’ drive from I-84 in a Sandy Hook residential neighborhood, Lorenzo’s is a trip back in time. It was opened in 1926 as a waterside refreshment stand selling hot dogs and ice cream and also offering rental canoes and cabins. We know these facts because we can see exactly what it was like by looking at the photo on the cover of the menu. It shows Lorenzo’s as it was; the current staff will tell you that it was grandpa who started things. It’s still a family-run operation — a restaurant with a genuine personality.
Locals now know Lorenzo’s mostly for its homey Italian-American food: lasagna, ziti, spaghetti and other macaroni dishes, plus a full repertoire of pizza. The pizza has a thin crust nearly as brittle as a Saltine cracker, sturdy enough that it maintains its crunch even under cheese, sauce, and multiple toppings.
Beyond Italian fare, Lorenzo’s does a great job serving meat-and-potatoes square meals. We like coming for steak: a big, pillowy sirloin preceded by a bowl of crisp iceberg lettuce topped with gloppy blue cheese dressing and accompanied by a stuffed baked potato.
At the end of the road all alone, Lorenzo’s is a totally charming restaurant, like a kind of summer-camp cabin for adults. The front room is a bar, where those waiting for take-out meals knock back a few; and the back is a wood-paneled sanctuary with dim lighting and high-back wooden booths.
One word of caution: everything is made to order, and even when Lorenzo’s isn’t crowded — it can get very busy late weekend nights — you will wait a good half-hour for your meal.
Finally, please note the limited hours of operation: Wednesday through Sunday, dinner only.