Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: ayersian
** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
Although the Elm City is certainly famous for its apizza — so incredibly delicious that you simply must refer to it by its funny name, pronounced “uh-BEETS” — New Haven is also home to iconic burgers (Louis’ Lunch), flavor-explosive ice cream (Ashley’s), and world-class sushi (Miya’s). So where are the great hot dog stands? The Roadfood favorite Yankee Doodle Sandwich Shop formerly had the city’s best dog, namely a bacon-wrapped Pig in a Blanket, but it is now a distant memory since a Yale University copy shop took over its space in 2008, made even more distant when the city removed the memorial plaque over a year ago. On Orange Street, Joe’s Hubba Hubba quickly became the Elm City epicenter of chili dogs back in the early 2000s, with their chili recipe rivaling those tongue-tingling brews from Hubba and Texas Chili in Port Chester, New York. Ultimately, Joe’s went underappreciated by New Havenites, and the place closed shortly after it opened. Sensing its promise, Tony & Michelle Poleshek bought the space and Joe’s chili recipe and renamed it Orangeside Luncheonette.
We’ve visited many times, and following through on a particularly crazy idea, we even drove down to Orangeside, bought a cup of chili, and drove to Shady Glen in Manchester to doctor up their famous cheeseburger with chili when no one was looking. But our most memorable visit was meeting Mark Kotlinski for lunch. He’s the mastermind film director behind the excellent “A Connecticut Hot Dog Tour” documentary, and this was his first time sampling Orangeside. The long dogs dwarf their classic New England buns, split and griddled with all the usual toppings. The chili is all-beef, no beans, with visible flecks of hot peppers. It is not the incendiary, mouth-numbing taste of Kuhn’s Chili from elsewhere in Connecticut but a bold, addictive yet manageable heat that gives your taste buds a very, very firm handshake. French fries are the standard variety but truly sing underneath a mantle of hot chili and cheese. We all agreed that Orangeside serves the best chili in the Nutmeg State.
For those who don’t like hot dogs, the handsome Steve’s Philly Burger has hot peppers and grilled onions under a slice of Provolone. For breakfast, the sausage, egg & cheese sandwich is served on a wonderfully crusty Italian roll. They’ll also substitute Greek gyro meat for sausage if you wish, something you don’t see very often in New England. And then there’s the square donuts that has made Orangeside famous as of late. Tony came up with this unique idea and, after much trial and error, perfected the recipe for his remarkable donuts. The raised varieties (glazed and chocolate-covered) are dandy, but the fancy cake donuts are the real winners. The Butter Crunch is buttermilk cake that’s glazed, sprinkled with crushed toffee, and drizzled with caramel icing — easily one of our favorite donuts anywhere. Come for the chili dog, but whatever you do, save room for the donuts! Orangeside Luncheonette is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; closed Sunday.
|Credit Cards Accepted