We do a lot of traveling around Connecticut. During our adventures, sometimes we are good and pack our lunch. But there are those times when we just want to splurge a little on a local favorite. It can be lunch or, often times, it’s just an ice cream. Once in a while we are lucky to find a place with both!
One of my recent rediscoveries was the very popular Shady Glen in Manchester. Shady Glen is a part of Manchester history and it’s been there for a long time. I think we’ve all heard of Shady Glen, and many of us have eaten there at some point in our life or at least enjoyed an ice cream. I was first introduced when I worked on East Center Street way back in the early 2000s. This year, I took my son for the first time and we had such a great experience! Hopefully this will be a little reminder to many of you to check it out (if it’s been awhile) or a chance for some to discover this place for the first time!
Shady Glen is an old-fashioned diner in the truest sense. They actually have no online presence (which is unusual for most of the places I write about). They are cash only – they do not take credit or debit card (if you need, they have an ATM machine on site). The decor is vintage, even the waitstaff complete the old-style look with their aprons and chef hats. They have a straight-forward diner menu. And when someone new waltzes in, they stand out like a sore thumb. You can tell that most patrons are regulars there – and it’s important for newbies to catch on quickly or at least act like they know what they are doing!
First, when you walk in you’ll see booths on both sides of the restaurant. There are also swivel stools situated around a breakfast bar. The diner is seat yourself, and first come first serve. On busy days/times, there may be a line for a table. We visited after the lunch rush and had no problem getting a seat.
While we tried out a swivel stool for the fun of it, we ultimately opted for a booth because it was much easier to keep my child in check.
If needed, they also have highchairs available.
The second thing you’ll want to be prepared for is the lack of a menu. You don’t want to ask for one. They are on the walls. So, take a look up for the complete menu.
They have a separate kid’s menu at the table. It includes the standard kid fare with grilled cheese, hot dogs, chicken tenders and burgers on the menu. All kids meals come with a drink and french fries.
So what does one get while at Shady Glen? Well, the menu has always had rave reviews and has even been featured on shows on The Food Network. The most popular item? Their cheeseburger. Complete with that crispy cheese that hangs off the edges of the burger like cheesy winged goodness.
My son even picked the same thing off the children’s menu. Even he realized the importance that is the Shady Glen cheeseburger.
The verdict? YUM!
Of course, you can’t end a visit to Shady Glen without ice cream. I mean, technically, you could come here for just that alone (and many people do). The ice cream is popular for a reason. They have a ton of flavors to pick from. You can even take some home with you. I was tempted.
We opted for chocolate – simple and classic. My son had a dish, and I had to splurge with a pineapple sundae. I’m strange – I know but pineapple sundaes are my jam. I get them EVERYWHERE.
The ice cream met my son’s approval, down to the last drop.
Shady Glen is such a time-honored tradition in Manchester and Connecticut. There is a reason why it’s been around so long, and why it continues to be a favorite. It’s nostalgic and fun to step back to a simple time with no-frills or complicated menus. Even going this year with my son, it was exactly as I remembered it when I first visited in 2003 with my (at the time, future) husband.
So if you have never been there, make this a summer dining destination. And if you haven’t been in a while, take a little trip! Enjoy a little cheesy goodness and pineapple sundae like we did!
This about sums it up…
840 Middle Turnpike East – Manchester, Connecticut
Monday – Thursday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Free Parking
- Diner style booths and swivel stools – Seat Yourself, First Come, First Served
- Kids Menu Available
- Highchairs available
- Cash Only
- Expect a wait during prime dining times
- Ice Cream for sale and on the menu!