While we’ve been living in Connecticut for six months, it took us only six seconds to go visit Mystic. And we’ve been back, virtually every weekend, ever since.
Tucked between Groton and Stonington, this unofficial municipality is a charming seaport village with a huge secret: its thriving food and drink scene. Settled in 1654, Mystic was once a shipbuilding seaport village and a designated harbor for tall ships to weather a storm. Today the village embraces its maritime history, with a charming riverfront downtown sprinkled with mom and pop shops, boutiques and restaurants.
Here are 10 delicious reasons to visit:
Channel Julia Roberts at Mystic Pizza.
I have to admit, this was the only time, ever in my life, that I heard of Mystic. If you love 80’s movies and you haven’t seen the movie, what are you waiting for? Well friends, Mystic Pizza is still alive and well on Main Street, slinging up delicious pizzas, pies, calzones, grinders and more. I have to be honest, we came here as a joke but were pleasantly surprised the pizzas were good! From the checkered tablecloths to the red, plastic drinking tumblers, the atmosphere feels like an old school pizza joint. Albeit, the walls are covered with movie props and stills, but that comes with the territory.
Eat your weight in oysters at Oyster Club.
Oyster Club is a Mystic legend. This place is fine dining, farm-to-table, sea-to-table at its finest, housed in a gorgeous space that feels like your great grandfather’s lodge (if you had a great grandfather, who had a lodge). Their mission is to use the finest, most sustainable, local ingredients – and they mean it. They publish a new menu every single day. In November you might find starters of Quahog chowder, roasted sweet potato with smoky, spicy cajeta, crispy duck, dried pickled apple and hazelnuts. For the main course, crispy fried monkfish, pan roasted prime NY strip with a charred chili with blue cheese butter, crispy potatoes and garlic sauteed kale. Yeahhhhhh.
Fight for a brunch spot at Rise.
If you’re like us, “brunch” is really breakfast because you go before 9 a.m. Rise is a small, inconspicuous breakfast and lunch joint that elevates your classic favorites. Rise also embraces locally sourced, quality ingredients. We loved the seasonal french toast and the egg sandwiches. Word to the wise – this place is tiny and very popular, so you want to come early and put your name in. If you have a 20-30 minute wait, that leads me to my next suggestion, located right across the street…
Wait in line for a pastry at Sift Bake Shop.
Sift Bake Shop is the place of pastry dreams. From the moment you walk in you have died and gone to carb heaven. Every single weekend this place has a line out the door, but don’t let that scare you. Sift is a French-focused bakery with a wide variety of artisanal breads, breakfast pastries, and sweet and savory delights. We loved the scones, but everyone around us was ordering literally everything off the menu. I don’t think you can go wrong.
Drink your veggies at Biologic+.
With all this talk about pizza and carbs, I wanted to share one of my favorite health-conscious spots, Biologic+. This juicery offers cold-pressed juices, salads, smoothie bowls and raw food cleanses designed by fitness professionals. Biologic+ offers single juices and items, as well as subscription orders for cleanses and detoxes.
Embrace the meat sweats at Grass & Bone.
Another Mystic legend, brought to you by the brains behind Oyster Club. Grass & Bone is one part neighborhood butcher shop, one part eatery, that specializes in local meats and whole animal butchery. The butcher shop offers fresh cut steaks and roasts, and a selection of locally raised and heritage breed meat. The kitchen offers hearty sandwiches, seasonal salads, craft beer and wine. James swears by it.
Pair burgers and brews at Engine Room.
Yet another Mystic legend, operated by – you guessed it – the genius minds of Oyster Club and Grass & Bone. Engine Room was one of the very first places we ever went to, and we were quick to learn why. Friends of ours who had lived in Connecticut long before us swore by it. The restaurant, located inside a restored maritime building, offers a menu of locally sourced and creative American comfort food. I will tell you right now – get the burgers. I had the best veggie burger of my life here.
Dreamy GF and vegan menus at Pizzetta.
Just around the corner from Mystic Pizza, Pizzetta holds its own. Finally, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-freeers rejoice! This place is a dream with specialty menus for every dietary restriction under the sun.
Order the sushi boat at Pink Basil.
Pink Basil is located on the opposite side of town, inside Olde Mystick Village. The restaurant features an array of Asian cuisine, with authentic dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Korea. They offer everything from pho, teriyaki and noodles, to curry, sushi and fried rice. Everything is good!
Drink all the brews at Jealous Monk.
Another one of our favorites in the Olde Mystick Village – Jealous Monk! Jealous Monk is a bar, restaurant and outdoor beer garden, inspired by European beer halls. The beer menu here is out of this world, with a digital tap-list of more than 30 local and regional craft beers. The kitchens offer some fun starters, like chili and cornbread and eggplant fries.