Eat Local in Eastern CT

McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell.

The National Institutes of Health defines fast food as “quick, easily accessible, and inexpensive alternatives to home-cooked meals that also tend to be high in saturated fat, sugar, salt, and calories.”

Labor shortages and shaky supply chains across a range of industries mean that many of the country’s biggest fast food names are struggling in the face of the continued fallout from the pandemic.

For example, Subway Restaurants, which opened its first location in Bridgeport and is headquartered in Milford, closed 1,600 net locations last year; largely because the vast majority of its 22,000 locations nationwide do not have drive-thrus, according to food-information firm Technomic.

But don’t expect the big names in the industry to disappear from the menu anytime soon: market forecasts earlier this year predicted the global fast food industry would grow by around $75.85 billion. in 2021.

So the next time you decide to ignore the warnings of national health experts and head for this accessible sodium delight, consider bucking global income trends by supporting one of these local options.

Johnny’s Clam Shack

This seasonal joint in Norwich is a veteran-owned and operated business offering all the classics, including favorites like fresh tacos – calamari, fish, clams or prawns – and entrees including clam strips and fish and chips. Sandwich offerings include shrimp and clam rolls or a chicken or fish sandwich.

Johnny’s is closed in late autumn and winter but operates at 184 Main St. in Norwich.

Fred’s Shanty Restaurant

Located in New London, this famous drive-up has been operating since 1972 and offers seaside specialties such as lobster rolls, fried fish and clam chowder, as well as more mainstream options including hot dogs and burgers handmade.

Located at 272 Pequot Ave. with seagulls flying overhead, Fred’s Shanty is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Philly’s – a taste of Philadelphia

With a nod to Philadelphia’s infamous split over what kind of cheese to use, the restaurant at 33 Sherman St. in Norwich uses Kraft Cheese Whiz to smother prime and prime steak served on freshly baked buns. cooked, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. .

field dog

It started as a hot dog stand under the Niantic River Bridge in 2003 before opening a location at 15 Broad St. in New London in 2009.

In addition to its signature dish, “the Kamp Dog”, – a long grilled hot dog topped with homemade “dynamite sauce”, cheese and onions served on a toasted New England bun – the location serves over 50 breakfast and lunch entrees and a variety of sides.

Seats are available by table or in the countryside, Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock

Established in 1996, this dockside location in New London offers water views while you dine alfresco on lobster rolls and other casual options like fried clam fritters and lobster bisque – all sold in a classic take-out window configuration.

Captain Scott’s is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Hank’s Dairy Bar

Hank's offers many toppings and options for customers looking for ice cream.  Sundaes are a popular choice!

Since 1957, Hank’s Dairy Bar has provided the Tri-City area with an outdoor dining experience with a walk-in ordering window.

The seasonal restaurant offers a long menu offering all the delicacies of fried foods as well as weekly specials and a “south of the border” section. Of course, the name suggests there’s more for the sweet tooth, including banana splits, waffle sundaes and a host of ice cream offerings.

Closed in late fall and early winter, it opens in the spring, with hours Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located at 1006 Norwich Road in Plainfield.

Dino S. Williams