There are three things most people like about jury duty: they get a paid break from work (even self-employed people get a stipend from the state), they get to be a part of one of those courtroom dramas they watch on television, and they get to go out to lunch. Connecticut restauranteurs and owners of delis, pizza parlors and sandwich shops near courthouses not only depend on the jury lunch trade, they also cater to it. Here are just five top spots to have lunch the next time that summons for jury duty comes in the mail.
145 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
The courthouse in Danbury is located at 146 White Street, which is quite literally across the street from one of the most delightful Mexican restaurants in the area: Pancho’s Tacos. Pancho’s is not a fast-food taco joint; it is good, homemade, affordable and very tasty Mexican food served on real plates by a waitstaff. Efrain Barnabe and his family opened this place in 1991, and it is both a family and a neighborhood restaurant. Burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos and much more are made fresh and served with a smile – and chips, of course. Most entrees are $12 or less, and there are always daily and house specials to spice up the menu.
215 Frank Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Superior Court in Bridgeport is located at 1 Lafayette Circle, and just a very few short blocks away is Pantanal, a Brazilian churrascaria – or as most Americans put it, a Brazilian house of endless meat. Pantanal is Brazilian BBQ at its best – flavorful, plentiful and affordable. There is a salad bar and hot buffet with many choices to choose from to dress up the plate, but the main event is the meat – and there is a lot of it to choose from. Brisket, chicken, pork loin, steaks, sausages, ribs, etc. are cooked to perfection on open flames, and served hot and juicy. Many jurors and courthouse workers who come for lunch return at night, when they can take their time for a long, lengthy and filling meal, washed down with great cocktails and serenaded by Brazilian music.
Related: Top Pizza In Connecticut
8 Village Green Drive
Litchfield, CT 06759
From the courthouse at 15 West Street in Litchfield, it is a very, very short walk along the Village Green to KawaSaki, a fine Japanese restaurant that offers an extensive and varied menu from the Orient. Everything is made with fresh, natural and, where and when available, local ingredients. For those on a limited lunch hour, there are four lunch “special” and very inexpensive menus to choose from – as well as a standard menu and, for those with a more lengthy break, an hibachi menu as well. Teriyaki and tempura dishes, maki rolls, sushi rolls and other Japanese favorites highlight the menu, which also includes combo platters and boxed meals to go.
Tikkaway Fresh Indian Grill
135 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06510
From the courthouse at 235 Church Street, it is a short hop to one of New Haven’s most unusual and fun restaurants, the Tikkaway Fresh Indian Grill. (Tikkaway also has a second location over at 2 Howe Street, but that is one zip code over from the courthouse). Start with a roti wrap, rice bowl or salad, and then add a filling (or two or three) and top it with hot (or medium) spices and sauces. There is an almost endless variety of combinations to choose from, with meats and veggies and chutneys galore. This is an Indian restaurant, so vegans and vegetarians also have plenty to chose from, and the service is fast and the prices are not much higher than those found at fast-food or sandwich shops.
Ami’s Hot Bagels
111 Thomaston Ave.
Waterbury, CT 06702
From the courthouse at 400 Grand Street, it is only a few blocks to one of the best bagel spots in the state: Ami’s Hot Bagels. These are real, fresh, made-on-the-premises, old-school bagels, the kind New Yorkers lament not being able to find north of Yonkers. Ami’s is not just small – it is downright tiny (a larger store can be found at 2457 E. Main in Waterbury, and that is the location shown on the Facebook page). There is no place to sit down, but Ami’s is great for those who want to get a bagel with smear, a bagel sandwich or a wrap.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.