Are you looking for information about Wallingford, CT and its surrounding towns? I’m so excited to share A Guide to Wallingford (and beyond)! Here is a post on where to eat, shop, and play in the place I call home. Enjoy these local small businesses and reasons why I love to visit each and every one.
Please note: THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS!
Places to Eat in Wallingford
Our family’s favorite restaurant for celebrating special occasions is Michael’s Trattoria. Affordable fine dining for delicious Italian food with homemade sauces, soups, salad dressings, and dipping oil. We love the Dirty Martini and wonderful wine list. Our daughters enjoy this ‘fancy restaurant’ with the best meatballs in the world! My favorite dish is the Chicken Parmigiana.
Gaetano’s Tavern on Main is family friendly restaurant in the center of Wallingford. If you’re looking for a family friendly casual dining spot, this is your place! We think they have the best window table for watching the snow fall as a family. The bar has Keeno, Karaoke, and live music. They make amazing nachos and my favorite Asian Chicken salad in town!
Archie Moore’s first appeared in New Haven as a local watering hole established by Irish immigrant Archibald Moore in 1898. The Wallingford location is the place to grab a beer and a plate of their famous buffalo wings while watching the snow fall from a bar table. When out with friends we find ourselves at Archies to watch sports, enjoy lunch outdoors, or to order a nightcap.
Located in the old town library, The Library is owned by the Gouveia family, owners of Gouveia Vineyards. We like to stop here for happy hour on the patio, dinner by their cozy fireplace, or fun cocktails at the gorgeous bar. This is our family’s go-to local venue for baby and wedding showers.
Have you ever wanted to eat in an old train car? Trackside Brick Oven Pizzeria is owned by my high school friends’ family! It’s a fun spot to bring your kids for dinner, but also great for takeout. We order their New Haven style pizza a few times a month – I love the Chicken Caesar Salad pizza, as well the Old Fashioned Marinara.
Half Moon Coffee & Grille Cafe serves everything from a delicious Spiced Chai Tea Latte to a bowl of scrumptious gnocchi. The menu is diverse with everything tasting equally delicious. My sisters swear they have the best french fries in town! Another bonus: it’s BYOB! Make sure to make a reservation for a large group.
Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a donut girl. Then I ate one of Neil’s Sugar Donuts and I was converted. Our family loves to grab Neil’s every weekend – our go to order is: 3 Chocolate frosted donuts, 1 Sugar (or Cinnamon) donut, 1 Blueberry Cake Donut, and 1 Coffee Cake Muffin. We also occasionally order breakfast sandwiches or bagels to go. This is a must visit small business in Connecticut!
Rosa’s Deli is a family owned Italian Deli established in 1981. They’re known in town known for their fresh ingredients, hot or cold sandwiches, Italian desserts, and dinners to go. Our household favorite is the Chicken Pastina soup, a comfort food we all enjoy when we are sick, cold, or in the need to feel cozy.
Alyssa’s Cakery offers a variety of sweet treats: custom cakes, cupcakes, cakepops, gourmet coffee, muffins, hot chocolate bombs and more! We order custom birthday cakes from Alyssa’s Cakery almost every year! They can make anything you can dream up! P.S. I grew up with the owner, Alyssa, and she is beyond nice!
Wild Alchemy Cafe is known for their organic and fresh smoothies, juices, bowls, and plant-based entreés and sweets. If you’re looking for gluten-free or vegan desserts, I hear they are so amazing!
Looking for authentic Mexican cuisine? Los Mariachis is our favorite local Mexican restaurant! Their menu features scratch made family recipes, delicious mojitos, and an awesome queso dip. My husband loves being able to order a burrito, beer, and watching soccer here!
The first meal we ordered to-go after moving into our house in 2017 was from Serafino’s! My favorite thing to order is one of their salads with grilled chicken. Each salad is HUGE and delicious. We also love a white pizza with broccoli, sausage, and black olives.
Another awesome place to grab a sandwich in town is Vinny’s Deli – the King of Roast Beef! One of the coolest details about Vinny’s Deli is their monthly special sandwiches, usually made up by someone in town (or a frequent customer). This is one of the few places in town where you can grab a hot lobster roll to-go in three different sizes. Check out the Vinny’s Deli website for $5 off your first order!
If you love vegan food, or are looking to try something new, Arles & Boggs Vegan Eatery is a must visit restaurant. They are a family owned eatery focused on all natural plant based dishes. Some fun features – they have an awesome cocktail and late night eats menu! One of my favorite dishes: NACHOS. Who knew vegan cheese could taste so good!
My daughters vote Sweet Cream’s as the BEST ice cream in town! They like to order one scoop of cotton candy and one scoop of cookie dough. Sweet Cream’s carries tons of ice cream flavors though! Note: We buy all of our ice cream birthday cakes from Sweet Cream’s.
Located in downtown Wallingford, Center Street Brewing Company believes in brewing an ever-changing selection of fresh, well-balanced, delicious beers for all to enjoy. You can bring your own food to enjoy while playing games indoors (and outdoors), trying new beers, or even sipping wine. Check out new Covid-19 guidelines here.
Hong Kong Restaurant has been a family favorite for years. The family owned restaurant opened in 1991 and offers both Chinese and Japanese dishes for pick up and delivery. We love to order a mixture of sushi rolls and the black bean chicken and vegetables!
Tap & Vine is a a unique establishment with an amazing, ever changing beer menu, carefully curated wines, creative cocktails and delicious food. They have a romantic interior and a great outdoor patio. Reservations are preferred due to limited seating, but not required.
Places to Shop in Wallingford
Looking for fresh produce, meats, and more? The Connecticut Fresh Food and Produce Market is the best place to go in town for every day or specialty items. Want to make a charcuterie board? Stop in to get all the ingredients! We love their fresh bread (baked daily!), cheese selection, and the butcher shop.
One of my brother’s favorite shops in town, Redscroll Records carries albums, cds, magazines any more. They specialize in underground music but have a wide selection of new and used music too. This is the place to go for a gift certificate to give to a music-loving friend!
If you love thrifting and consignment, check out Cindy’s Unique Shop! Once a week Cindy’s goes live on Facebook to share their newest (or seasonal) items. Not only can you shop in the huge store, but you can also bring your items to sell for money or store credit.
Sweet Cioccolata is a one of a kind gourmet chocolate shoppe making chocolate covered everything in downtown Wallingford. From pretzels to apples to popcorn, there is a treat for every chocolate loving person. You can pop in the shop for a treat or order a custom gift for any occasion.
Services in Wallingford
Ives Road is the place to go if you’re looking for a local package store with a huge selection of beer, wine and liquor. The family owned business has the best prices in town for wine and great customer service. You could also find tastings of beer, wine, and liquor on weekends before the pandemic.
If you’re in the center of town, stop by Dragonfly Wine & Spirits! They focus on carefully selected inventory, such as unique wines, craft/local beer, and speciality spirits. This small shop hosted complimentary wine tastings before the pandemic.
If you need groceries in a pinch while on the west side of Wallingford, stop into West Center Market. They offer weekly specials, homemade custom sandwiches at the deli, and local products. It’s a convenient market carrying a little bit of everything. Check out their website for coupons and specials.
If you’re on the east side of Wallingford or visiting one of the wineries, East Center Market is a one stop shop for your needs. The family owned and operated market has been around for years! They offer homemade sandwiches at the deli, a variety of pre-made salads and dishes, and weekly specials. East Center Market now offers curbside pick-up and local delivery too!
Fusion Dance Center is owned by one of my high school friends (a world award winning tap dancer). My daughters have danced at the studio since we moved to Wallingford in 2017, but I took Zumba classes there before then whenever I’d visit my hometown. Fusion Fitness & Dance specializes in Tap, Jazz/Hip Hop, Ballet, Acro/Tumbling, Lyrical, Musical Theater & Breakdance. They also offer Zumba, Toning, & Yoga!
We have been taking our vehicles to Gen X Motors in Wallingford since we moved to town. My brother’s friend owns the small business and their known for their great service!
Serenity Salon & Day Spa has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re looking for an amazing haircut (and scalp massage) plus a facial and eyebrow wax, Serenity is the place to go. My stylist Jennifer Strumski has been cutting and coloring my hair for over five years and Karen is my go-to for spray tans. Serenity is also a hidden gem for your gifting needs – their boutique is adorable!
Looking for someone to groom your dog or cat? My family uses Muddy Paws for their dog grooming needs! Muddy Paws is a full service dog and cat grooming salon, for ALL breeds and breed standards. Puppy cuts are also available. Service includes nails, ears, bath and conditioning. The staff is nice and considerate of the most nervous pets, like my parents’ old blind beagle.
The Nail & Wax Room is a beautiful mini spa located in downtown Wallingford offering skin and nail care by licensed, certified Estheticians and Nail Technicians. The owner of the spa, Melissa, has been a licensed esthetician and spa owner for years. They offer manicures and pedicures, waxing, and a variety of skin care treatments. The Nail & Wax Room also offers a small boutique to shop after your services. Tip: make an appointment before you visit!
The Green Petal Florist is a fun flower shop in the center of Wallingford carrying unique gorgeous floral arrangements for all occasions. The Green Petal, specializing in event florals, is owned and operated by lifelong flower lover and designer, Alison Corbett. Stop by during the spring and summer for a pop-up shop (started during the pandemic).