Hamden hotspots recognized in CTNow’s Readers’ Poll


Alex Taglieri

By: Alex Taglieri

CTNow released the winners of its annual Best in New Haven Readers’ Poll this week, and the magazine’s subscribers voted for plenty of Hamden businesses across every category. Keep reading to find out which restaurants, concert venues and shops in Hamden received accolades.

Bars and Pubs

Mikro Beer Bar recently moved locations, but that didn’t seem to change the restaurant’s quality, as it placed in two categories. Mikro took home the title for Best Beer Selection (in a Bar or Restaurant), and came in third place for Best Brew Pub. Now located at 0 Depot Ave, the craft beer bar is an intimate, unassuming restaurant. However, with its wide range of beers on tap, the small space is bursting with options that any beer-lover would enjoy.

CTNow’s readers gave some love to two other Hamden bars, Eli’s on Whitney and the Playwright Irish Pub Restaurant. Eli’s is a popular choice for Quinnipiac students and their families, and the classic restaurant placed third in Best Sports Bar. The Playwright Irish Pub, however, placed in two categories, winning Best Trivia Night and taking home second place in Best Irish restaurant. Its Trivia Night takes place every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., and includes drink specials and half-price appetizers for the competitors.

Salads and Sandwiches

Whether you call them subs or grinders, most people can agree that Ray and Mike’s Dairy and Deli’s sandwiches are some of the best around. It was no surprise that the deli won the title of Best Grinders and placed second in Best Sandwiches. The awards did not stop there; it also ranked third in Best Deli. With its wide menu of breakfast sandwiches and speciality sandwiches, there is sure to be something for everyone.

CTNow’s readers seem to love Hamden’s Greek restaurant, FRESKOS, ranking it in the top three in four categories. FRESKOS sells a variety of food and won awards for almost every kind, including Best Gyro, Best Salad, Best Greek Restaurant and Best Mediterranean. If you are looking for something more exotic than what you would find at the dining hall, FRESKOS is worth a try.

Sweet Shops

Hamden has no shortage of ice cream shops, and two locations were recognized in this year’s poll. Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream placed second in Best Ice Cream, while Ashley’s Ice Cream’s New Haven location won the category for the 29th consecutive year, according to the store’s website. If New Haven is too far, the store has another location off Dixwell Avenue. Q30’s Kerry Golden reviewed both places here in case you can’t decide which one to try first.

The poll showed some love for other sweet shops in Hamden, including Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies. The popular food truck also has a brick-and-mortar location off of Dixwell Avenue, which won the title of Best Bakery and placed second in Best Desserts. With over twenty flavors of unique cookies, there is bound to be something to please your sweet tooth.

And if cookies aren’t your thing, Hamden is home to New Haven County’s best donuts, according to the poll. Whitney Donut and Sandwich Shop was voted first place, and with its wide selection of donuts and breakfast sandwiches, it’s no surprise that its customers love it. To find out more, check out Q30’s Kayla Hevey and Kirby Paulson’s review of the store’s classic glazed donut here.

Live Entertainment

Hamden offers more than just food and drinks, including a concert and entertainment venue on Treadwell Street. Although The Space Ballroom received the honor of third place in Best Comedy Venue, it offers many other kinds of live entertainment, with talented bands taking to the stage each week.

While this venue isn’t located in Hamden, it is popular enough among Quinnipiac students that it might as well be. Toad’s Place received third place in Best Concert Venue, and with its impressive lineup of artists, the title is well-deserved. This year, SZA and Mat Kearney have already played at the iconic venue. Coming up, other popular artists like Protohype and Descendents will be making their way to Toad’s Place, proving that there is always a reason to go, even if it’s not Saturday night.

Retro Retailers

Looking for something vintage? Hamden is home to award-winning record stores and consignment shops. For almost thirty years, Replay Records has been providing record-hunters with interesting finds from every genre, and the voters rewarded it with the title of Best Vinyl Store.

If fashion piques your interest more than records, Karma Consignment on Whitney Avenue might be worth a try. Placing third in Best Consignment Store, the shop offers designer brands like Lilly Pulitzer and Louis Vuitton at drastically lower prices.

Lastly, one category honored an organization that is very close to home: WQAQ 98.1. Quinnipiac’s own student-run radio station came in second place in Best College Radio Station. The station broadcasts every day from the Carl Hansen Student Center, and streams live here.

To view the full list of winners across Hamden and other towns in New Haven County, click here. There are plenty of restaurants, stores and concert venues to discover that are just outside of Quinnipiac’s campus.