My husband have a new favorite spot in our part of CT--Fran's Fish and Ribs in Mansfield Center Connecticut, on Rt. 195 just a couple or few miles from UCONN, very close to Mansfield Hollow State Park.
It's a tiny place, hard to spot if you fly through the traffic light outside it's door, very informal (plastic eating utensils, paper plates, roll of paper towels on the table alongside bottles of various bbq sauces) decorated inside like a beachside eating hut. You order at the counter and food is delivered to your table.
It's the only place in this n.eastern part of the state where we can get GOOD clam chowders and clam cakes/fritters (the clam cluttered balls of deep fried batter). But tonight I broke from the many seafood entrees and had beef tips in burgundy sauce and that was excellent, too. My husband had tender fried oysters, in a nice light batter. We chose delicous bbq flavored baked beans and cole slaw as accompaniments from the several offered.
Each time we've enjoyed a different soda from the local soda maker, Hosmer Mountain in Willimantic. Tonight it was black cherry from a nice, old fashioned 12 oz. brown bottle. It reminded me of the soda we had in the "old days."
The ribs we had on our first visit were everything ribs should be, so I know you won't be disappointed if you order them. We try to have something different each time we go to Fish and Ribs, but it's hard not to go with something we enjoyed on previous visits.
If you prefer, you can order takeout and go down Bassett's Bridge Road next to Fran's Fish and Ribs and eat at the picnic tables in the pine forest, perhaps snagging a table overlooking the lake.
I hope someone else here tries Fran's so we can hear about things on the menu we haven't tried yet.