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Sarah Tanat Jones

The 10 Best Places to Eat Along I-95, Between Boston and NYC

From baked goods to hearty sandwiches to caffeine fixes, these are your best options

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A mere four-hour drive separates Boston from New York City, and in the span of roughly 230 miles between the two cities, drivers on I-95 will find ocean views and plenty of stops along the way to curb road trip hunger pangs. Cutting through the center of Rhode Island and skirting the coast of Connecticut, I-95 takes road trippers through several major cities and smaller towns, each with its own local flavor.

From an oasis of baked goods in Providence, RI to a small sandwich shop in Stamford, CT, there are opportunities to fill up on coffee, order breakfast sandwiches via a drive-thru, or take a break to stretch and enjoy waterfront views. Here now are the 10 places along the route that will help the trip fly by. The stops are arranged for a road trip from Boston to New York, but the same trip can be made in reverse. Southbound and northbound exits are noted when applicable, and do note each stop’s hours of operation.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Emma's Breakfast

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258 Willard St
Quincy, MA
(617) 328-3337

Right off of exit 9 on I-93 (exit 8 northbound), Emma’s is either a good last stop before getting into Boston or a good first stop to beat traffic and kick off a road trip. There are fluffy pancakes (plain or fruit-filled) and standard breakfast fare, plus a dish called “super deluxe homefries,” which is a crispy combination of of broccoli, potatoes, and cheese. Definitely a no-frills spot, Emma’s is family-friendly and affordable (get one egg, home fries, and toast for $2.75; a stuffed omelet starts at $7.95). Note that the restaurant is cash only, and there is free parking out front. Emma’s is open for breakfast Wednesday through Saturday starting at 6:30 a.m. and on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. The restaurant closes at 2 p.m. during the week, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and by 1 p.m. on Sunday. Emma’s is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Emma’s Breakfast Dana Hatic

2. Exchange Street Cafe

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(401) 722-5530
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This no-frills sandwich shop (off of exit 29) has a wide selection of options for all three meals, from eggs and bagels to grinders, subs, and wraps served hot or cold, and ranging in price from $5.50 to $8.50. For sides, there are fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and wings, and an “express lunch” option that comes with salad and breadsticks. Open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday; Exchange Street is closed on Sundays.

Krystal S./Yelp

3. Seven Stars Bakery

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820 Hope St
Providence, RI
(401) 521-2200
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Seven Stars opened in 2001; in 2015, the bakery began milling its own grains, producing heartier, crustier loaves. As a road trip stop off exit 25, there are plenty of pastries (priced between $2 and $6) to grab and go, including seasonal vegetable danishes, fruit danishes, quiches, cookies, muffins, scones, and brownies. Seven Stars’ kouign amann, a French croissant-like pastry, is flaky and not too sweet. The asparagus quiche, which is fluffy with a crisp crust, would make a good brunch option. Grab a loaf of bread — from Italian-style ciabatta and multigrain to sweet challah — for the road or to take back home. Seven Stars opens at 6:30 a.m. each weekday and 7 a.m. on weekends and serves until until 7 p.m. each night.

Seven Stars Bakery Dana Hatic

4. Cafe Tempo Coffee House

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32 Toll Gate Rd
Warwick, RI
(401) 737-0109
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Thanks to a drive-thru, Cafe Tempo is a quick and easy stop right off the highway (take exit 10A off I-95 south or exit 10 going north). Find a wide variety of coffee flavors, both iced and hot, and a large selection of bagels on the menu. The Greek bagel sandwich is a spinach bagel filled with eggs, feta, and tomato. It’s easy to bite through, making it good car food. There are also pastries, giant biscotti, and fruit parfaits. Cafe Tempo has plenty of parking, free wifi, a bathroom, and an outdoor seating area. The cafe is open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Cafe Tempo Coffee House Dana Hatic

5. Muddy Waters Cafe

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42 Bank St
New London, CT
(860) 444-2232

This is a good caffeine stop in New London — exit 84S for southbound access or exit 83 going northbound — and there are gas stations nearby if needed. The baristas recommend the chocolate coconut iced coffee, which makes for a surprisingly good pick-me-up. Even if it’s meant to be a quick stop, Muddy Waters Cafe demands a bit more attention because of its decor and views. There’s a deck out back overlooking the water, and the interior is filled with movie posters, music paraphernalia, an old juke box, and board games. There’s free wifi and comfortable seating. On the food side, there are pastries, bagels, muffins, and cakes — and a $10 minimum credit card charge. Street parking is easy to find out front. Muddy Waters opens at 7 a.m. every week day and closes after lunch, usually around 3 p.m. but earlier on the weekends.

Muddy Waters Cafe
Dana Hatic

6. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

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157 Wooster St
New Haven, CT
(203) 865-5762
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New Haven is a hub for powerhouse pizza places churning out pie after pie, and Frank Pepe is among Eater’s five “must-visit” spots. Frank Pepe’s has locations all over New England, but the Wooster Street restaurant is the original, and it serves small, medium, and large pies that are made to order. There are also salads and soft beverages, and the restaurant is open every day at 10:30 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

7. bartaco Westport

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20 Wilton Rd
Westport, CT
(203) 222-8226
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A bit north of the highway off exit 17, Bartaco is situated on the Saugatuck River. True to its name, the restaurant serves a variety of tacos, including fish, meat, and vegetarian options; sides and small plates like rice bowls, gazpacho, ceviche, and tuna poke are also on offer. There is outdoor seating and an option to place an order online for takeout. Bartaco is open daily from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. and until 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Bartaco/Facebook

8. Magee's Curbside

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72 Magee Ave
Stamford, CT
(203) 890-9900
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A cross between a barbecue stand and a deli (off exit 8 going south or exit 7 going north) Magee’s sells a variety of items including sandwiches, burgers, and even fish tacos. Sandwich fillings include pulled pork, blackened or fried chicken, and pork belly; homemade potato chips, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and potato salad are among the sides, and there are churros and s’mores for dessert. Call ahead to order 15 minutes out and the food will be ready for a quick pick up. Find parking spots out front. Magee’s is open from 7 a.m until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but closes at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Magee’s Curbside
Fried chicken sandwich at Magee’s
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9. Walter's Hot Dog Stand

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937 Palmer Ave
Mamaroneck, NY

Walter’s is a national registered historic landmark (off exit 18A) that first opened in 1919. The hot dogs are made with beef, pork, and veal, and are served cut in half on a toasted bun. Walter’s makes its own mustard, but the usual hot dog condiments are available as well. Also on the menu: New England clam chowder, french fries, curly fries, and waffle fries, plus soft drinks, milkshakes, ice cream soda, floats, and Italian ice. To the left of the building, there’s a wooded area with picnic tables and umbrellas. Street parking is available, and customers can place orders by calling ahead. Walter’s seems like a summer stop, but it’s open year-round from 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Walter’s Hot Dog Stand
Walter’s outdoor picnic area.
Dana Hatic

10. BLD Diner

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2399 Boston Post Rd
Larchmont, NY
(914) 833-2062
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Close to NY, and off exit 16 in both directions, this isn’t a must-taste option, but because it’s open 24 hours a day, has parking, and accepts credit cards, it might come in handy in a pinch, and could be a good stop if you’re trying to avoid traffic. Find reubens and gyros on the menu alongside fresh veggie wraps, which are easy to eat while driving.

BLD Diner BLD Diner/Official

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1. Emma's Breakfast

258 Willard St, Quincy, MA
Emma’s Breakfast Dana Hatic

Right off of exit 9 on I-93 (exit 8 northbound), Emma’s is either a good last stop before getting into Boston or a good first stop to beat traffic and kick off a road trip. There are fluffy pancakes (plain or fruit-filled) and standard breakfast fare, plus a dish called “super deluxe homefries,” which is a crispy combination of of broccoli, potatoes, and cheese. Definitely a no-frills spot, Emma’s is family-friendly and affordable (get one egg, home fries, and toast for $2.75; a stuffed omelet starts at $7.95). Note that the restaurant is cash only, and there is free parking out front. Emma’s is open for breakfast Wednesday through Saturday starting at 6:30 a.m. and on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. The restaurant closes at 2 p.m. during the week, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and by 1 p.m. on Sunday. Emma’s is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

258 Willard St
Quincy, MA

2. Exchange Street Cafe

Pawtucket, RI
Krystal S./Yelp

This no-frills sandwich shop (off of exit 29) has a wide selection of options for all three meals, from eggs and bagels to grinders, subs, and wraps served hot or cold, and ranging in price from $5.50 to $8.50. For sides, there are fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and wings, and an “express lunch” option that comes with salad and breadsticks. Open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday; Exchange Street is closed on Sundays.

3. Seven Stars Bakery

820 Hope St, Providence, RI
Seven Stars Bakery Dana Hatic

Seven Stars opened in 2001; in 2015, the bakery began milling its own grains, producing heartier, crustier loaves. As a road trip stop off exit 25, there are plenty of pastries (priced between $2 and $6) to grab and go, including seasonal vegetable danishes, fruit danishes, quiches, cookies, muffins, scones, and brownies. Seven Stars’ kouign amann, a French croissant-like pastry, is flaky and not too sweet. The asparagus quiche, which is fluffy with a crisp crust, would make a good brunch option. Grab a loaf of bread — from Italian-style ciabatta and multigrain to sweet challah — for the road or to take back home. Seven Stars opens at 6:30 a.m. each weekday and 7 a.m. on weekends and serves until until 7 p.m. each night.

820 Hope St
Providence, RI

4. Cafe Tempo Coffee House

32 Toll Gate Rd, Warwick, RI
Cafe Tempo Coffee House Dana Hatic

Thanks to a drive-thru, Cafe Tempo is a quick and easy stop right off the highway (take exit 10A off I-95 south or exit 10 going north). Find a wide variety of coffee flavors, both iced and hot, and a large selection of bagels on the menu. The Greek bagel sandwich is a spinach bagel filled with eggs, feta, and tomato. It’s easy to bite through, making it good car food. There are also pastries, giant biscotti, and fruit parfaits. Cafe Tempo has plenty of parking, free wifi, a bathroom, and an outdoor seating area. The cafe is open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

32 Toll Gate Rd
Warwick, RI

5. Muddy Waters Cafe

42 Bank St, New London, CT
Muddy Waters Cafe
Dana Hatic

This is a good caffeine stop in New London — exit 84S for southbound access or exit 83 going northbound — and there are gas stations nearby if needed. The baristas recommend the chocolate coconut iced coffee, which makes for a surprisingly good pick-me-up. Even if it’s meant to be a quick stop, Muddy Waters Cafe demands a bit more attention because of its decor and views. There’s a deck out back overlooking the water, and the interior is filled with movie posters, music paraphernalia, an old juke box, and board games. There’s free wifi and comfortable seating. On the food side, there are pastries, bagels, muffins, and cakes — and a $10 minimum credit card charge. Street parking is easy to find out front. Muddy Waters opens at 7 a.m. every week day and closes after lunch, usually around 3 p.m. but earlier on the weekends.

42 Bank St
New London, CT

6. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

157 Wooster St, New Haven, CT

New Haven is a hub for powerhouse pizza places churning out pie after pie, and Frank Pepe is among Eater’s five “must-visit” spots. Frank Pepe’s has locations all over New England, but the Wooster Street restaurant is the original, and it serves small, medium, and large pies that are made to order. There are also salads and soft beverages, and the restaurant is open every day at 10:30 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

157 Wooster St
New Haven, CT

7. bartaco Westport

20 Wilton Rd, Westport, CT
Bartaco/Facebook

A bit north of the highway off exit 17, Bartaco is situated on the Saugatuck River. True to its name, the restaurant serves a variety of tacos, including fish, meat, and vegetarian options; sides and small plates like rice bowls, gazpacho, ceviche, and tuna poke are also on offer. There is outdoor seating and an option to place an order online for takeout. Bartaco is open daily from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. and until 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

20 Wilton Rd
Westport, CT

8. Magee's Curbside

72 Magee Ave, Stamford, CT
Magee’s Curbside
Fried chicken sandwich at Magee’s
Facebook

A cross between a barbecue stand and a deli (off exit 8 going south or exit 7 going north) Magee’s sells a variety of items including sandwiches, burgers, and even fish tacos. Sandwich fillings include pulled pork, blackened or fried chicken, and pork belly; homemade potato chips, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and potato salad are among the sides, and there are churros and s’mores for dessert. Call ahead to order 15 minutes out and the food will be ready for a quick pick up. Find parking spots out front. Magee’s is open from 7 a.m until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but closes at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

72 Magee Ave
Stamford, CT

9. Walter's Hot Dog Stand

937 Palmer Ave, Mamaroneck, NY
Walter’s Hot Dog Stand
Walter’s outdoor picnic area.
Dana Hatic

Walter’s is a national registered historic landmark (off exit 18A) that first opened in 1919. The hot dogs are made with beef, pork, and veal, and are served cut in half on a toasted bun. Walter’s makes its own mustard, but the usual hot dog condiments are available as well. Also on the menu: New England clam chowder, french fries, curly fries, and waffle fries, plus soft drinks, milkshakes, ice cream soda, floats, and Italian ice. To the left of the building, there’s a wooded area with picnic tables and umbrellas. Street parking is available, and customers can place orders by calling ahead. Walter’s seems like a summer stop, but it’s open year-round from 11 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

937 Palmer Ave
Mamaroneck, NY

10. BLD Diner

2399 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont, NY
BLD Diner BLD Diner/Official

Close to NY, and off exit 16 in both directions, this isn’t a must-taste option, but because it’s open 24 hours a day, has parking, and accepts credit cards, it might come in handy in a pinch, and could be a good stop if you’re trying to avoid traffic. Find reubens and gyros on the menu alongside fresh veggie wraps, which are easy to eat while driving.

2399 Boston Post Rd
Larchmont, NY

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