Every family has its traditions and ours is no exception. One of our more recent traditions started three years ago when Steffie decided she’d like to have her birthday dinner at Lenny’s in Branford. The fact that Steffie wasn’t a seafood lover and Lenny’s is a seafood place left us confused at first. But, it was her birthday and her decision.
This year we brought along Steffie’s friend Ali. They have known each other since grade school.
Helaine and I have been going to Lennie’s since we came to Connecticut. My impression is that Al Blinke (now news director at KDKA in Pittsburgh, but then our assignment editor) led the way and everyone else just followed.
There is probably a Lenny’s-like place in every community. It’s the kind of restaurant that has grown successful in an organic way, with little planning. No one could put up a restaurant and say, “Let’s make it like Lenny’s.” It is, for the most part, unchanged since I’ve been going.
They still don’t take credit cards, and never took checks. There’s now an ATM machine, allowing Lenny to ‘sort of’ accept credit cards, make money on them, and still be in an all cash business.
Adjacent to a salt marsh in the Indian Neck section of Branford, the parking lot is gravel. It used to be dirt and as I remember was quite nasty after a heavy rain. Now, for the first time, there are lines painted on the gravel. This is a major improvement.
During the summer, on the weekend, you just can’t get near the place. It is jammed without fail.
What makes Lenny’s is the seafood, especially shellfish – specifically lobster (the photo on the left shows live lobsters – even a box of 5 pounders – squirming around in the freezer). I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything but the “Shore Dinner” which is corn on the cob, clam chowder (New England or Rhode Island), two clams on the half shell, steamers, a lobster, a huge slice of watermelon and coffee. Helaine gets bisque and fried shrimp. It’s always great.
Today, since Helaine had gotten a birthday cake for Steffie, I came off my diet. I’m down 25 pounds, my goal, and have been stuck for a while around 175 pounds. Still, I’ll be back on tomorrow.
Being off the diet allowed me to have birthday cake and corn (and some oyster crackers – what the hell).
Earlier, when Steffie had opened her presents, she was happy with every gift. Now, she and we were happy with dinner. It was a great day.
Stefanie’s turning 17 was a lot easier on me than I feared it would be.