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Thu Apr 1, 2021, 05:40 PM

Lunch at the "Gris"

The. Griswold Inn in Essex, CT has been serving diners since 1776. Even more than good food, I love a great atmosphere, and "The Gris" has that in spades. Laid out in a series of wood paneled rooms, the main dining room walls are covered in nautical paintings and prints. The restaurant features the largest collection of Antonio Jacobson's ship's paintings in the country. Another room features a large collection of 18th century firearms. When I was courting my wife I took her here for. lunch. At one point she looked around and said, "This must be the preppiest place in America." It wasn't meant as a compliment.
In the time before the plague, the place would attract a good crowd, particularly in summer when people would dock their boats in the harbor and spend the evening in the crowded tap room. Usually there would be live music, often a jazz band. One summer night I was enlisted to ring the ship's bell on the wall in time to 'Sweet Caroline'. I was told by the band members I did pretty well. Apparently other people who tried had a hard time keeping time to the music.
We went there today for lunch. Like all places these days, The Gris is trying to scrape by. There were about a half dozen widely spaced tables taken. The food was decent. Lunch entrees ran in the fifteen to twenty dollar range. This being the land of the preppy, the martinis were on the generous side.
For anyone who is vacationing in the area of Essex, CT the Griswold Inn is definitely worth the visit. It's a Connecticut landmark and a unique dining experience.

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