We love coastal drive-in restaurants, even more than we love diners. There’s something about dining on fried seafood and inhaling the inimitable aroma of onions and potatoes and vaporized cooking oil mixed with the salt air that gets our juices flowing. If we’ve just spent the day in the sun, within sight and sound of the water, it doesn’t even matter if the drive-in is ten miles inland, as David’s Place of Oakdale, CT is. Our memories supply the salt air.

This evening, whenever anyone placed an order for scallops, the order taker warned that the scallops were bay, not sea. Small scallops like these can rapidly turn to dry nuggets in the fryer, but the fry cook knew what she or he was doing. Not as “scallopy” as their bloated sea cousins but not bad at all.

There’s indoor seating at David’s, and we suppose if you arrive in bad weather, what else can you do? Speaking for ourselves, we wouldn’t bother. Outdoor dining is what it’s all about, and David’s Place supplies plenty of outdoor places to dine. There’ll likely be a line but fret not – it moves quickly, and the cooks are rapid.

We’d read elsewhere that the steak bomb (garnished with mushrooms, peppers, and cheese) was “spectacular.” Well, maybe it was, but today it is perfectly serviceable and ordinary.

While the wide-ranging menu includes all sorts of burgers, grinders (New Englandese for hot subs, heros, hoagies…), hot dogs, and a smattering of Greek specialties, the thing to get is seafood, preferably fried. If you are a whole-belly clam lover, they got ’em. There’s also clam strips, shrimp, calamari, scallops, and fish, along with good fries and superb onion rings.

The bustle at the order counter is part of the fun. Well, it is for us.

Soon after you place your order you receive your tray weighted down with fried seafood. Stop by the sauce counter for whatever you need, then find yourself a picnic table, settle in, and enjoy summer in New England.

June 2019 menu

1647 New London Turnpike
Oakdale CT 06370
No website
David’s Place on Facebook



BEST THING TO EAT: Onion rings