Saugerties; Exit 8
You don’t have to venture miles away from I-87 to go off the beaten path. At this acclaimed restaurant, you’ll find a rotating assortment of novel lunch and dinner items like mushroom and goat cheese strudel or a venison salami sandwich.
Lake George; Exit 22
A straight shot from the Thruway, this upscale inn and wedding venue also serves dinner Thursday–Monday in a gorgeous Victorian dining room. With seasonal ingredients and painterly platings, this is an excellent precursor or conclusion to a romantic getaway.
Peru; Exit 35
Two minutes off of I-87 lies this local favorite. With billiards and a pinball machine, craft brews, plus vegetarian and gluten-free options, you may end up staying here longer than planned. Try one of the 7 Deadly Burgers.
Edison, NJ; Exit 9
This pit stop will take you 10 minutes off the highway, but the detour may well be worth it by this point in your trip. Skylark features some sating staples like pastrami sandwiches, but the menu here is globally influenced with several healthy dishes (like salmon kale-quinoa salad) subverting the diner paradigm.
Baltimore, MD; Key Highway toward Exit 55
Crabaholics should pump the brakes in Maryland for a meal at one of Baltimore’s favorite seafood shacks. With part of the menu devoted exclusively to fried seafood and plenty of options for sampling multiple mollusks and crustaceans, land-dwellers will definitely get bang for their buck.
Scranton, PA; Exit 185 to Central Scranton Expressway
At the junction of I-84, I-81, and I-380 sits Scranton, a city that has grown to be synonymous with NBC’s The Office. An 8-minute drive will land you in the heart of the Electric City at this funky brewpub, which offers everything from salmon gyros to a creamy mac ’n’ cheese burger.
Livingston Manor; Exit 96
Tourists, weekenders, and vagabonds alike usually have the same thing to say about Route 17: “There’s nothing on that road.” But those who wander from the path paved before them will find a hipster haven in Livingston Manor. Offering “spirits, wood-fired pizza, and gelato,” The Kaatskeller also has tons of outdoor seating, plus a fire pit and bocce court.
Newtown, CT; Exit 10
Those looking for a quintessential diner will want to pull off for this 24-hour spot adjacent to the exit ramp. A widely reviewed menu with anything and everything you could want.
Sturbridge, MA; Exit 3B
Less than 5 minutes off the highway, B.T.’s Smokehouse is not only one of the best barbecue joints in New England, but also in the US. With Gordon Ramsay and the late Anthony Bourdain numbering among its fans, B.T.’s can get busy, so it’s best to stop in on weekdays or off-hours.
New Haven, CT; Exit 46
Maybe it’s blasphemous to send New Yorkers to a pizza place where they put clams on the pies. Maybe you just haven’t tried it yet.