Cricket Car Hop Reopens in Stratford CT: Legendary Fried Hot Dogs Are Back

Andrew Dominick

After being closed for 13 years, a Stratford legend has returned! 

Finally, and to much anticipation, Cricket Car Hop has reemerged in Lordship over Independence Day weekend to sling burgers, fries, shakes, and foot longs once again. 

The original, which opened in the mid-1950s, closed in 2004, and was located on Main Street, almost exactly a mile away from where they are now on Access Road. Running the show at the sequel version of the popular hot dog hut is co-owner Stacy DiCostanzo—who worked as a cook at Cricket from 1980 until it closed—and her husband, Ron, who handles day-to-day general manager duties. 

The brand spanking new digs are reminiscent of The Cricket of the past. It’s still small inside, with just a bunch of stools and counters for indoor eating purposes, or for resting while you wait for your order number to be shouted out. Also, inside is a familiar sight for Cricket fans of old, a 25 cent per play, wood-lined Gusher pinball machine. This fresher space does have a few added perks, like more parking, an outdoor patio area, and a drive-thru that should be up and running a few months from now. 

As of now, the menu is select, and will slowly expand as time goes on, like with the recent additions of wings and a chicken sandwich. Currently featured are Cricket staples like burgers, crinkle-cut fries, battered-and-fried onion rings, milkshakes (including a “thick” option), and of course, their famed franks. If anything about the menu is different, the chili is not the original recipe, and the burgers come via meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda and are ground fresh daily. 

When Cricket’s loyalists visit, they’re all over the long dogs, that are ordered in bunches at peak food times. The foot-long Hummel hot dogs with a natural casing are fried for a snappy bite on the outside, and are juicy on the inside. Each one ordered hangs about a half inch off the bun. And speaking of the buns—in case you’re a Cricket rookie—they’re buttered and griddled for extra amazingness. For toppings, you could opt for bacon, chili, or cheese, or some combination of your own choosing, but I take mine with “the works,” meaning ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, and their homemade, pleasantly spicy red relish.

There was a lingering question about Cricket’s return that I heard before it opened and during my visit, “Are the hot dogs still the same?” 

As a kid who spent his summers mostly in Lordship, I’ve had my fair share of Cricket’s hot dogs, so naturally I wondered the same thing. After I finished obliterating my lunch, and headed back to my car, some guy asked that very lingering question. My response then, and right now? “Yeah. The dogs are spot-on!” 

Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Closed Sunday