Vernon's Hotspot for Travelers: Rein's Deli

It's fame has even spread to crime novels.

So the great crime mystery detective Jesse Stone was traveling between Boston and New York on Interstate-84 in the Robert B. Parker novel "High Profile."

It's Chapter 22.

One occupant of the car asks the other if a short stop off exit 65 in Vernon is in order. They both realize they cannot drive past Rein's Deli without stopping.

Fast forward to Citi Field on a Sunday night in early June. It's the seventh-inning stretch during the Mets' rout of the Cardinals and two fans of the Metropolitans strike up a conversation.

"So where are you from?"

"Just north of Hartford."

"Oh? What town?"


"Know it well. I cannot drive back here from Boston without eating at Rein's Deli."   

The lore of has even reached Phillies fans. There is a group of snow sports journalists who will go out of the way to stop at Rein's on their way to Eastern Ski Writers Association events during the winter.

How much of a north central Connecticut institution is Rein's Deli?

Travelers stop there regularly - including tour buses. Leaf peepers become knish eaters in the fall. If it's early, they settle for real bagels and lox.

After Saturday and Sunday religious services, the place is packed with locals, no matter what faith is practiced. Those in line can hang out with a replica of the Statue of Liberty inside the restaurant.

Then again, Lady Liberty usually entertains a line of customers for breakfast, lunch and dinner on all seven days Rein's is open.

Says a Philly lawyer who is the legal counsel for the ski writers organization, "When it's good deli, you have to go there."

Rein's Deli founder Bob Rein has a motto on how to feed his patrons: "Food that feeds the soul and warms the heart." The chicken matzo ball soup will do just that and so will the rest of the extensive menu.

Describing the cuisine is simple: Rein's is a traditional New York style Jewish deli. People mention the Reuben in travel guides.

Soups range from the matzo to borscht to the house specialty: mushroom barley. Entrees range from liver and onions to stuffed cabbage to a homemade mac and cheese.

And what's a deli without chopped liver, tongue and pastrami on your choice of bread? Rein's also features traditional deli desserts like rice pudding and stewed prunes.

By the way, the half-sour pickles are served at the table and can also be taken home by the bucket.

Rein's is a popular choice for travelers not only for its authenticity but because it is right off exit 65 on I-84 between New York and Boston, at 435 Hartford Turnpike (Route 30), in Vernon.

Rein's is open seven days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices range from about $8.99 to $14.99 for entrees and $5.89 to $13.79 for sandwiches.


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