Photograph by Stacy Newgent
Politicians often feel the need to wax poetic about a mythical “Main Street USA.” What they’re really talking about is Milford’s Main Street, a sleepy, winding road that takes visitors past a variety of mom-and-pop enterprises, like the Milford Gun Shop, an ancient vacuum cleaner repair store, a corner store, and, surprisingly, two of the best restaurants in town—20 Brix and Padrino. Both are owned and operated by the Thomas family and their superstar Executive Chef Paul Barraco, who brings his passion for the slow food movement to the Padrino menu.
Billed as “Italian comfort food,” Padrino offers the classics (like lasagna and chicken carbonara) plus hoagies and meatball sliders, an impressive wine list, seasonal martinis, and a decadent signature appetizer—garlic knots, doughy buns smothered in olive oil and garlic. Best of all, Barraco’s pizza sauce, which is comprised of roasted tomatoes and basil, is so garden-fresh that one can’t help but wonder: If this is real pizza, what have we been eating all these years?
While LaRosa’s provides pizza for the masses and Dewey’s offers chaotic blends of seemingly mismatched toppings, Padrino’s pizzas are perfectly realized creations, featuring hand-rolled thin crust and expertly paired ingredients. Try the bruschetta, made with fresh local tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and aged parmesan. For the competitive eater, Padrino offers the $30 Spaghetti and Meatball challenge: eat two pounds of spaghetti, one pound of meatballs, and one pound of marinara and garlic knots in 45 minutes, without leaving the table, and your meal is free. Ain’t that America.
111 Main St., Milford
Lunch and dinner seven days
Originally published in the December 2010 issue.