By Alison Geisler
11:55 AM EDT, June 11, 2013
464 Boston Post Road, Orange, (203) 533-9616, prime16.com.
Prime 16 is a beloved downtown spot for fancy beers and those famous burgers. It may get loud, and it definitely gets crowded, but it's never clubby, and thus has served as a great latenight spot for those of us who like to remain civilized after dark. Out-of-towners are in luck, because at the end of last month Prime 16 opened up a second location in Orange, and the first new feature to be seen is a nice big parking lot. No more fighting your way into downtown and then demolition derby-ing for a place to put your car.
Prime 16's new Orange digs might look familiar to some as the spot most memorably occupied by Jacob Marley's Tavern & Grill a few years ago. Nothing in that location has fared well since Jacob Marley's closed, but we're pretty sure Prime 16 won't have that problem. We swung by on grand-opening day just to check it out, and there was not an empty parking space to be found. The place was hoppin'. We tried again a few days later and found the place to be buzzing a little bit right upon opening on a Sunday afternoon.
Since everyone already knows and loves Prime 16's burgers, my date and I decided to try some of the menu's deep cuts, and went for the sandwiches. He ordered the French Dip ($9.95), which comes with thinkly sliced beef dipped in au jus, topped with Swiss cheese and sauteed onions on a ciabatta roll, and a side of au jus, and I went for the Grilled Cheese and Pesto ($8.95), with goat cheese, mozzarella, roasted kale and walnut pesto, sliced avocado and baby spinach on grilled multigrain bread. My sandwich was nice and creamy, and the baby spinach made it feel like it had a salad in the middle. My date didn't say much while scarfing down his French Dip, which means he loved it. While we waited for our sandwiches, we got the mac and cheese appetizer ($7.95), a special five-cheese blend baked with a crispy panko crust. It came in a casserole dish, which helped keep it hot while we talked about how good it was (with our mouths full). The cheese was a bit tangy and the panko added a nice crunch. My date added copious amounts of black pepper to his serving, which is not a bad way to enjoy it.
But of course we didn't just go there to eat. Prime 16 Orange has 30 taps. Yeah, 30. Nothing says "Yay, Sunday!" like a Fin du Monde with your first meal of the day. One brew to look out for is the Humbolt Brown Hemp Ale, an interesting taste yet still refreshing. The draft list is constantly changing, so keep your eye on facebook.com/Prime16Orange and prime16.com for current tap lists. On the more sophisticated side, my date enjoyed a Blanton's single-barrel bourbon for $11, which made him double happy.
Prime 16 in Orange has a bigger dining room, and longer bar, more taps and thus, more awesome beers. You can eat the same great food with less of a hassle if you're not already chillin' out downtown or have secret free parking powers. We're not sure how to say this, but, Orange just got kinda cool.
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