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July 27, 2011 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

Capitol Lunch

Gus Ververis Sr, left and Gus Ververis Jr., owners of New Britain’s beloved Capitol Lunch
serve up the ‘dogs this week.

By William F. Millerick, President

New Britain Chamber of Commerce

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Tomorrow you retire to Florida.

Today, you need one last New Britain memory to take with you and remember your city when you are lined up for the early bird specials in Sarasota.

Do you take in a Rock Cats’ game? Maybe one last trip to the great Museum of American Art? Play a round at Stanley or Shuttle Meadow. Pick up a Blue Devils t-shirt at the CCSU bookstore. Stop by Eastside for one last rousing “Tiki Toki.” Maybe.

But for a lot of people, it’s none of the above. For a lot of people, it is a stop at Capitol Lunch for a couple of the beloved ‘dogs with mustard and meat sauce.

For a lot of people, here and across the country, Capitol Lunch IS New Britain.

And the Ververis family IS Capitol Lunch. The restaurant in the heart of downtown has been in the same family for generations. Gus and his two sons, Gus Jr. and Art are the latest branch of the family tree guarding the secrets to the signature meat sauce and wrapping the orders, two or three hot dogs at a time.

At Capitol Lunch, no one orders just one. They see a lot of three dog nights and three dog days.

At the New Britain Chamber of Commerce, we hear from people around the country regularly who inquire about Capitol Lunch. Always a part of any survey of “The Best” hot dogs in Connecticut, we have worked with reporters from The New York Times to the Boston Globe and even the Wall Street Journal, preparing features about Capital Lunch.

But, as much as it’s an icon of New Britain and an address of reverence for hot dog aficionados, Capitol Lunch is still the same, old school downtown restaurant, with plastic bucket chairs and Formica tables it has had for years.

Capitol Lunch isn’t some chain trying to be retro. It’s the original. You don’t tamper with success. And the first thing you don’t change is the meat sauce.

On one of the hottest afternoons of the past decade last week, Gus Sr. was in the backroom and I was getting a rare look at the process and ingredients that go into slow cooking the famous meat sauce.

Ever the family man, Gus was equally interested and proud to introduce his dark-eyed, niece who is a part time worker, but more importantly to Gus, is a Law student at Quinnipiac.

It doesn’t take very long to see that much of the joy people get from Capitol Lunch hot dogs is the result of the joy the family has in preparing them.

And that’s pretty much all they serve. You can find cheeseburgers on the menu along with fries and rings but if you’re looking for a Cobb salad and Perrier, this probably isn’t the place.

Capitol Lunch is open late morning to early evening and yes, you now can purchase pints of the meat sauce for your home barbecue. Check the website at www.capitollunch.com.

And make sure to ask for Gus, Gus Jr. or Art when you stop by. Located at 510 Main Street, Capitol Lunch may also be reached at 860-229-8237.

(William F. Millerick is President of the New Britain Chamber of Commerce. He is at bill@newbritainchamber.com.)

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