- Hannah Palmer Egan
- Thursday is wing night at the Colatina Exit in Bradford.
Bradford, my sleepy hometown of 2,500 on the Connecticut River, is home to more than a handful of bars and restaurants. But everyone I know — and I feel like I know most everyone — goes to the Colatina Exit, which has been a Main Street mainstay for 45 years. Downstairs, it's a cozy, candle-lit Italian restaurant. Meaty red lasagna and hand-tossed pizzas are staples, but the menu rotates with the seasons, as the kitchen sources many ingredients from nearby farms on both sides of the river.
In the bar upstairs, the everyday crowd is strong — bartenders linger for decades; regulars claim barstools for generations. But it's also host to a Friday-night live music series, which features local rockers and balladeers, and it's a friendly stopover for a drink and a pizza.
Wherever you sit, the place is generally affordable. Basic pizzas run $8-$14, pastas fetch $10-$20. And on Thursdays, the bar offers 59-cent wings in several flavors — garlic-rubbed, Buffalo, teriyaki, depending on the week. Dollar-off drafts ($4-$6 for brews from Fiddlehead Brewing, Maine Beer Company, River Roost Brewery), knock down the bar tab, too.
I'll admit that it's not the world's cheapest wing deal — in New York, such specials were of the 10-cent variety. But for around $7, dipping a dozen meaty, sauce-slathered flappers in creamy garlic-dill dressing feels like winning. And with old friends slowly migrating back to town after years spent living afar, it's hard to imagine better company.