PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2016, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their Facebook page for the most current information, especially about things like hours, menu items and pricing.
UPDATE APRIL 2017: Please note that Jem’s lunch hours will be changing and food will no longer be served on the weekends. Please be sure to check out their Facebook page for the latest updates before you visit.
A few weeks ago we were out near the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, CT running some errands. It seemed like the perfect excuse to check out a local eatery that has been recommended to us by numerous readers. It’s called Jem’s Garden and Dairy Barn, and it’s located just down the road from the hustle and bustle of the busy shopping area in a serene corner of South Windsor.
Blink and you might miss it.
Although Jem’s looks like little more than a roadside ice cream stand, it’s actually a gourmet lunch and dinner spot serving delicious sandwiches, homemade soups and yes, ice cream. It has plenty of outdoor eating areas including picnic tables, lawn chairs and adirondack chairs.
Not to mention laid back lawn games for the kids. (Find the smaller games at the counter where you order and pick up your food.)
The menu changes seasonally and even daily, with local produce being used whenever possible–they even grow their own, so the best way to find out what specialties are being served up on a particular day is to check out their Facebook page. You can also find a menu with some of their standard items posted outside the order window. They have a variety of unique sandwiches (any of which can be prepared vegetarian or with turkey and/or bacon) and also a kids’ menu with old standbys like grilled cheese, PB&J and turkey & cheese. Also fruit smoothies.
I ordered the J.P. Melt (country white bread, with turkey, spinach, tomato, onions, peppers and melted American cheese).
Hubby opted for The Panini (rye bread with red pepper hummus, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and spinach) with turkey added to it.
We ordered grilled cheese for the little guy (kids’ meals come with fruit and a choice of beverage).
And for my big guy, the world’s pickiest eater, they gave me the bread and cheese cold.
Which is how he likes it Which is the only way he will even touch it 🙂
Both my kids eating. A rare sight 🙂
Everything was DELICIOUS. And not just like roadside stand delicious. Like gourmet five star restaurant delicious! Yet with the relaxed feel of eating in your own backyard.
And then there’s ice cream. Made locally in Avon. Scoops, sundaes, shakes, you name it!
This one is called Cookie Monster. (It’s filled with crushed cookies and blue like its lovable namesake.)
My younger son might be a more adventurous eater, but he’s only got eyes for vanilla when it comes to ice cream 🙂
Hubby and I are definitely coming back here for an ice cream date to try this:
Now that the weather is getting cooler, we can’t wait to try out their legendary soups. And they also make pies. Lot and LOTS of pies!
So take advantage of the beautiful fall weather with a quick bite outdoors at this hidden gem. It’s a rare find, indeed!
Jem’s Garden & Dairy Barn
Phone: (860) 550-4652
Hours vary; generally they open at 11:00am, but the time they close will depend on the season. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Pricing varies, but most menu items are under $7.
Stroller Friendly: YES
Coffee Mug Friendly: YES
Restroom: I didn’t see one.
Baby Changing Station: I didn’t see one.
Parking: YES. There is a parking area right in front.
Food for Sale: Of course.
Outside Food Allowed: I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you bring snacks for your picky toddlers.
Cash Required: NO; credit cards accepted.
Dress Code: Nothing specific, but please note that all dining is outdoors. There is no indoor area. Dress and accessorize accordingly.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Discounts: None that we know of.
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