On the Side: Hughie’s Love Salad

I don’t remember the first time we went to Hughie’s restaurant in New London, a place recalled fondly after the death Oct. 9 of legendary owner Hugh Devlin at the age of 87. I also can’t remember the last time we went to Hughie’s before it closed in 2000.

Maybe 20, 30 or 40 times. Maybe more.

It was Cheers before there was a Cheers. (Truth: Cheers was really just a television show.) I loved the scampi, the ravioli, the garlic bread.

And there was the Love Salad. Just iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, salami, sliced provolone, grated parmesan and garlic. Tons of garlic. Over the next years, other restaurants said they had the recipe, but they did not. I tried and failed, too. But when we talk about the legacy that is Hughie, we all remember the Love Salad. Thank God Hughie’s daughters know how to make the Love Salad and, unless you know all the daughters, the real Love Salad is only available at Muddy Water’s in New London, owned by Susan Devlin Neistat and her husband, Barry. The food there is terrific, but whatever I order includes a Love Salad. Rest in peace, Hughie.

Muddy Waters Cafe

42 Bank St., New London

(860) 444-2232

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