January 10th, 2003

O'Rourke's Diner

I was in Middletown. It was lunchtime. O'Rourke's was an obvious choice.

For me, O'Rourke's also brings back many Alpha Delt-related memories as it opens about the time things are winding down after a party or other house event. It's a long walk from the house, but definitely worth the effort.

O'Rourke's Diner
728 Main St. (near the bridge to Portland)
Middletown, CT 06457
M-F 0500-1400
Sa-Su 0500-1300

O'Rourke's is a diner with a split personality, which is reflected in its menu. The first section, pitched at the Wesleyan crowd, has a variety of choices reflecting an imaginative and innovative approach to classic diner fare. Few traditional diners feature dishes with mornay sauce, andouille, or portabella mushrooms (not necessarily all in the same dish). The second section has traditional diner fare, which is made with equal care and skill.

Owner Brian O'Rourke likes to experiment, so the first section changes often. Some examples from lunch yesterday included chicken tenderloin over pasta with marinara and provolone and blackened yellow fin tuna steak with rice, pesto, and cole slaw (both $6.25), and the J. Seeley Omelet,. with onions, tomato, guacamole, and cheese, served with homefries and toast (at $6.45 the most expensive item on the menu).

The classics always remain, including a local central Connecticut specialty: the steamed cheese burg, for $2.65.

There were three dozen choices on the menu for lunch. There is a separate breakfast menu with just as many choices, and you can order from either breakfast or lunch on weekdays. On weekends, there is a brunch menu with even more listings. Clearly Brian prefers not to have his creativity be restricted by limited variety.

Soups vary and are posted on a board behind the counter. Tasty breads are also baked and sometimes available for order.

Thanks to my then-housemate Harry, who too many years ago to count brought me to a place he said 'you have to try'. I've been eating here ever since.