Homecoming weekend is full of fun things to do, whether it’s attending a sporting event, viewing a film screening, or just spending some quality time with your loved ones. But as packed as your schedule may be, it’s always good to reserve a little time for some quality dining, and Middletown offers some great options.

 Breakast/Brunch/Lunch:

  1. O’Rourke’s Diner: O’Rourke’s is probably the most famous restaurant in Middletown. Established in 1941, it has been a Connecticut staple for breakfast and brunch for years. Be sure to try their hash, freshly baked bread, and egg dishes. Disclaimer: There will be a line, so come early or be prepared to wait.

    One of the many eggs benedict dishes at O’Rourke’s

  2. First and Last Tavern: For only $20, First and Last offers an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet with breakfast items, Italian specialties, and desserts. This is a great place for a big group, especially one with picky eaters, since everyone will find something they like. We particularly love the sweets (chocolate chip/oatmeal raisin cookies, cheesecake, and tiramisu). Reservations recommended.

    The cookies at Sunday brunch at First & Last

  3. Ford News Diner: If you’re looking for an authentic, old Middletown experience that won’t put a hole in your wallet, definitely check out this little diner on Main Street. The service is exceptionally fast and the food is cooked right before your eyes. Go for something simple, like one of their satisfying breakfast sandwiches, which is served with some really awesome home fries. See full article here.

    Breakfast sandwich at Ford News Diner

  4. Café 56: New to the Middletown restaurant scene, Café 56 is run by a chef and baker team that prepare everything they offer. Order at the counter and either sit to eat your meal or take it to-go. The food is “of the Americas,” so you’ll find an interesting fusion of Latin American and more continental ingredients and menu items. Try one of their delicious breakfast pastries or a tacandwich, a blend between a taco and sandwich.

    The tempting bakery counter at Cafe 56

  5. Sweet Harmony Café & Bakery: This is one of our all-time favorite Middletown restaurants. The atmosphere is charming and complements their home-style American comfort food. We recommend any of their salads or sandwiches for lunch, and do not skimp out on dessert—it’s the highlight of the meal. Come with a small party and be prepared for a wait because space is limited.

    Cream puff cake at Sweet Harmony

Quick Bite to Eat/ Coffee:

  1. New England Emporium: Chances are that you or your son or daughter have already been to the Emporium. It’s a Wesleyan staple, to say the least. The vibe is an interesting blend of modern and rustic, and the food options are fairly expansive, with several egg dishes, crepes, sandwiches, and salad options, in addition to a variety of specialty drinks and desserts. Be sure to try the chocolate rooibos tea and any of their spiced chai beverages. And you can’t go wrong with the crepes (especially the Havarti)! 
  2. Brew Bakers: This is another hit among the Wesleyan community. The ambiance is bright and cheerful, with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s the most popular destination to get your bagel-fix, and their pastries are made by an award-winning Austrian chef. The grilled muffins are a satisfying snack, and we’re big fans of the omelet sandwiches.

    Chicken meatloaf melt at Brew Bakers

  3. Neon Deli: Located right on Cross Street in the middle of campus, Neon is your go-to stop for a quick, inexpensive bite to eat. This is a great place to grab a freshly made sandwich for a picnic on Foss Hill. The Sussman Special is a personal favorite, a soft 6-inch roll with chicken cutlet, provolone cheese, black olives, pepperoni, and onions, melted to perfection and served by some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

    Fran, the owner of Neon, is one of the friendliest guys you’ll ever meet.

 Dinner:

  1. Amici Italian Grill: Amici is a great choice if you’re looking for quality American-Italian dining. Come here with the whole family and split some of the huge entrees, such as the Mediterranean salad and the veal parmigiana. You’re sure to leave this place feeling stuffed. Reservations recommended.

    Amici Italian Grill

  2. Esca Wine Bar and Restaurant: This is one of the more upscale options in town, with most of the entrees costing upwards of $20. The ambiance is beautiful and classy, and the menu is predominantly Italian fare along with some more continental choices. Go for any of the pasta dishes, especially the ravioli. Reservations recommended. See full article here.

    North Atlantic Salmon at Esca

  3. Mikado Japanese Restaurant: Don’t be discouraged by Mikado’s somewhat hidden location; it’s actually one of the best spots to get high-quality sushi in Middletown. They also offer a good selection of  authentic Japanese hot dishes. If you’re not getting a sushi roll, try the Katsu-Donburi, which is a bowl of rice topped with fried pork, egg, and pickled vegetables. Reservations recommended.

    Spicy Girl Roll at Mikado

  4. It’s Only Natural Restaurant: This is the only all-vegetarian (and practically all-vegan) restaurant in Middletown. We love the interesting atmosphere, which is enhanced by the local art hanging on every wall. Some must-eats are: the sweet potato fries, the pierogies, and the vegan cupcakes, which are made by the owner herself. Reservations recommended.

    It’s Only Natural

  5. Anoho Asian Noodle House: Anoho is your one-stop destination for all things Asian. Their menu ranges from Chinese to Thai to Japanese and offers items including sautéed noodle dishes, noodle soups, sushi, meat- and fish-based entrees, and even dessert. But above all, you must try their Hot Almond Black House Special Blend Tea. It is almond tea with milk, sugar, and almond syrup, and it’s the perfect beverage to warm you up on a cool October evening. See full article here

    Noodle soup at Anoho

  6. La Cantina Café Ristorante: You’re unlikely to find many Italian restaurants as authentic as La Cantina. Don’t come for the ambiance; come for the delicious home-style cooking. Like any genuine Italian dining experience, the portions are big enough to share. The menu is always changing but we’ve never encountered a pasta dish that we didn’t love. Reservations recommended.

    La Cantina

  7. Thai Gardens: This is another Wesleyan favorite. Thai Gardens offers quality Thai food at very reasonable prices. Stick to the classics, like the chicken pad thai.

    Thai Gardens

  8. Mondo Pizza: If you’re in a pizza kind of mood, Mondo is your place—no questions asked. Their brick-oven, thin-crust pies are available to be custom-ordered with a huge variety of toppings. One of our favorite pies is the Oozy Egg, which is  a white pizza made with fresh mozzarella, romano, prosciutto di Parma , egg, and truffle oil. Also, get a plate of eggplant fries for the table. Trust us, they’re worth it.

    Mondo Pizza

  9. Osaka Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar: Osaka is the only place in town to offer Japanese hibachi-style cooking, where a chef prepares your meal on a huge grill right before your eyes. This is an especially fun experience if you’re with children or big groups. Reservations recommended.

    Osaka

  10. Eli Cannon’s Tap Room: A long-time Middletown favorite, Eli Cannon’s is a mix between neighborhood bar and edgy, hip eatery. It’s a great place to grab a drink (their beer selection is renowned throughout New England) and the food is indulgent and delicious. We love the fried pickles, the nachos, and the Big E quesadilla, which is basically a Big Mac disguised in a flour tortilla. Eli’s doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared for a potential wait.

    The Big E Quesadilla at Eli Cannon’s

Sweets:

  1. NoRA Cupcake Company: Even though NoRA opened only a year ago, it’s already established itself as a go-to dessert stop on Main Street. Their cupcake menu changes daily, but always includes fun and unique creations, such as the Irish Car Bomb, a chocolate Guinness cake with Jameson chocolate ganache and Bailey’s cream cheese frosting. They also always offer at least one vegan and gluten-free option. This weekend they’re sure to have some cool, new, autumn-themed selections, so be sure to check them out! See full article here.

    A few of the delicious options at NoRA

  2. Fusion Bakery: Fusion epitomizes the concept of a neighborhood bakery. All their sweets are freshly made from scratch each day and are very reasonably priced considering their quality. You’ll find pastries, cakes, tarts, cookies and everything in between. Some of our favorites are the Italian rainbow cookie cake, the carrot cake, the scones, the cheesecake, the chocolate chip cookies… who are we kidding? Everything is phenomenal. See full article here
  3. Froyoworld Frozen Yogurt Lounge: The trend of self-serve frozen yogurt stores, which is sweeping the nation, has finally arrived in Middletown, Connecticut. Some highlights of Froyoworld’s offerings this weekend include the salted caramel pretzel flavored yogurt, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie flavored yogurt, apple pie compote, s’more clusters, brownie bites, and the Lucky Charm marshmallow toppings. See full article here.

    Some of our personal Froyoworld creations

Unique to Middletown

  1. Zen Roasters: This is the only coffee roaster in Middletown, Connecticut. The folks at Zen Roasters know their coffee and are great at preparing delicious, unique blends. Their location at 180 Johnson Street is about a five-minute drive from Wesleyan, but if you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, you have to check it out. See full article here.

    Zen Roasters roasts all their own coffee

  2. Middlesex Fruitery: This place has been around for almost 100 years and provides a true Middletown experience. Tell the employees what kind of fruit you’re looking for and they’ll hand select a perfect specimen from their barrels of produce. Disclaimer: This fruit can get pretty pricy, but based on the quality and experience, it’s probably worth it.

    Middlesex Fruitery

  3. Jerry’s Pizza: We’re embarrassed to say that we’ve never been to Jerry’s Pizza, but their pies are nationally acclaimed. Their most famous dish is the white Sicilian pizza. Be sure to call ahead for this one though, because it takes an hour and a half for Jerry to perfectly prepare the dough.

    Jerry’s Pizza

  4. Sweet Harmony Café & Bakery: This is one of our all-time favorite Middletown restaurants. The atmosphere is charming and complements their home-style American comfort food. We recommend any of their salads or sandwiches for lunch, and do not skimp out on dessert—it’s the highlight of the meal. Come with a small party and be prepared for a wait because space is limited.

    Cream Puff Cake at Sweet Harmony

  5. O’Rourke’s Diner: O’Rourke’s is probably the most famous restaurant in Middletown. Established in 1941, it has been a Middletown staple for breakfast and brunch. Be sure to try their hash, freshly baked bread, and egg dishes. Disclaimer: There will be a line, so come early or be prepared to wait.

    Eggs Benedict at O’Rourke’s

  6. Tschudin Chocolate & Confections: Featured on Food Network’s “Sweet Genius,” Tschudin Chocolates sells a variety of chocolate creations, as well as several made-to-order baked goods. Their products are top-notch. Whether you’re looking for gifts or simply a chocolate pick-me-up, you have to check this place out.

    Tschudin Chocolate

  7. Eli Cannon’s Tap Room: A long-time Middletown favorite, Eli Cannon’s is a mix between neighborhood bar and edgy, hip eatery. It’s a great place to grab a drink (their beer selection is renowned throughout New England) and the food is indulgent and delicious. We love the fried pickles, the nachos, and the Big E quesadilla, which is basically a Big Mac disguised in a flour tortilla. Eli’s doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared for a potential wait.

    Big E Quesadilla at Eli Cannon’s

    This list is not representative of all the good restaurants in town; it is simply a collection of our favorite eateries to go to with our families. We hope it provides you with some insight on where to eat this weekend. Bon appetit!

    Ari & Alex