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Diner review: O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown, Conn.

Pictures from O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, Conn.
Pictures from O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, Conn.
Isabelle Esteves

O'Rourke's Diner


O’Rourke’s Diner is located at the far north end of Main Street in Middletown, Conn. It has been a landmark in the city since it was first opened by John O’Rourke in 1941. Today it is his nephew, Brian, who is the owner/chef of the diner. After suffering a devastating fire in 2006, the diner was restored with the support of the local community in 2008. The diner was not covered by fire insurance and it was feared that it would be gone forever. Luckily, that was not the case.

I have been eating here since I was a child. Breakfast is probably the most popular meal served here and waiting for an hour on a Sunday morning is not uncommon. What is great is that while you are waiting, Brian will often come out with little snacks to tide you over and of course whet your appetite.

In 2008 the diner was featured on the Food Network Show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Many people recommended that Guy come for a visit, including me.

On a recent weekday we decided to go to O’Rourke’s for breakfast. I am in love with their omelets and with the homemade bread that Brian bakes daily. They used to have an omelet called the Triple Smoker that was my favorite but they no longer offer that. I decided that perhaps I could request my own version which is what I did. I had a Swiss cheese and bacon omelet with the addition of their horseradish sauce which is addictive. I chose the wheat toast. Hubby had a simple cheese omelet.

The omelets as usual, were absolutely perfect; no brown just the beautiful yellow color and the toast, amazing. The only weakness I have ever found here are the home-fries which everyone seems to like but I find pedestrian considering the amazing quality of the rest of the food. That is of course, my personal opinion which is very subjective.

Service had its highs and lows, our waitress was the low but luckily for us, another waitress took mercy on us and provided excellent service.

The menu is extensive, eclectic and creative. There is a definite Irish slant and you can get Irish bangers, bacon and soda bread here. If you are going to be in Middletown, this is one place you need to stop. If it isn’t breakfast time, not to worry, the steamed cheeseburgers, homemade French fries and soup are all worth stopping for. People are not waiting an hour in line without a good reason!!