It’s Valentine’s Day (this is college, holidays take on the closest weekend, at least according to my friends). So where does one spend a romantic day such as this? Stop mumbling “in a real city” under your breath. I know, it’s reflex. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Middletown is actually the place to be for romance:
Middletown’s allure includes an artful Main Street brimming with elegant restaurants, an award-winning local chocolatier, and the romantic Inn at Middletown, offering the best of New England charm.
In addition to mentioning iconic eateries such as O’Rourke’s and Malloves Jewelers as elements of a dream date here in M-town, there’s this little treat:
Venture past the historic houses on tree-lined College Street to the prestigious Wesleyan University. Take in an eclectic and interesting lecture, a hockey game, or go stargazing at the college observatory.
So, now when you see random couples engaged in PDA’s on College Row, you know what’s going on. This may just be a ploy by the administration to get people to show up at athletics events though.
We’d known about it for months and had been patiently waiting for the episode to air. Finally, it has!
Middletown favorite O’Rourke’s Diner has been featured on The Food Network, on its show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Called “Places You Sent Me,” the episode has about eight minutes devoted to the food and history of O’Rourke’s, including Brian’s unique hash and the local tradition, the steamed cheeseburger.
The show originally aired Dec. 1, but it’ll be shown again on Dec. 21 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time.
Do not watch this video if you are hungry or do not want to be hungry. Your mouth will be watering for the entire 7 minutes and 49 seconds! Or, well, all right… maybe not for the first 20 seconds or so of the guy in red talking at the beginning. Is that some kind of ’90s pop revival?
I went by O’Rourke’s this evening and found it closed (well, closing, Brian was still there). Brian asked if, since they are still having trouble getting internet going there (and thus are having trouble editing their webpage), the hours could be posted somewhere for students until he finished getting the site up and running.
So without further ado, O’Rourke’s hours of operation:
Monday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM Tuesday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM Wednesday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM Thursday: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM Friday: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM Saturday: 5:00 AM – 9:00 PM Sunday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
My mouth is watering as I write this.
EDIT: On the days that they’re open until 9, O’Rourke’s stop seating people from 3-4:30 for a “sanity break.” Also, if you want to get the “Breakfast with Brian” special, where he just cooks you whatever he feels like and it’s delicious, you have to get there when he’s the one cooking. I was told the best time for that is around 8 or 9am. –Matt
Those of you who have been around Wesleyan long enough to remember and love O’Rourke’s Diner: fear not. Although previous information proclaimed that the beloved diner would reopen February 4 (also known as this past Monday), sources on O’Rourke’s official website forum are now citing next Monday (February 11) as the opening day.
In related news, there was a significant piece in the New Haven Register this past Saturday regarding the story of the diner’s rebuilding. It includes several interesting anecdotes. For one, as it turns out, those students who are feeling nostalgic for last year’s dining will be able to go to O’Rourke’s once it opens and feel a little bit closer to the twin legacies of Mocon and Davenport. The article explains:
“Wesleyan donated booths from the Davenport Student Center and about $30,000 in kitchen equipment from a dining hall being renovated, said Jeff Bianco, the architect who designed the rebuilt interior.”
And in the context of Middletown nightlife, the article also notes,
“O’Rourke has big plans for the new O’Rourke’s that include opening for dinner three nights a week, late nights on Fridays and Saturdays and adding live Irish music sessions on Monday nights.”
For the rest of the piece, go to http://www.nhregister.com and search for “O’Rourke’s Diner.” Or to get your news straight from the source, hit up www.orourkesdiner.com
On my run over the bridge this morning, I went past O’Rourke’s, and to my surprise and delight, what did I see, but no more plywood over the windows! I caught Brian O’Rourke outside in his trademark white apron and congratulated him on the rebuilding.
But the best part? Brian says O’Rourke’s Diner will be open in about two weeks! Prepare your stomachs, everyone! And check the O’Rourke’s Diner website for more information.
Freshmen and sophomores who may never have experienced the palate-pleasing joy that is O’Rourke’s: don’t pass up the opportunity to have a delicious breakfast when this gem reopens!
Brian tells us that the anticipated date to reopen is Monday, February 4th!! He also hopes to have extended hours into the evenings, ie dinner, on Thursdays thru Sundays! Spread the word!! Donations still very much welcome!!
Photo from roadfood.com. Check out their site for reviews and many mouth-watering photos of Brian’s dishes.
Saturday’s Breakfasts with Brian at Weswings just aren’t enough? Well, you’re in luck. The Coppertop Grill (344 Main Street) is serving O’Rourke’s breakfast every Tuesday-Friday from 7am-11am, and on Sundays with slightly later hours. This was covered a while ago in the Argus, but I was told to spread the word!
Brian O’Rourke will be cooking up breakfast at The Coppertop Bar and Grill on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. “Most people eat breakfast; people don’t often have breakfast,” he told The Middletown Press.
One of the dishes on the traditional Irish menu is called the “Dubliner.” It is an omelet that contains corned beef hash and Irish cheddar served with Irish bacon, fingerling potatoes and O’Rourke’s famous Irish soda bread. According to the menu, the omelet is one of the most popular items.
Another breakfast entrée is an apple and brie omelet topped with mango preserves and served with a scone and a potato dish called colcannon. People can also try the “Irish Gallway” dish, which is poached eggs over grilled brown bread with smoked and imported salmon, bacon and hollandaise sauce.
Tomorrow (Sunday, January 20), there will be a special family-style breakfast.
The response to Mr. O’Rourke’s plight has been heartwarming. Volunteers – many of them students from Wesleyan University – helped to demolish damaged portions of the diner’s interior last fall. Others set up a website and helped to organize fundraisers (the next one is tentatively scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day; check www.orourkesdiner.com for details).
Business and renovation plans are in the works. Later this month, Xavier High School will donate proceeds from a basketball game to O’Rourke’s. City hall and the chamber of commerce have lent their support, too.
Donations of cash have surpassed $140,000, according to Jane McMillan, the attorney whose Middletown firm set up a trust for the diner. Ms. McMillan said the donations, from businesses, doctors’ practices and about 300 individuals, are still flowing at a steady rate, pushing the campaign toward its $350,000 goal (a figure that includes the value of donated labor and materials).
One of those nights that Xue was referring to that Brian O’Rourke will be doing dinner at WesWings is tonight. The dish is “Seafood O’Rourke” which is apparently shrimp and scallops over pasta, but fancier. More info under “specials” at www.weswings.com