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RIP O'Rourke's

One of Connecticut's dining treasures, O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, burned down last night. Don't know if they're planning on rebuilding, but don't make plans to visit anytime soon!

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  1. OMG. That's the worst news. I've been trying to get there for ages.

    1. Wow. That really $ucks. Hope they can rebuild.

      1. I grew up down the street from O'Rourke's. That is one of the worst things that I possibly could have heard. I hope Brian and everyone are ok...

        1. That's horrible! I don't get to Middletown that often, but O'Rourke's was always a fav stop. Perhaps the best diner food I've ever had.

          1. A website has been set up to send condolences and memories to Brian O'Rourke (who is fine!), offer to help, and read any updates about whether the diner will be rebuilt.

            The website is at www.orourkesdiner.com and was built by Neil Alan of Pelton's. You can register there and send a story or memory.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Elisa515

              Thanks for the link! I have forwarded it to all my fellow O'Rourke's obsessives. My sister once ate with us and then got back in line to eat with her friends.

            2. Nooooooo! Oh, that's terrible.

              1. Found some post fire photos on Flickr if anyone wants to see them:

                1. A recent Hartford Courant story said:

                  "Another Main Street restaurant that's open only for dinner offered to let O'Rourke do breakfast and lunch there daily, without charging him."

                  If you hear that anything comes of this, please let us Chowhounds know.

                  1. Terrible news...we tried to go there in July, but it was closed for the day, so I never was able to try the place out. I hope they get enough contributions so that they can rebuild.

                    1. i heard about the fire back in august...what terrible news! o'rourke's was and is my all-time favorite diner.

                      i understand that the owners are trying to raise money to rebuild the place...does anyone have an update about this? is there any word on if/when they might reopen?

                      thanks, guys. and thanks to o'rourke's for all the great food and memories.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: surly

                        I sent a rather long post but it doesn't seem to have "stuck." If you'd like an update, go to the website address I posted a few messages above yours and you'll find not only more info but an opportunity to contribute to getting the place back. Apparently they didn't have fire insurance (how????).

                      2. Update from the Hartford Courant: Brian O'Rourke will be cooking breakfast three days a week at the Coppertop Bar and Grill in Middletown.


                        1. Great news! O'Rourke's has reopened, with Brian back in business. Looks like a complete interior renovation on the same footprint. Gee, maybe I shouldn't have told ya until after we've been there! Can guarantee the lines will be long after this delay.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Metermaid

                            went wednesday ~11am for breakfast.. 10 min wait for tables so i took a stool. everyone was friendly, the placed looked great. much more fire code-friendly which takes away a little bit of the ambiance.. still, i'd much rather have a healthy o'rourkes. the coffee was great and my cup stayed full the whole time. waitstaff was in a great mood, great attitutes, except for this one cook who was frustrated with learning the big menu and kept having to check ingredients with brian.

                            i had the 4th degree (3 eggs scrambled with smoked cheddar, irish bacon, smoked bacon and double-smoked bacon, fingerlings & toast). the double-smoked bacon was left out, and i was given home fries instead of fingerlings.. everything was good but training new chefs seems to be a rough task..

                            and no more free bread with breakfast?? seems like they're charging for the bread sampler now (every time i'd gone before it was free- put on the table when you sit)

                            and i wanted a steamed burger, but felt like it's a cursed menu item and couldn't bring myself to eat one.

                            still, a fun breakfast and its good to see em back in business