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Jan 3, 2009 03:31 PM

Is O'Rourke's in Middletown, CT worth it?

They had this place on tv the other day. I am sure there are lines now. I have always wanted to check the place out? Is it worth it? Thanks!

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  1. Used to be fun and good, years before the fire. The place has become sooo full of itself. The past four visits I've experienced poor & surly service, agonizing waits, sloppy inconsistantly prepared food and indifferent gloppy presentation. I've called it quits and sadly won't go back. Great memories of the olden days though

    6 Replies
    1. re: Big Fat Moe

      I heard the same exact thing from a couple of pre-fire regulars.

      1. re: Big Fat Moe

        My Dad used to go there back in the day when he went to Wesleyan. He said it was much better back then but i still had to try it. Let me tell you for a diner make sure you bring some extra cash cause wow expensive. The fact that you have to wait outside is crazy i wouldnt do it even if you paid me. The service is very hit or miss and the menu is almost too big for me. I would say yes its worth it just cause its been on TV which is cool. But i will not be going back

        1. re: bmgsmg72

          Just curious--how can you define the service as "hit or miss" if you've only been to O'Rourke's once? Based on your ONE experience, it was either a "hit" or a "miss"--so which was it?

          1. re: kattyeyes

            yes ive only been once, But the time i went my girlfriend and I actually had 2 servers cause we started out of the counter then moved to the booth when it opened up. The guy at the counter was not very helpful and seemed very busy. but when we moved to the both we had this girl and she was able to help us out better. So that is how i say the service is it or miss hope it answers your question.

            1. re: bmgsmg72

              Got it--thanks. Not to say service isn't important--it absolutely is. But I didn't hear you or anyone else who complained say one word about the food. In your opinion, was that a "miss" as well? I've eaten a number of different breakfasts and lunches there almost weekly for several months running and don't get what's NOT to love. Do tell.

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Well i would say price is a huge factor for me in going out to breakfast. I just can not see spending a lot of money for it. [note: i cannot comment on the lunch cause ive have not eaten it]. I would almost rather take my chances at dennys. But as for the food i would say the menu is just too big for me. The home fries were soggy i like mine crispy so its really a matter of choice there. The bread that they gave at the start of the meal was great. I just ended up getting pancakes and bacon an home fries cause i did not feel like spending all the money on an omelet. The bacon was cold and basically fell apart i like thick applewood smoked bacon only place ive seen it is at TPC River Highlands.[ Actually if you ever get to try one of their brunches like they are having one on mothers day coming up the bacon there is amazing.] The Pancakes were nothing special i could go to dennys and get something similar. Overall for a breakfast place just too expensive. I would say though i do get a kick out of people waiting in the winter time when its like 15 degrees out and snowing to get some breakfast.

      2. Yes, there are lines, but it is definitely worth it. If you're an early riser, you can tend to beat the lines if you get there before 7:30 or so. And if you don't mind sitting at the counter, you can usually get a seat a bit faster. Brian's menu is a book of highly creative omelets, eggs and French toasts. Breakfast always starts off with a sample of his freshly baked breads (lemon poppyseed and orange spice, for example). In fact, last time I was there, one of the waitresses came around with a giant paddle with batter on it and spoons for people to sample it. How fun is that? Samples tend to get passed (sometimes by Brian personally) throughout breakfast. I've had puff pastry filled with raspberry preserves, pistachio bread and outrageously buttery pound cake. I realize everyone has a different experience, but I have consistently received great, friendly service by a variety of different waitstaff there. In fact, my favorite waitress there is downright funny. She chides people who don't finish what's on their plate (which is definitely a feat--these are not light meals by any stretch of the imagination). I am thrilled Brian is back. I love his soda bread, his Huevo O'Rourke, Eggs with Black Beans and Santa Fe Eggs...and I could go on and on. If you saw O'Rourke's on "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives," it's because so many people wrote to Guy to recommend it, he had to check it out...or so he said at the beginning of the show. So ends my love letter to O'Rourke's. I'm proud this place is such a landmark in my hometown. Hope you enjoy when you visit!

        1. In my opinion O'Rourkes is the best breakfast in the state by far. Yes the lines are long, but I always feel my wait was worthwhile upon completion of my meal.

          1. I'm ambivalent. They certainly have an extensive menu and everything I've ever had there pre and post fire has been very good. One good thing about the fire is that the place is now clean. Gave me the willies before.

            You ask is it it worth it? I live in Middletown and don't go very often. I do think they are a bit pricey for a diner. Also, I hate to wait in line for anything. I wouldn't wait in line to witness the Second Coming. So I will only go during the week for breakfast, not a weekend, and not at any other busy time. Also, for lunch I will aim for before noon or after 2pm. BTW, waiting means you're outside on the sidewalk just a few feet away from noisy traffic. Weather can be a factor, too.

            I would say, though, you definitely have to try it. It is an experience.