Many visitors to southeastern Connecticut come to see its quaint towns, the famous Mystic Seaport, the large Mystic Aquarium, historic Fort Griswold and Fort Trumbull, beautiful street art, and the shoreline full of sandy beaches. No matter what activity you choose, starting your day with a hearty brunch and a strong cup of coffee will have you up and ready to go. Come along with me to explore 5 great brunch spots in Connecticut, my home state.
1. Engine Room
Before sightseeing in the historic downtown Mystic, walk directly to the Engine Room for their Sunday morning brunch. Served from 10 am to 3 pm, you can expect a menu packed with delicious options and even order a custom-made Bloody Mary to accompany your meal. Be prepared for at least a short wait because they are very popular. While you wait for your table, I’d suggest heading to one of the antique shops across the street or spotting water birds, such as Osprey, on the Mystic River.
The interior of the Engine Room is incredibly Instagram-friendly, with its brick walls, wooden tables, and open kitchen. It has a great ambiance for a relaxed brunch with friends and family.
Try their Dutch Apple Pancake, which is a light, fluffy pancake topped with caramelized apples and baked in an individual sized cast iron pan. Also, order a side of their flavorful cornbread to share. Trust me, you won’t leave hungry.
Delicious egg sandwich at the Engine Room
2. Noah’s Restaurant
Another day during your tour of Connecticut, you should head to the quaint Stonington Borough to walk the streets where the popular movie “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones was filmed. Can you spot anything familiar? You may recognize Noah’s Restaurant, where some scenes of the movie was filmed. In fact, inside of the restaurant you’ll see a framed photo of Meryl Streep and her autograph.
Noah’s Restaurant is a perfect place for a relaxed, delicious brunch. Look at the art by local artists on display while eating your tasty meal. Try the fluffy blueberry pancakes and a cup of steaming hot coffee.
3. Yellow House Coffee & Tea
Also in Stonington Borough, stop by the Yellow House Coffee & Tea for its cute interior and great bagels. If you’d like to skip a sit down mean, the Yellow House Coffee & Tea is the first place you should head before beating the crowds at the beach or continuing your northeast journey just over the border in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Order a delicious cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and a smooth, coconut ice coffee for the road, or eat it outside while you wander the quaint streets of the Borough.
4. Muddy Waters Cafe
Practically a New London institution, Muddy Waters Cafe is your artsy brunch stop before an afternoon filled with culture. Your mouth will start watering once you enter and see their huge array of freshly baked pastries and smell their brewing coffee.
Whatever you order will certainly be delicious, but I’d recommend a grilled muffin or an egg sandwich on a croissant. Take your order out onto the deck that overlooks the Thames River and watch the ferries come and go.
For your art-filled afternoon in New London, be sure to stop by the Hygienic Art Gallery to see what’s on exhibit, do a self-guided street art walk (you can find a map and more information at Muddy Waters Cafe), and see a show at the Garde Arts Center.
5. La Belle Aurore
I’ve saved the best for last. A farm to table restaurant located in downtown Niantic (a village of East Lyme, Connecticut), La Belle Aurore has the most creative menu of the bunch. From French toast stuffed with fruit, jam, chocolate, or cream cheese, to vegetable hash and eggs benedict, even the pickiest eater will have a tough time deciding what to order.
I’d suggest the French toast stuffed with fruit and cream cheese; the cream cheese melts into the fruit making it ooey gooey, melty, and delectable. It is just too good to miss.
Brunch is served on Saturdays from 8 am to 12 pm and Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm. Arrive early as the restaurant is small and their incredible food makes La Belle Aurore a popular brunch location for locals.
A great way to start the day
Starting your day with a sweet, savory, caffeinated, and local brunch is a perfect way to get you ready for your day of exploring the towns of East Lyme (Niantic), Mystic, Stonington Borough, and New London, Connecticut. Dig into your meal of choice at any of these five brunch spots and you won’t be leave hungry!
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