32 Main Coffee, East Haddam
Every now and then you come across something that’s just, well, surprising. I didn’t have high expectations when I pulled into the parking lot in back of the 19th century wee yellow house in East Haddam. But the moment I walked in, I knew it was going to be good. Cozy, quirky and antique-strewn, with a line of red stools at the salvaged wood counter, and a blackboard featuring daily specials (in fact the entire menu), it seemed like the perfect stop for lunch. The affable fellow behind the counter poured me a dark and lovely strong coffee. When I teasingly asked for soy milk, he placed a carton of the organic stuff in front of me. Hmmmm. Then I noticed the Kombucha on tap behind him. Kombucha? On tap? In East Haddam? (If you’ve never tried Kombucha, it’s a fizzy tea that tastes a bit like cider and is rumored to have all manner of health benefits from aiding digestion to curing cancer. I don’t know about that, I just like it). And things improved from there! A grilled gooey cheddar, apple and bacon on Fabled Foods cranberry nut bread? Yes, please. And, oh, I couldn’t resist a side of ridiculously delicious homemade hash: chunks of fresh corned beef and delicate bits of potato, griddled just right. So good. Most of the menu fits on the blackboard: egg sandwiches, pancakes and Fabled Foods brioche french toast for breakfast. You can count on a version of grilled cheese, hamburgers, soup and meatball salad for lunch (John, the owner, waxes enthusiastic about meatballs and says the salad is incredibly popular!). Locals pop in for a latte and Dirtbomb (a freshly baked cinnamon muffin) and the town heads here on Monday nights for his famous burger night (currently the only night he’s open). I’m heading back for his specialty, the Paddleburger, a 50/50 blend of freshly ground beef and bacon. Find 32 Main on facebook here.