RJ Julia X Wesleyan, and Grown in Middletown


Thanks to a genius collaboration between RJ Julia and Wesleyan University, Middletown finally has its very own independent bookstore. In a mammoth space on Main Street, you’ll find everything RJ is famous for: a stellar selection of reads, including the go-to “staff selections”, plus an appealing lineup of gifts, cards and Wesleyan garb. In a sense, Middletown now has an anchor: a destination shop that is a welcome and needed addition to downtown.

As a granddaughter of a bookseller (Biblo & Tannen of NYC), bookstores are my happy place. As soon as I could, I raced up Route 9 to see for myself. After I perused the books on my summer reading list (David Sedaris’ new tome and Anita Shreve’s The Stars Are Fire) I paused for a bite at Grown, the restaurant installed in the front of the shop. Coffee every which way is available, but this is no standard bookstore cafe. Grown is a growing chain of organic, healthy, delicious, and (dare I say) brilliant fast food. Order a ginormous salad, or choose from a list of proteins, and add a couple of sides. I opted for the salmon, grilled on the spot, with sides of yummy Mexican corn and asparagus. My accessory stomach for this jaunt was my daughter’s boyfriend, and I was envious of his sauteed shrimp with a cilantro lime sauce, garlic brussels sprouts and rice. I don’t know about you, but this is the way I’d like to eat every single day: simple and fresh, with a delightful team dishing it up. It wasn’t exactly cheap ($17 for shrimp and $18 for salmon, or available family style for $48) but the portions are large enough to skip dinner (I did!). Salads at $11 are available with or without protein or opt for a meal-replacing smoothie or freshly squeezed juice. Adding a destination restaurant to a destination bookstore bodes very well for Middletown. Just hoping the Grown team will consider the Shoreline for their next location!

Find the Wesleyan RJ Julia in Middletown on Facebook here. 413 Main Street.


RJ Julia photo credit above: Wesleyan University, Olivia Drake