2Cafe 2Rundown: The Emporium Strikes Back*

22 Jun

386 Main street, Middletown, CT

Main Street Market

860-346-1200

Website and Facebook

Monday – Thursday: 8am-8pm;  Friday and Saturday: 8am-9pm; Sundays: 9am-7pm

The Gobbler wrap (turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, sprouts), $7.95

Tiramisu crepe with coffee ice cream, $6.95

Size comparison... nom.

The Emporium only opened a few years ago but it has rapidly gained popularity.  This is probably because they’re open when you’d like them to be open (7 days a week), they’re located conveniently in the middle of Main street, their aesthetic is carefully crafted not to scare away young urban professionals who want to be perceived as cool OR old people, and they are still serving crepes several hours after Javapalooza has stopped.  And most importantly, they serve good fare at standard prices.

Like Brewbakers, the Emporium has some interesting sandwiches, salads, snacks, and desserts on its menu.  They also offer a make your own sandwich option and specials, which they are great at updating.  On my table there was one of those little thingies that you scan with your cell phone offering daily text message alerts about the specials.  The icecream is made locally, as are most of the jams, candies, and crafts in the marketplace section.  The restaurant is definitely vegetarian friendly but vegan is a little tough to find (most likely because It’s Only Natural is down the hall and it’s not worth competing).  I definitely object to the fact that sandwiches come with chips and substituting a side salad costs like $4 extra.  Not cool, dudes–have you heard about our obesity problem?   *cough*  And the salad wasn’t even worth it.  *cough*  Also, the menu organization is a little wonky.  Why not just have a sandwich section and a salad section as opposed to “Craves” and “Classics”?  But what do I know? 

Best stuff on the menu: Breakfast crepes (almost all of them are $5.50 or less!), the Tiramisu crepe (pictured), Italian Love Affair crepe (classic with nutella and fruit),  Citron shrimp crepe (grilled shrimp, avocado, lemon), the Gobbler wrap (pictured), and the curried chicken salad, which they use in the Chicken Curry Craze wrap (curried chicken salad, mango chutney, dried cranberries, and greens).  Tap water is conveniently available on the center table.  The coffee is coffee and the tea is nothing special unless you’re really like it flavored (the fact that it’s loose leaf is deceiving).  The marketplace items tend towards delicious.    All in all a good selection.  See the full menu here.

Student Discount: No

Middletown Cash: Yes

Price: Pretty standard, if not relatively low for certain items like the breakfast crepes and eggs.  Portions aren’t big enough to expect leftovers, though there’s a chance if you order a wrap.

Service: Prompt but impersonal.

Atmosphere: On the yuppie side.  Though more than half of the space is taken up by the market area and the kitchen, there is still an excessive amount of room.  The wooden tables and decor are nice, and there are some stylish furniture items in the elevated area with the leather couches, which are nearly always occupied…  There’s nothing not to like about it, but there’s nothing to love about it either–it strives for an inoffensive vibe.  I can’t help but think about how well the same enormous space could work as a slightly younger crossover coffee house/bar/music venue, like Tryst in DC.

WiFi: Free!

I’d feel a little odd just sitting in the Emporium working on my laptop, reading, or hanging out for a long time with friends.  Maybe it’s different in the mornings, but it doesn’t feel much more chill than a standard restaurant.  I’d go for lunch and dinner because the crepes and wraps are great; I’d also take a friend or date for an affordable meal/dessert crepes and some browsing around the marketplace.


*It may be episode V, but it will always be The Second StarWars Movie to me.

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