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 Rebuilding O'Rourke's?

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Michael Hoffman

  • Total Posts: 17801
  • Joined: 7/1/2000
  • Location: Gahanna, OH
Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Sun, 10/1/06 11:49 AM (permalink)
Middletown diner looks to rebuild after fire
Mark Zaretsky, Register Staff

MIDDLETOWN — For 60 years, O’Rourke’s Diner has been this city’s heart and soul, one of its most famed and far-reaching icons and one of the best things ever to happen to its communal stomach.

But in the month since an early-morning fire scorched the diner, which was uninsured, even some of its most ardent boosters have been surprised by the passionate outpouring of support from the community for a rebuilding effort.

    • Total Posts: 3175
    • Joined: 8/15/2005
    • Location: Ipswich Ma
    RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Sun, 10/1/06 9:23 PM (permalink)
    I am sorry that I've never darkened his doorway. With the out pouring of support from the local community at all levels it seems destined to rebuild and begin a new era. Then again I fell sorry for Brian, he might have been enjoying his untimely retirement and is compeled to back to work. Whatever his decision is I wish him luck, and would make it a point to visit when in the area. Chow Jim

      RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Tue, 10/3/06 8:15 AM (permalink)
      I only made it to O'Rourke's one time and I couldn't have possibly have had a better experience. I had breakfast there and ate an interesting variation of Eggs Benny. But the highlight was sampling the different breads that I was given and then replenished several times. When I was paying to leave, Brian notices my Roadfood book and we started talking about the book and the Sterns. When I mentioned how much I would have liked to have eaten lunch there, so I could try some of his soups, he invited me into the kitchen to see what he was working on. After introducing me to some of the kitchen staff, he had me sample some of the soups. He gave me a cup of all of them and had me sit down at the counter and then asked my opinion on the I am going to tell him how to cook! The whole experience was rather strange, but a lot of fun. It is one of my favorite Roadfood memories.

      Here is hoping Brian gets his restaurant rebuilt and open soon and I'm not the least bit surprised the community is rallying around it the way they have.

        • Total Posts: 630
        • Joined: 12/23/2003
        • Location: Danbury, CT
        RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Tue, 10/3/06 8:43 AM (permalink)
        I beleive there is a fundraiser motorcycle run to benefit O'Rourke this Sunday (Oct 8)but I am having trouble finding the info about it.

          • Total Posts: 630
          • Joined: 12/23/2003
          • Location: Danbury, CT
          RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Tue, 10/3/06 11:49 AM (permalink)
          Found the info:

          From one Middletown landmark to another: Harbor Park Restaurant to hold fundraiser for O’Rourke’s Diner.

          Harbor Park Restaurant is no stranger to devastation; annual flooding, sometimes tri-annual flooding occurs. Therefore, the management and the staff of the restaurant are putting together a fundraiser for O’Rourke’s Diner.

          On Sunday October 8, the restaurant will be holding a “Hogtoberfest” on its first floor patio.

          The event is a bike show and pig roast that will start at noon and run until 10pm. 100% of the ten-dollar admission charge will go to the fund to help rebuild the diner. Manager Kathy Patterson said, “Already the music community has come forward to donate their time and several bands have offered to perform, including Lick, Vivid, Bloomer, and Tony Gabriel.” Patterson also says a raffle with prizes donated from local business will take place.

          The diner, which was devastated by fire in late August, has been a landmark in Middletown for years. Harbor Park owner Frank Maratta said Tuesday, “I feel for the diner and its employees, when you have to shut your business down for even one week it’s hard to start back up, it takes weeks for people to even realize you’re open again. Let alone not having insurance to rebuild. I cannot imagine what Brian must be going through.

          The management of Harbor Park is also asking for donations of goods and service for the raffle. Any bands that might be interested in participating should call Kathy Patterson at 860 347-9999.

            • Total Posts: 82
            • Joined: 1/16/2004
            • Location: not vegas (SW CT)
            RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Tue, 10/3/06 12:16 PM (permalink)

            The foods great, but what kind of businessman doesn't have insurance on his building I suppose he owned the restaurant, because any lending institution would require a mortgagee to be insured.


              RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Sat, 10/7/06 8:07 PM (permalink)
              I just heard about O'Rourke's fire today from his neighbor, who owns the shop down the street, called Little Tibet. I was told that Mr. O'Rourke had to decide on whether to insure the diner OR send his son to college. His son went to college. It's terrible that he had to make a choice at all, but I'm very thrilled to know the local community is doing a lot to support the re-building of the diner. The folks at Little Tibet were just gushing about how helpful Brian had been to them when they set up their Tibetan restaurant and they are doing what they can, to help him right back.

              There's a law firm managing contributions to re-building and you can also sign up for a newsletter that will keep you posted on upcoming events. Here's the link for the page:

              Also, if you have any particular talents in construction, etc., related to re-building efforts, they will welcome the help.

              I wish them all the best! They really had the BEST breakfasts around and they WILL again some day soon!

                RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Fri, 07/20/07 4:41 PM (permalink)
                I was just wondering how the rebuilding of the wonderful O'Rourke's Diner is going. I did look at the website, but it wasn't much help. Anyone know the latest?

                  RE: Rebuilding O'Rourke's? Fri, 07/20/07 5:55 PM (permalink)
                  Here's the update I got from their legal team. I got the info because I contributed to the rebuilding project. If you want to help, you can contact Jane.

                  If we all pitch in we'll be eating breakfast in no time!

                  On behalf of Brian O'Rourke and the Committee to Rebuild O'Rourke's Diner, I would like to share some good news with you. The restoration of O'Rourke's Diner is ready to move ahead with Kronenberger & Sons acting as General Contractor. Brian has obtained a commitment from Webster Bank for financing to assure completion of the project. Kronenberger is working with the subcontractors and volunteers to keep the project within budget. We are also hoping to reduce the loan amount with more contributions of services and cash. Construction should start September 1, 2007 and be finished in November.

                  Jane S. McMillan, Esq.

                  Howard and McMillan

                  Counselors at Law

                  386 Main Street

                  Middletown, CT 06457

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