Taste of Manchester: Center Perk

As part of the Taste of Manchester 2014 Marketing Committee, Amy has volunteered to write short features on the participating restaurants and share them via our blog here.This year's Taste of Manchester will be held on Tuesday, May 13th from 5:30 to 9 p.m. See the TOM webpageFacebook page, or Twitter @TastyTownCT (#TOMCT2014) for more information.

When we heard last June that another breakfast and lunch place was opening on Main Street in Manchester, we wondered how it would survive. You see, there are quite a few breakfast and lunch places on Main Street. But the food being served up by sister-owners Kim Barnett and Chrissy Bedrossian, who were raised in town, is not your standard greasy spoon fare, but creative comfort food with a local flair, making Center Perk an exciting and welcome addition to Main Street’s recent revival, and to the Taste of Manchester.

At Center Perk, meats and vegetables are purchased from local vendors and farmers whenever possible, and any baked goods not made in-house are also purchased locally, including breads from Strano Bakery. What are made in-house are gorgeously giant muffins in a wide variety of flavors, like “triple berry” and “banana walnut.” We hear they will be sampling those muffins during the Taste of Manchester, too!

But there's more to breakfast than baked goods. Rather than plain French toast, Center Perk has the “Overnight” version – Texas-toast-sized slices topped with apples, brown sugar and pure maple syrup. Then there are pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and specialties like “Eggs Benedict Florentine,” made with spinach and served with perfectly cooked homefries (or substitute sweet potato homefries!). And that’s just the breakfast menu. 

Eggs Benedict Florentine

Overnight French Toast

For lunch, Center Perk features salads, soups, burgers, dogs and specialty sandwiches. Another patron seated nearby told us that Center Perk generously donated several gallons of “Kimmy’s Chicken Noodle Soup” to a recent fundraiser she attended, and that “everyone was raving about it.” Participants at the Taste of Manchester will have the opportunity to rave about it as well, as this is another of Center Perk's tasting items for that evening.

Daily specials round out the usual menu, with fish offerings on Fridays, special omelet fillings (the “Bacon Lover’s Omelet” looked amazing), or, as we enjoyed on one Sunday visit, berry-filled crepes. The regular coffee is perfect, but cappuccinos and lattes are available, as are a variety of teas, juices and flavors of local Hosmer soda. There is a children’s menu, and of course, great homemade dessert choices. 

Berry-Filled Crepes

Bacon-Lover's Omelet

As far as décor goes, the walls are decorated with historical memorabilia featuring Manchester and Connecticut. Mismatched mugs and china plates, mason jar juice glasses, and dozens of different sets of salt-and-pepper shakers add to the café’s Victorian-sitting-room feel. Seating includes booths, tables and a small counter which looks into the kitchen. 

Center Perk is located at 639 Main Street and is closed on Tuesdays, open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on other weekdays, and open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are busy, so be prepared to enjoy your meal at a more leisurely pace. Their phone number is 860.474.5543. At the time this article was published, their website (www.centerperkct.com) was down, but menus can be found at the links below:

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