Last week, I talked about a few of my favorite breakfast places around campus, including Gramma’s Comfort Foods, Monet’s Table and That Breakfast Place. Today, I’ll be chatting about more spots you should check out for brunch and breakfast.
Classic-Close-to-Campus: Toast Four Corners (Storrs)
Toast sits on the corner of the main intersection before you hit campus, hence its name. The charming breakfast and lunch restaurant is a Storrs staple, featuring Huskies merchandise on its walls and tables. With its painted booths and wood interior, the restaurant is casual and cozy, an appropriate setting if you want to dress up a bit for brunch with friends or you’re rolling in with sweatpants. However, because of its versatility and popularity, Toast is usually packed on the weekends, so expect an average wait time of at least 30 to 45 minutes. But who knows, maybe you’ll luck out!
Toast’s well-rounded and reasonably-priced menu works for most occasions which you’d need a solid brunch selection: nursing a hangover with the friends you went out with the night before; your parents are visiting and offered to pick up the check; or even a cute brunch date. The restaurant offers the classic breakfast combos of eggs cooked to your preference with home fries, toast and your choice of meat for as low as $5 and reaching $14 if you want two eggs and an eight-ounce New York strip steak. Toast also offers breakfast sandwiches ($3.75 to $6), variations of eggs benedicts ($10 to $12), omelets ($8.25 to $12), pancakes ($5.25 for two, $7.25 for three), Belgian waffles ($4.95 for one), French toast ($5.95 for two, $7.95 for two), biscuits and gravy ($8.95 with two eggs), grits, chicken and waffles ($7.95) and a respectable lunch menu of mostly sandwiches.
Some of the savory food I’ve tried, like the eggs, homemade hash and home fries are on the blander side, but it’s nothing some salt, pepper and hot sauce can’t fix. Further, the restaurant’s titular homemade buttered toast certainly lives up to its name — cinnamon swirled is my choice, along with the homemade jam they serve it with.
Hidden Gem: Stix N Stones Cafe (Storrs)
Dog Lane is everybody’s cafe choice, which makes sense considering its proximity and charm. However, if you’re willing to make the trek, further down the road is Stix N Stones Cafe, which I previously reviewed as Spring Hill Cafe. The spot was bought by the landscape store it is attached to, but it still retains its expansive menu and high quality food. The prices are comparable or even a bit less than Dog Lane’s — which are, to be honest, pretty pricey for pretty average food. (Every time I try Dog Lane, I tell myself I like it, or maybe I ordered the wrong thing, but now I’m realizing maybe I just don’t like their food too much).
The service at Stix N Stones takes a bit of time, especially if they’re busy, so don’t go there if you’re in a rush (or just order ahead). If you don’t mind the wait, it’s actually really nice to peruse the attached store, which features pretty plants, but also some local products like homemade flavored olive oils and vinegars and homemade soaps and fragrances.
Stix N Stones offers French toast ($9.25 for two slices), pancakes ($10.25 for two), wraps ($6.50), an egg and cheese sandwich ($4.50) with your choice of meat (add $1.50), omelets ($9.50 to $10.25) and slices of quiche ($4.50) for breakfast. Yes, a bit pricey, but I will say their cinnamon maple French toast is pretty yummy and a good size portion; I prefer their lunch options, anyways.
The cafe’s grilled sandwiches are akin to paninis and range from $10.50 to $13.50, served with a pickle and chips and include options like buffalo chicken, pastrami and pulled pork. I’ve tried the caprese with fresh mozzarella, tomato, pesto mayo and balsamic on sourdough ($10.50) and the Bravo Avocado ($11.50) with cheddar, bacon, tomato and avocado with honey mustard on sourdough and both are delicious, although I’m missing the Green Goddess grilled cheese with fresh mozzarella, boursin, avocado, spinach and basil on sourdough. Stix N Stones also offers sandwiches and wraps served on your choice of sourdough, rye, wheat, a hard roll, croissant or gluten-free bread, or a white, wheat or spinach wrap from $9.75 to $12. There are classics like a BLT with mayo ($9.75), or the Henny Penny ($11.50), which sounds suspiciously close to my classic Grab-N-Go order (R.I.P.) with chicken, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch in a wrap. I always tell myself I’ll try the Gobbler ($11.50) with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo for some Thanksgiving festivity at any time in the year, so maybe I’ll order it next time. You can also order salads with similar ingredients as the sandwich options.
And don’t forget to check out the drink specials, from flavored iced and hot coffee to tea, and the beautiful display case of pastries and desserts. I can’t help but be enticed by the croissants — which my friends are similarly enamored with — pies, cookies, muffins, donuts and bread when I’m ordering.
Best Bagels: Bagel Zone (Storrs)
And let’s not forget the beloved Bagel Zone, which is a bit down the road for on-campus students, but worth the trip. It’s a no-frills, but very affordable, bagel shop with an expansive selection of bagels and other breakfast food. It’s currently in danger of closing, so the owners are hosting a GoFundMe and posting on their Instagram for support. Stop by this Storrs staple for a good ol’ toasted jalapeño everything cheddar bagel with butter and consider contributing to their cause.