Restaurant Review: Café Ology

by Rachel Finkelstein and Daniel Meyer, Restaurant Reviewers

With the high turnover of restaurants occupying the space of 129 Church St. (also known as the building on the corner across from High Rise), we were not expecting much from Café Ology, the location's third incarnation since our freshman year. During its time as Giuseppe's, we looked to New Haven to satisfy our pizza needs, and in the Cozy Corner II era, the building was shadily closed for so long that we just assumed it was a mob-front. Thankfully, a restaurant deserving of our Middletown Cash, and maybe even real money, has moved in, hopefully to stay.

Leased last October by its new owners, Jerry Windsor and Christine Bishop, Café Ology is finally the cozy neighborhood place that Cozy Corner II never accomplished. Windsor and Bishop are incredibly friendly. Besides taking the time to explain the menu, Windsor showed us how to work the handheld “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” game that was sitting on our table when we got there (lots of the tables have games). The restaurant seats about 20 and includes a small nook in the corner with a couch, an armchair and a pile of newspapers and magazines. According to Windsor, the wireless at Café Ology is more reliable than many of the Wesleyan houses on Church Street, making it a worthwhile substitute for (and much cheaper option than) Pi Café at least for students in the High Rise/Low Rise neighborhood. Café Ology opens in the morning and features the full assortment of coffee and breakfast pastries.

After peeking at Raymond's answer to a first grade biology question, we ordered a large bowl of crab bisque (only $3.25, and way better than any soup you can get at Wes) and a large pizza ($15), half white clam and half snowball (the spinach and ricotta pie that was a Giusseppe's perennial favorite). While the pizza is advertised as “thin New York Style,” it was not quite Grimaldi's/Lombardi's/John's/Franny's/Ray's Original/Original Ray's/whatever New York pizza you'll surely be eating when you move to Brooklyn after graduation, but it was much better than Giuseppe's, and certainly welcome to Middletown's lackluster pizza scene.

If you do make the long trip down Church Street to Café Ology, be sure to order one of the Avery's Sodas, sparkling, neon-colored drinks whose flavors and names were conceived of by children in New Britain. We can highly recommend the Kitty Piddle (just say “yellow”) and Dog Drool (just say “pink”). If you aren't in the mood for pizza, there are also 12” grinders ($5.25), salads, soups, daily specials and of course Chocolate Fondue for Two ($7.95).

At Café Ology, the food is good and cheap, the space warm and homey, and the owners too pleasant not to meet. If for no other reason, stop by to solve the “Mind Bender of the Day.” (A correct answer gets you a $1 discount.) What did the man fill the empty barrel with to make it lighter? You'll just have to go to Café Ology to find out. Needless to say, we paid full price for our dinner.

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