Tell Me Something: Susan Devlin talks breakfast and inspiration

Susan Devlin of Muddy Waters Café in New London loads up a large meatball grinder for an eagerly awaiting customer as hungry patrons line up to sample grinders from area restaurants during the lunch time rush at the Grinder is King Festival on Custom House Pier in New London in September.

Muddy Waters Café co-owner Susan Devlin was born and raised in New London, the third of four girls. Devlin worked as a courier for Federal Express for 14 years and loved it, but left when her identical twin daughters started kindergarten and she could not juggle long hours on the road. She then worked at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in patient transport and EKG. When Devlin met her husband Barry Neistat, Muddy Waters Café was born in 2004. The café was recently recognized by the city's Economic Development Commission for their "significant role in fostering the economic development of New London" and received a certificate of appreciation from City Council President Michael Passero. When she's not running the eatery, Devlin enjoys working out at SECT Crossfit three or four times a week.

Say you have a modern-day high school locker. Whose picture would be hanging in it?

A picture of my husband, Barry, my daughters and our two Airedales .

What's your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

My favorite breakfast is spicy sausage and cheese omelette, homefries made with onions and garlic with dark toasted farm bread and lots of butter. And coffee.

What do you usually have for breakfast?

I usually have six egg whites with mushrooms and spinach. And coffee.

What's your favorite Beatles song?


You're locked in a museum for a night, which one would it be?

Museum of Sex, New York City.

What was the first movie you remember going to?

We went to the drive-in a lot as kids, but I don't remember what movies we saw there. But I do remember going to see "Rocky" with my sister.

What's your favorite old photograph of New London that you have hanging in Muddy Waters?

My favorite picture at Muddy Waters is not that old. It was taken in 2000. It's a picture of my daughters sitting on the front steps of Hughie's Restaurant and my dad is walking out to see them.

Name an item you can't live without:

I couldn't live without my cell phone, it has my phonebook, pictures, music…

Item you should live without and keep meaning to get rid of:

Not sure what I need to get rid of. Maybe I need to clean out my closet.

What is your favorite coffee drink?

Sumatra coffee, extra cream, no sugar.

Who is your favorite comedian?

I think Kathleen Madigan is very funny.

Last book you couldn't put down:

I loved Wally Lamb's " She's Come Undone" and Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" but nowadays it's usually a cookbook. I'm always looking for a great new special for Muddy Waters.

You're a DJ at a club. What's the night's last song?

It would be something techno to keep everyone pumped up so they can't wait to come back.

Apart from the Love Salad of course, what is your favorite dish that features garlic?

I would have to say shrimp scampi. Tough one. I love so many foods.

What language do you wish you could instantly speak?


What do you sing in the shower?

I don't sing in the shower but I always sing in the car to whatever is playing on Spotify.

What's a word you can never spell correctly on the first try?

When I write "pasta fagioli" or "Reuben" on the specials board I always have to check my spelling.

You have a time machine and tickets to a show. What are you going to see?

"The Ed Sullivan Show"

Which book, television show, movie, or theatrical production most accurately depicts life working at a café?

Muddy Waters is like "Cheers" - we know most of the regulars by name. And many of them have become friends.

Which is better: Saturday night or Sunday morning?

Saturday night. Sunday mornings are very busy at Muddy Waters.

Coffee or tea?

I love coffee, especially after a wonderful dinner.

Sorbet or ice cream?

Ice cream, of course! I love hot fudge sundaes. You never hear, "We all scream for sorbet!"

Anagrams or palindromes?

Palindromes. I think it's cool that "racecar" spelled backwards is "racecar."

Pick a number between 12 and 88? Why that number?

18. I could legally drink, and I was able to vote.

What historical event would you like to have been witness to?

The inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

What is your favorite place in Connecticut to recharge and/or find serenity?

The Norwich Inn and Spa.

Whom alive today do you most admire?

I could not say one person. I always admire anyone who goes from rags to riches and doesn't forget where they came from. Or anyone who overcomes adversity, like when I see amputees running marathons or playing football, soccer, or the people in the Boston Marathon bombing who lost limbs and are running again.

Tell Me Something is a quirky Q&A that appears Mondays on and Have a suggestion for someone we should profile? Email Stephen Chupaska at


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