For weekend breakfast or lunch, Rosemary & Thyme in Stonington is a great option
Is a restaurant really a restaurant if it is only open 10 hours a week?
Unequivocally yes in the case of Rosemary & Thyme, the Saturday- and Sunday-only breakfast and lunch spot in Stonington’s Velvet Mill. Matt and Anna Tscheulin opened it in late October, when, after a highly acclaimed nine-year stint in Newport, R.I., they decided to scale back when they bought a home in North Stonington.
Their Velvet Mill eatery serves the most delicious breakfast and lunch bagels, plates and sandwiches, but it is only open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Honestly, everything is so good it’s hard to tell you what we liked best. Even our non-carb eater indulged in some bread. They do bake some sweets and the cornbread in-house, but not the sourdough, baguettes and Cubano rolls that they build their sandwiches on. Anna Tscheulin told us they're baked on Cape Cod and delivered the days they are open.
The French Quarter ($8) was a top contender in our favorites category. Over the course of two visits, we sampled seven offerings and would order every one of them a second, third or fourth time.
Rosemary & Thyme starts the French Quarter with a thick slab of grilled cornbread that’s been covered with a generous schmear of mango-pepper jam, topped with a heap of caramelized onions, crowned with two eggs over easy, and dusted with fresh herbs and sliced scallions. This monstrosity requires a fork and knife to eat, and the flavor is sweet and savory to perfection. And like everything on the menu, it comes on a pretty plate.
Also tough to beat was the Breakfast Tartine ($10). Served on an everything bagel smothered with guacamole, sliced tomatoes, red onion, baby arugula, and topped with over-easy eggs, it was another one our favorites. But truth be told, we liked them all, and depending on individual palates, they all accrued high ratings.
The TBLT ($10) is so big you’ll need two hands and an empty stomach to finish it. It’s smoked turkey and applewood bacon (the owner told us they season the bacon themselves), guacamole, tomato, and romaine stacked between two slices of that 10-star sourdough bread. It came on a tin tray, each half of the sandwich wrapped in pretty blue and white checked paper, and was served with potato chips.
The Fancy ($9) is two over easy eggs, apple wood bacon, guacamole, and extra sharp cheddar cheese on sour dough. Like everything else, it was sinfully good. How can you go wrong when there's cheddar, bacon and guacamole on sourdough bread?
And how about this combination? The Pressed Havana Cuban ($10) was layered meats — mojo roasted pork loin, ham, genoa salami — with Swiss cheese, house pickles, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, all pressed in a Cubano roll.
After our first visit, I was curious about rumors that Rosemary & Thyme had moved from Newport and quickly found confirmation. There was a story on NewportRI.com on Aug. 1 which in part reported that the owners wanted to slow down — they had been working 14-hour days — and that they were buying a home in Connecticut.
But it was the praise the Newport restaurant garnered that got me, winning awards for the best sandwiches and best muffins and comments from customers about how much they enjoyed their food and how sad they were that Rosemary & Thyme was closing.
Anna Tscheulin stopped at our table the second time we visited the Velvet Mill eatery and, in response to questions, told us they’re happy being open just two days, and maybe in time, they won’t even have a restaurant at all. They may prepare baked goods, like they did in Newport, and sell them from a farm stand they are thinking about at their North Stonington home.
So, I say, hurry up and visit their place in the Velvet Mill, which is not your typical restaurant. It’s a walk-up window where you order, with four tables out front overlooking Velvet Mill vendors and activity. It appears they do a lot of take-out as well.
Here are a few other options so you can plan ahead if you intend to go: The Croque Madame includes ham, gruyere, and bechamel on a grilled croissant and is a frequent special; Marsala grilled pears, crispy prosciutto, French brie, caramelized onions, seasonal greens, and balsamic vinaigrette on a baguette comprise the Brie & Pear; and the Parisian brings soft scrambled eggs, wilted baby spinach, sautéed mushrooms, Boursin cheese, and arugula on grilled sour dough. All sandwiches are $10 or under. You can also get a bagel for $3 or dress it up with date and honey cream cheese, crispy prosciutto, fig compote, caramelized onions and arugula, for $8.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Stonington/Mystic/Westerly is fortunate to have an abundance of very good restaurants, and Rosemary & Thyme is one of them.
Rosemary & Thyme
The Velvet Mill, 22 Bayview Ave., Stonington
Find them on Facebook, Instagram and their website.
Atmosphere: It's a walk-up window, but their seats offer a great perch for people- and pet-watching. Leashed dogs are welcome at the Velvet Mill's Saturday farmers market.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Prices: The most expensive thing on the menu is $10.
Credit cards: Yes
Handicapped access: The Velvet Mill is sprawling, but there are access points that are handicapped friendly.
What else: The Velvet Mill is repurposed industrial space. It was really once a velvet mill. Today it houses small shops, secondhand dealers, a brewery, artisans and craftsmen, eateries and more. At this time of year, the Stonington Farmers Market is conducted there on Saturday mornings.
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