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Old Lyme eatery is a haven for the Hangry

I'll confess, I was nervous as I tiptoed into the Hangry Goose in Old Lyme for what was my second indoor-eating expedition since last March. With the COVID-19 rules (appropriately) still in flux, I wondered: are masks still required? Should I tell everyone I'm happily vaccinated? Does one mask up when speaking to one's server?

Luckily, every server I spoke with at the Hangry Goose was warm, welcoming, and reassuringly masked. I relaxed a bit as I ordered my first hot cup of coffee in months at an eatery and fully chilled out as soon as I sampled the house brew ($2.25), a smooth, nutty, good and hot cup of just what the doctor ordered.

The Hangry Goose serves breakfast and lunch, so I set out to sample a bit from both sides of menu. Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal to enjoy au restaurant, so on that first visit, I dug into a Western omelet ($9.75), one of several featured omelets available or you can create your own. Hangry's Western omelet comes loaded with diced ham, red and green peppers, onions, and American cheese. I asked to hold the onions and received my order as requested. The eggs were cooked to perfection, the fillings generous and properly prepared, and the accompanying home fries were not mere starch placeholders but quite flavorful with satisfying soft-and-slightly-crispy texture.

I filled up quickly, but then again, I did order a side of the house corned beef hash ($4.25), and, holy moly, if you're a breakfast hash person, you must sample Hangry Goose's. Where so many eateries serve up heavy heaps of salty fried beef, which, per my server, often resemble "cat food" more than anything else, Hangry Goose offers a version that is light and crispy and clearly fit for human consumption. The shredded (versus diced) beef probably lightens the load, but I'm chalking up the overall delicious effect to pure kitchen magic. You can also get the hash in an omelet, and that is very much on my to-try-next list.

In another example of culinary wizardry, Hangry Goose's Island Bowl ($7.50), one of two yogurt-bowl dishes on the menu, is absolutely the best I've ever had among its parfait peers. The Island Bowl comes with granola, strawberries and blueberries, and a drizzle of honey over Greek yogurt. I don't know where Hangry is sourcing its yogurt, but it was beautifully creamy, fresh, and not overly tangy. It's a generous portion of goodness—the sum total of which is a delightful, balanced morning meal.

The soup of the day on a recent visit was Tomato Bisque ($4.25; one size and generous), and folks, keep an eye out for this one on the specials board (note: clam chowder appears to be available every day). Where some creamy tomato soups can be dairy bombs in which the tomato takes a back seat, Hangry's presented a very enjoyable balance of tomato-herbal brightness (think summertime-level tomato flavor) with the velvet-y bisque base. Bonus: Croutons floating in the soft orange sea of soup.

One could make a lunch out of just the tomato bisque if one were not tempted by something called a Brunch Burger ($11.75; comes with thick-cut fries; ordered and received cooked medium). This is Hangry's take on a popular iteration of burger in which a fried egg (with runny yolk) perches atop the burger — because who doesn't need more protein in their diet? Of course, Hangry's also includes two strips of bacon, so try and skip breakfast if you sample this very tasty burger which comes served on a delicious (filling) brioche bun. Mine was super fresh and flavorful to the last bite. The accompanying lettuce and tomato kind of fade into the background of all that grilled protein, but it's a nice touch.

I won't call my final item a disappointment, but let's say it was just OK compared to everything else. The lunch menu offers about 10 wraps, and the Ranch Chicken Wrap sounded like a good pick: You've got grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and Ranch dressing all rolled up into a lightly grilled wrap. Each component brought welcome flavor, but they somehow didn't do much for me as an ensemble. My wrap could have been lighter on the dressing and heavier on the veggies, and while the Ranch dressing was tasty and the pieces of chicken breast tender and lightly grilled, the overall experience was a bit of a bore. I paired the wrap with sweet potato fries (available as a side or for a $1.50 up-charge) and, while plentiful, were pretty average on the wow-factor scale.

Will that deter me from returning to the Hangry Goose? Nope. I look forward to cruising through more of the Hangry Goose's well curated menu (avocado toast, anyone?) and many more cups of its coffee.

IF YOU GO

The Hangry Goose

11 Halls Road, Old Lyme (the same space as the former Dock 11 and Morning Glory Café)

860-434-2227

www.hangrygoose.com

Cuisine: Breakfast and lunch classics with some surprises; think omelets, Bennies, club sandwiches, soup and salad, yogurt bowls and more. Definitely check the specials board.

Hours: Monday through Saturday, breakfast, 7-11 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.;
Sunday, breakfast, 7 a.m.-noon

Service: Warm and welcoming

Ambience: Chic but cozy décor with lots of long lines and fun decorative details. Outdoor seating available and very popular

Handicap access: Take the ramp on the left of the building

Prices: On the higher side of modest. Omelets average around $10 (includes home fries and toast); sandwiches run about $11 each (includes fries)

Credit cards: Accepted

Reservations: Not a bad idea to call on weekends

 

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