WALLINGFORD — To owner and chef Amy Fortin, Center Street Luncheonette is more than just home cooked-style meals and freshly brewed coffee.
“I had always dreamed of opening a restaurant,” Fortin said. “I was an alcoholic and didn’t really know what I was doing other than I knew that God had a better plan for my life.”
Fortin quit drinking and opened the restaurant in 2013. Less than a year later she met her husband, David Fortin, maintenance director at the restaurant.
“I just wanted to help out and be part of it,” David Fortin said of his wife’s restaurant.
What started as another breakfast and lunch restaurant grew into a popular eatery with lines out the door most weekends.
“I had never worked in a restaurant before,” Amy Fortin said. “I learned how to cook that day and that’s how it started.”
The menu consists of eggs, pancakes, french toast, burgers and other breakfast and lunch classics, including corned beef hash made from scratch.
Locally sourced beef is ground up, seasoned and cooked at the restaurant. An entire day is devoted to preparing 150 pounds of hash to serve throughout the week.
“It’s the best place for breakfast,” said April Ancona, a regular customer and Wallingford resident. “Everything is consistently good, the eggs are always fluffy and it’s just a nice atmosphere.”
Artwork and decor line the sunny yellow walls along with family memories like a framed embroidered “Home Sweet Home” sign created by Amy Fortin’s late grandmother.
“This all started with decorations from my own kitchen,” Amy Fortin said of the influence. “This is where I would spend most of my time.”
Over the last five years Amy Fortin said she has had several memorable moments, such as the day she closed the restaurant to get married. The biggest moment, however, was when she helped a customer’s family throw a surprise 70th birthday party at the restaurant.
“The gentleman’s face when he walked in here and saw all of his family members surprising him, that was a moment,” she said. “The things that stick with me are people related.”
Moving forward Amy Fortin said she is hoping to become more involved with the community. Starting next week the restaurant will be collecting new underwear for the Columbus House shelter in town.
More information can be found by calling 203-269-3447