WALLINGFORD – Nestled at the intersection of Ward and Quinnipiac streets is Sara J’s, where a mother-daughter team cook up everything from breakfast to dessert.
“Our home fries are a meal in itself and we do all different flavors,” said Sara Kenny, manager at Sara J’s and part of the restaurant’s namesake.
Kenny’s brother makes up the “J” in the restaurant started by their mother and restaurant owner Karen Chasse. She opened the eatery over a decade ago with mostly breakfast foods that are still popular today.
“It’s more like home cooking here,” Chasse said. “Our plain home fries are just potatoes and butter — people like them like that.”
While the home fries get a positive response on their own, Kenny said toppings are also popular.
“Pretty much whatever we have back there, we’ll put on home fries for you,” she said.
Varieties include barbeque, buffalo, bacon and cheese, and chili and cheese.
Kenny whipped up a plate of bacon and cheese home fries with a Southwest-style hot dog Wednesday afternoon.
The home-fries are covered in two different cheeses on the grill then mixed with pieces of bacon. The hot dog is split and covered with cheese and topped with grilled onions, jalapenos, bacon and barbeque sauce on a toasted bun.
“We try to stay as small town as possible here,” Kenny said of the atmosphere.
Family pictures can be seen around as well as witty signs and a 1950s style pink diner booth. A case of rainbow swirl cupcakes is displayed in the front case above a marquee light bulb sign that spells “EAT.”
“It started with basic vanilla and chocolate,” Kenny said of her cupcakes. “Now I have over 130 flavors that I rotate through.”
Other popular menu items include “hubcaps,” giant pancakes served with syrup, and bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches.
“We sell those all day,” Kenny said.
The restaurant has several regulars that come in for breakfast right when the doors open at 7 a.m. Every so often people will come off the highway to take a break from traveling and stop in for a meal or a cupcake.
A revamped menu was recently released with different varieties of Sara J’s classic hot dogs, hamburgers and breakfast sandwiches.
“They like the food,” Chasse said. “I’d like to see another 17 years here.”