USA - Traveler Restaurant, Union, CT
This post is part of the CT bucket list
In Union, Connecticut right off I-84E at exit 74 is delightful little CT gem known as Traveler Restaurant or Traveler Food and Books. In 1970 Marty Doyle opened the restaurant and later on began giving away free books to minimize his collection. When the Murdocks took over in 1993, they apparently put a lot of focus on the free book portion and expanded on it to create what we see today. Today when you visit you can select three free books with your meal.
They have a spacious parking lot with a large greeting sign. It's currently winter so the outdoor seating area is closed but it looks like a nice spot. I haven't asked if the outdoor area is dog friendly so I will update that in the spring when I know for sure. Anna and I have access regardless so it's a little different for us due to her status as a service dog.
Immediately upon entering the restaurant it has a library feel to it. The air smells like old books and there are books lining shelves around the place. To the right there is a stairwell down to an actual book shop where they sell reasonably priced (read: cheap) books.
We came around 3PM EST which appears to be a good time. It's after the lunch rush and the place was fairly quiet. This is ideal for Anna and I because neither of us likes crowds. We took a seat in the corner by a window. With all the fog out today it was a sleepy view that felt quite fitting for a lazy book day.
The menu is fairly traditional American café food. I indulged in the strawberry milkshake and can inform you with enthusiasm that it was well worth it!
One of the lunch specials was a chicken sandwich with avocado and cilantro ranch and a side of fries. We ordered that and an appetizer of potato skins. It was absolutely delicious.
After eating we perused books for about an hour. It took me about that long to settle on what I wanted. I was very excited to find a sailboat book that has diagrams and teaches boating 101 on everything from maintenance to beginning sailing. After a bit I found some spiritual self guidance books that seemed interesting as well.
All in all we spent about 2 hours browsing books and chatting. They have a laid back atmosphere and encourage hanging around. It's different from the typical restaurant with a high turnover rate for tables. You are encouraged to stay and relax.
They also take in used books to offer to other customers. I found this to be a good practice similar to the library. I can get my 3 books and next time I come back if I don't want to keep them I can bring them back for someone else to enjoy. This is a great policy to have in place, especially since I'm a minimalist and don't like to keep too many things at home that aren't used daily.
Over all I recommend stopping by. They have had a lot of publicity in various papers because it's such a unique and novel idea for a restaurant. I think it's well worth it - Prices are reasonable and of course... free books!