There are restaurants that have been quietly doing what they do for years without bells and whistles. Unfortunately, these classic spots get overshadowed by the flashy, new eateries on the block. Well, we are always looking for a spot with quality craft beer and legendary Widow Brown’s Cafe delivered.
Widow Brown’s has been in business for 40 years! That’s kind of amazing in this day and age where it feels like places come and go with the wind. We sat down over drinks and a meal to chat with Owner Aura Showah to talk about Widow’s longevity.
Widow Brown’s Is A Local Mainstay For A Reason
“It’s easy to get overlooked,” said Aura. “The competition is fierce.” Sadly, I admit I am guilty of glossing over Widow Brown’s. Opened in 1977, Widow’s has been around pretty much my entire life. It’s just always been there. As a craft beer enthusiast, I’m ashamed, because Widow Brown’s ought to be on my radar.
They have 15 rotating taps (20 total) plus about 22 bottles and 8 cans. You can order flights and that’s exactly how we started our evening. We kept it all local/regional: SingleCut Jenny Says, Kent Falls Hawaiian Brunch, Firefly Toadstool Nitro, and Kent Falls Get More Likes.
Get More Likes is an imperial stout collaboration beer between Kent Falls Brewing and Kinsmen Brewing out of Southington. Widow Brown’s was one of the only spots in this part of the state to have it on tap! JT Wilson, Aura’s son, and the general manager has a close relationship with the guys at Kent Falls. In fact, they brewed an exclusive beer just for Widow Brown’s 40th anniversary … unfortunately, we missed our chance to sample it, ’cause that keg kicked quickly.
After our shared beer flight, JT handed us a sample of NEBCO Spin Cycle. Needless to say, after our interview, we stayed for a full glass of it.
Good Craft Beer with Equally Good Eats
Aura said that people are more sophisticated now when it comes to dining out, “You can’t get away with a frozen patty on the grill. You have to upgrade.” Widow Brown’s seems to be on the right track with that too. CIA grad Joe Hawkes, who grew up eating at Widow Brown’s, became the chef about a year ago. He’s tightened down the menu, keeping the classics but also putting his stamp on things. And now, they make a lot more items in-house like the fresh mozzarella for the flatbreads. In addition to finding higher quality vendors, Joe sources more locally too.
Speaking of menu classics, I highly recommend the French Dip. French Dip has to be one of my all-time favorite “bar food” sandwiches, and this one is probably one of the best around. It was tender and buttery, with a delightful onion au jus.
And, the hearty burgers are nothing to scoff at either. Renato had a straight-up bacon cheeseburger and thoroughly enjoyed it.
While the day-to-day fare is about solid, straightforward comfort food, Widow Brown’s five-course beer dinners are a whole different story. Here, is where they up the ante and go outside their classic comfort food style. Those dinners feature things like duck and crepes with an elevated presentation.
The next beer dinner is scheduled for August 10th featuring SingleCut. The cost is $75 per person with tax and gratuity included. JT said they are working with SingleCut on getting some special limited releases. For ticket info and questions, just give ’em a call at 203-743-7021.
Every Thursday night is Craft Beer Night where from 9 pm to close you pay half price on select draft and craft bottles.
There’s an ease, a comfort if you will when you go to a classic local haunt like Widow Brown’s Cafe. As Aura told us, “This place is special to the area. There’s nothing like Widow’s.”
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. The meal was free of charge. The opinions contained herein are my own and reflect my experience. Your own may differ.
Widow Brown’s Cafe
128 Federal Road, Danbury, CT 06811
Mon-Thurs: 11:30 am to 1 am
Friday + Saturday: 11:30 am to 2 am
Sundays: 11:30 am to 1 am
Photos by Renato Ghio
Sounds great. I love a good French dip and the fact that the chef is CIA trained makes it sound even be5er.
French Dip is definitely one of my favorite sandwiches, ever since I was a kid. Definitely give the one at Widow's a try.