The Monkey Farm Café (Old Saybrook, CT, U.S.A.)

My great-great-aunt lived in Old Saybrook for her whole life and, according to family lore, she never touched a drop of alcohol. In homage to her, we always joked that she spent countless days tossing back brewskis in the town’s local bar, The Monkey Farm Café. In addition to serving alcohol, it also serves traditional American fare. As I frequently visited it during my childhood, I returned on March 30 to see if it retained its original luster.

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My significant other, Ms. R, and I stopped by for dinner. She went with an eight ounce cheeseburger and a side of onion rings as a substitute for fries. I ordered teriyaki chicken tenders. We both ordered water, although there was a large selection of beer on the menu. I should mention that the beer was only available in bottles; there are no beers available on tap.

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When our food arrived, we were disappointed. Ms. R’s order was not fulfilled; they had served fries and ignored her onion ring order. When the waiter was alerted to the mistake, she made no apology, and was very slow to rectify the situation. It may have been a busy Friday night, but that was no excuse for lacking an apology. My teriyaki chicken tenders were decent, but absolutely soaked with far too much teriyaki sauce. Ms R. said that the burger was “average.” 

In doing research for this review, I took a gander at the Yelp page and I was shocked with what I found. Laura Corning, the General Manager since 1992, was replying to negative reviews of the establishment in defensive, grammatically-challenged diatribes. In responding to a complaint of cleanliness, she wrote:

Unfortunately the public people are somewhat disgusting at times and We agree some may give off strange odors, something we have no control over.

In response to accusations of drug use and sexual activity being performed in the parking lot, she replied:

As for what you may have witnessed in our parking lot only reflects your poor tastes. Yelp should not be the place for your drama.

Replying to a complaint about a “loud group of rude guys bragging about abusing women,” she commented:

Why on earth would you go to a bar if you have virgin ears…Get a life

At one point, she even claimed, “Our establishment is 100 times cleaner & friendlier than any other business on the shoreline.” 

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While it is great to see such loyalty from someone working for 26 years at the restaurant, this is simply unprofessional. Rude as some of the Yelpers may be, Ms. Corning should be the bigger person–and perhaps realize that some of their critiques may have validity. Based on our experience, perhaps the General Manager should spend less time managing social media and more time managing her restaurant.

The Monkey Farm Café of my childhood is gone. And with no beer on tap and credit cards not allowed, I doubt I will spend much of my adulthood here. From unresponsive waitstaff to an unprofessional general manager, this restaurant needs improvement. One could write this off as “just a bar,” but given given its visibility in town and that 2018 is its 50 year anniversary, this restaurant should to be held to a higher standard. Given its past, this is not out of reach–but it will take hard work.

>> Tasteless <<  |  Bad  |  Okay  |  Good  |  Tasty

Name: The Monkey Farm Café
Phone +1 (860) 388-4866

Credit Cards? No
Apple Pay [?]? No
Bathroom? Yes
Reservations? Yes
Take out? Yes
Delivery? No
Wifi? Yes
Outside seating? Yes
Wheelchair friendly? No
Alcohol? Yes
Dogs allowed? ???
Bike parking? Yes
Car parking? Yes

Date night? No
English-speaking staff? Yes
English menus? Yes
LGBTQ friendly [?]Yes
Information updated on: April 18, 2018
Prices [?]: $ $ $ $

Monday: 09:00 – 01:00
Tuesday: 09:00 – 01:00
Wednesday: 09:00 – 01:00
Thursday: 09:00 – 01:00
Friday: 09:00 – 02:00
Saturday: 09:00 – 02:00
Sunday: 11:00 – 01:00

Address (Korean) Not available
Address (English) 571 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, 06475 U.S.A.