Road Trips: The Circle Dot Cafe

Road Trips…

The Circle Dot Cafe

How do we come across these things… usually when we are just off the beaten path, headed somewhere, with nowhere in particular! Often before I even ask hubby to turn around for me take a photograph… he’s already turning around, while saying… “Better take a picture of this before it’s gone… this is history.” I enjoy preserving history, even if it’s only through a photograph… as what do we all wish for when we are remembering our childhood… if only we had a picture!


We had been in Newtown, CT. earlier in the day, and in heading home we decided to take a new route, well just because… no sooner than we passed this tiny white-washed cafe called The Circle Dot, we both said, “let’s take a photograph, this place might not be here much longer.” Well, there was hope… the sign did say “Open!” Hubby parked, as I walked up for a closer look; he was more interested in the rusty iconic Roessler’s “Hot Dot” advertising above the building, while I was intrigued with all left inside. My camera and I soon began peeking through the broken window… so much to take in!  (The Circle-Dot is in Monroe, CT.)


I would love to be able to say… I had coffee there once, but that coffee pot on the counter is not going to be serving anymore; this building doesn’t have much “standing” time left! While I loved looking around at what all was left… I could almost feel the ghosts moving about!

As I stood there with my camera pointed in, I thought about all the locals who sat on those stools daily, and most likely… every morning! These small type diners often know everyone who walks through the door, unless someone like me walks in… and then they’re wondering why I’m there… they immediately know I”m not a regular! I often have that feeling when we stop in places that are mostly frequented by the locals.


What quaint “small” tables for two! There’s definitely not much elbow or even seat room in those chairs. I never like tables for two!

circle dot menu

There was no menu left found on the day I discovered The Circle Dot… but in my Google searching, I discovered a food blog, Eating in Translation who had found this very cafe in 2009. Here I am, in the summer of 2017, and the building doesn’t look as if it’s aged too much. I guess between 2009 and 2017… the menu disappeared, but he did give me permission to post his photo. There was a comment left on his post that shed much info on this awesome hot dog stand! This long, gone cafe had a history… I knew I had to write its story… and so!

The original Circle Dot was located in Bridgeport and known as the Circle Dot Ranch. (I have no clue why the “ranch” name?) It was owned by Charles and Olga Mich… they sold it in 1954 and moved to Monroe, Ct., where they built the Circle Dot Drive-Inn; it was the first restaurant in Monroe at the time. They also lived nearby in the small white house located just behind the diner; it’s also still standing today.

This small, out of the way cafe, had many famous patrons pass through its doors during its day, such as… Marilyn Monroe and Wally Cox. After the death of Olga Mich in 1971, a daughter stepped up to help the run the restaurant… in just the same way as her parents had. Due to health reasons, they later retired… and the Circle Dot Cafe hung the “Closed” sign for the last time in 2001.

I’m sure it was a sad day, as the people that frequented this cafe daily, were all family. They walked in, the owner behind the counter looked up… and knew exactly what they were having! Hubby and I have a place we frequent like that, the waitresses know us and what we want. We never change our orders… only when we have one of the granddaughters with us… but they also usually order the same… pancakes with lots of whip cream and strawberries! (the information was written by the granddaughter of the original owners of the Circle Dot Cafe on the food blog of Eating in Translation)


This 50’s style diner sign was what caught hubby’s eye… they are slowing disappearing from the skyline… so sad… they are classics!

My father-in-law often bought Roessler hot dogs at West End Market in West Haven…  sometimes they went to Jimmies for a hot dog… and what did they sell… Roessler’s. The outside grill at Jimmie’s on the “hot dog” row at Savin Rock… was where the best hot dogs were sold… split and toasted on Jimmie’s open grill. Tony DeLuca was considered the “hot dog king” there… he could split the dogs without batting an eye, take your money and take another order all at the same time… as my husband tells me. Hubby also worked there when he turned 16… for a total of two weeks! He punched onion rings, and like everyone who worked there… cleaned up nightly… emptying the oil fryers and wiping down the kitchen. I was able to enjoy a Roessler dog or two when I came to West Haven in 1971… he introduced me to one of the last Savin Rock icons… and I saw that famous hot dog grill!

The Roessler family’s frankfurter saga began back in 1915 when great-grandfather Carl Roessler started the business. The family’s Grand Champion Foods Inc. was locally in New Haven until 1970 before operations moved to Norwich, which closed in the 90’s, and by 2005… no more Roessler’s!

Probably the last Roessler’s we bought was at West End Market in West Haven… loved that “mom and pop” market; you always walked into seeing a smile and a wave from behind the meat counter. My father-in-law placed his meat order there weekly… picking it up every Friday… and they cashed his paycheck. No places like that around anymore, at least if they are… they are far and few in-between!


© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved



About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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4 Responses to Road Trips: The Circle Dot Cafe

  1. Luanne says:

    I loved this post. I love to photograph images like this, but hubby has little patience for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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