"FOOD and BOOKS" says the giant sign outside The Traveler Restaurant in Union, Connecticut. Union, which has a population of about 850 residents, is the state's smallest town, and you might not even know you're passing through as you leave Connecticut driving eastbound on I-84. You can't, however, miss the bold sign that touts this unique restaurant, where more than 100,000 books are given away every year!
Here are all of the details you'll need if you want to visit this roadside restaurant:
A Book Lover's Ideal Eatery
If you love books, you'll feel right at home the moment you step inside The Traveler Restaurant. Shelves of books surround the main floor dining room, and all of the volumes you see are available for free with the purchase of a meal.
Keep in mind, now, that you won't exactly find the latest bestseller among the 5,000 or so selections available at any given time. The Traveler Restaurant obtains its books from library discard sales, auctions, flea markets, book fairs, and other used book sources. The menu says: "Our hope is that each and every one of our guests finds a book on our shelves," and if you're patient and spend some time browsing, it's almost guaranteed that a volume or two will catch your eye.
When the price is "free," the quest for the perfect choice becomes a bit of a game. You'll find that the time spent waiting for your meal to arrive flies by as you wander the restaurant in search of a book to call your own.
A Menu with Something for Everyone... Kids, Too!
It's easy to forget that this cozy roadside spot is first and foremost a full-service restaurant. Don't get so lost among the bookshelves that you allow your meal to get cold!
The Traveler Restaurant offers a diverse menu with something for everyone, from steaks and seafood to salads and sandwiches. Turkey is cooked fresh every day and served several different ways. Vegetarian items are available, and there's a kids' menu, too. Solo diners will find this a friendly and comfortable place to dine and browse.
If your travels take you through Connecticut on I-84, be sure to pull off at exit 74 to feed your belly and your brain. The Traveler Restaurant is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.