Harry’s Place in Colchester has its earliest opening day

COLCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — With the warmer weather here, people start to look around for that first sign of spring. In Colchester, a sandwich board in front of Harry’s Place is literally that sign.

It reads “Open Tuesday March 8th.”

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WTNH/Tina Detelj

By noon the line of people ready to order was all the way out to the road.

“All winter long I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait,” says Ronnie Stoeckle of East Hampton. “I count and count.”

The sizzle of the signature hamburgers is part of the sights, sounds, and smells of spring.

“Every time we drive by here he asks me if Harry’s is open,” says a local grandmother. “He’s three and a half.”

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WTNH/Tina Detelj

Many of the Harry’s Place faithful wait for the opening day sign to go up each March.

“Life is good cause Harry’s is open, ya know,” says one customer waiting for her order.

This year opening day came earlier than ever.

“We never have had this weather,” owner Suzanne Caruso tells News 8. She and her brother John have been serving up the local favorites since 1978. They haven’t changed much since then or since the Colchester restaurant first opened in 1920.

Even the employees come back year after year.

“I love working for this family,” says Katrinka Morgan who has worked here on and off since 1978.

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WTNH/Tina Detelj

There are some things new this year like a little more stainless steel along the front counter and they now serve Hummel Brother’s hot dogs out of New Haven.

“We’re local,” says Caruso. “I like when we use local.”

Stoeckle has had a tough winter with health problems. Today she wears one of her two Harry’s Place t-shirts.

“Even in the winter when things get bad put one of Harry’s on and I feel better,” says Stoeckle.

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WTNH/Tina Detelj

She feels even better now.

“It’s happiness,” she says as she takes a bite out of an onion ring. “This is happiness.”

“There’s something about the longevity of like this businesses and having… seeing the same people every year,” says Caruso. “It’s very comforting.”

It’s also comforting for customers who say they know when they order they’re going to get exactly what they expect.





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