ION - It's Only Natural Restaurant

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 34 reviews )
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860-346-9210
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606 Main St, Middletown, Connecticut, USA, 06457

Vegetarian turned vegan restaurant, established 1987. ION offers a breakfast as well lunch/dinner menu, plus juices, smoothies, whole vegan cakes to take home, and fresh baked bread. Weekly and daily specials. Hosts workshops on organic gardening, raw food demo, and cooking. Re-opened here Sept 2013 after move from 386 Main St. Open Tue-Sat 11:00am-9:00pm, Sun 11:00am-3:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, American, Pizza, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Bakery

34 Reviews

First Review by A3TIMECUSTOMER

Not the healthiest option - Edit

Although tasty, many dishes are quite heavy.

Pros: Lots of vegan options

Cons: Heavy, high calorie dishes

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A+ - Edit

I've never come across an item I don't like. I just wish there were more gluten free options. Some things can be made gluten free, but I'm allergic to a good chunk of the menu. The desserts are SO GOOD.

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Amazing! - Edit

Excellent service. Good portions and delicious food. Everyone is courteous and wonderful.

Pros: Vegan

Cons: none

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Thank You!  


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YAAAS - Edit

Their food is AMAZING again like it was when they opened, or even better! In my opinion, the restaurant went through a rough patch a few years ago but that is so over. Recently my family and I ate here and we got a bunch of food to split and nothing was disappointing. Their maple bacon burger was a bit strange because the bacon was tough a chewy but the delicious flavors made up for that fact. Also their coconut cake is RIDICULOUS.

Pros: So freaking good, Friendly staff, Classy environment

Cons: Expensive, A bit of a long wait for food

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best vegan restaurant in Connecticut - Edit

Can't say enough great things about this place. Delicious food for vegans and people who aren't vegan but are there with their pals eating vegan food. Great staff. Relaxed atmosphere.

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Awww, THANK YOU!
 


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Great food, eclectic, laid back atmosphere - Edit

Totally vegan menu makes things easy, and I have never been disappointed by a selection. Delicious food- southern fried tofu is my favorite! Also one of the few vegan brunch places. Quirky decor and well stocked bar. Service is a little slow sometimes but with the right company, it's no biggie. Love this place! Gem in central CT.

Pros: Totally vegan, Comfort food, Brunch on the weekend

Cons: Service a tad slow sometimes

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Best vegan restaurant in CT - Edit

I have been eating at ION for years and have seen them go through several menu changes (including the time when they offered fish and cheese!), location changes, and management changes. NOW is their BEST time that I have ever experienced. The menu is small but every item is delicious - there is not wrong choice! The atmosphere is hip and clean (this was not always the case) and service is excellent (again, it was not always this way).

If you haven't been there yet, follow ION on Instagram - you'll get to see their amazing dishes and get a feel for the friendly, fun, atmosphere as well.

Oh, and if you do go, don't skip dessert! The coconut cake is unparalleled!

Pros: 100% vegan, Coconut cake, Vibe

Cons: Expensive ($16 for a wrap!), Smaller portions

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Amazing food, but poor service - Edit

Let me start off by saying that the menu selection and the food here is outstanding. In that aspect, it's a vegan's paradise in this area! However, my overall experience wasn't great due to the poor service. When my boyfriend and I walked in we weren't greeted, and we weren't sure if it was seat yourself or if we should wait for a host. The staff just stood behind the bar and stared at us, so we took a seat. It wasn't a very welcoming environment, at least the time we went. Additionally, the group sitting by us were smoking! Is this allowed? It really put a damper on our experience. I probably won't be back to dine here again, however I will most definitely get takeout!

Pros: Delicious food, Superb menu selection , Large portions

Cons: Smoking allowed, Poor service, Not inviting

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Smoking is NOT allowed. I'm sorry the staff wasn't attentive, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you come back.  


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satisfied customer - Edit

So glad I found this vegan spot.Will deffinetly go with my best friend when I visit Connecticut again .Staff very friendly and food delish!!!

Pros: best vegan restaurant in ct so far :)

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Thank You!  


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love it - Edit

I love ION. Great atmosphere and food selection. Delicious food and good beer on tap.

Pros: delicious food, nice atmosphere

Cons: slightly pricey

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three decades of change - Edit

Opened in 1987, ION is an enduring classic, a true survivor, and a beacon of vegan cuisine during most of its three decades long legacy. As a faithful patron since 1988, I have observed ION undergo many transformations.

It evolved into ION 8.0 in September 2013 when it relocated a few blocks north up Main Street, eerily close to its original location from which it had moved 15 years earlier. ION downsized both its menu and its space. I’m thankful that ION adapted, but lament the loss of most of my favorite dishes. The new space is cozy and sunny. The new plush seats are really comfy, almost like living room sofas, a welcomed upgrade from the narrow rickety wooden chairs of that of many other veg restaurants.

One very heartening change which I hail is its decision soon after its move to dump cow cheese as one of its three cheese options, which it had offered for ten years. So now ION 8.5 has reclaimed its legacy as a truly vegan restaurant.

Early in 2014, it incarnated into ION 9.0 when the menu changed to fit the specialties of its new chef, rather than the new chef adapting to the specialties of the restaurant. ION rewrote a new and slimmer menu, yet again. Some savory entrées and apps added just a year earlier were edged out. Only the wine and beer list had lengthened, of no interest to me. The newly truncated menu tended toward spicy Tex-Mex, unfortunately for me not among my favorite ethnic cuisines. Its once high nutritional standards had descended a few notches. Many of the dishes were pan-fried or deep-fried, highly refined tofu and overly processed seitan had edged out more wholesome tempeh. There was not much choice outside of fried foods and Tex-Mex and tofu and seitan.

In 2016, ION changed yet again and ascended into a divine ION 10.0, this latest incarnation now full-circle upon the part-time return of masterful head chef Ken Bergeron. Oldsters such as myself will remember Ken as the founder of ION when it debuted in 1987. Ken has migrated the menu out of Texas and Mexico and into Europe and Asia and back into New England.

If you were disappointed with ION in the recent past, do give it another try, because ION has reclaimed its legacy as a stellar vegan restaurant.

Pros: the all vegan cuisine, comfy seating and interior, Ken Bergeron

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Interesting.  


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Great dining experience - Edit

My non-vegan friend took me and my husband (both vegans) here for lunch on Saturday while visiting the area. It's a beautiful establishment, very clean and "zen" inside. The menu was wonderful, with delicious options. We tried the nachos, pirogies, "enchalade", buffalo tofu wrap, and two of the desserts. Everything tasted great! Service has pleasant and prompt. The prices were a bit higher than comparable vegan restaurants in NYC, but nothing crazy. Definitely recommend.

Pros: Variety , Desserts

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Happy Belly - Edit

The buffalo tofu wrap is my favorite...well or maybe the southern fried tofu. I can't decide! The food is great, they give you good portions for the price and you can't help but try to eat it all in one sitting. I'm always walking out of there with a very full but happy belly. Oh and the fries, so good! Drool.

Pros: Buffalo Tofu, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Options, Handmade!

Cons: Price

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disappointing - Edit

This restaurant has gone DOWNHILL from the original owners. It no longer offers the vegan options it used to. Very disappointing. I would not recommend wasting your time!

Pros: not many

Cons: few vegan options, no raw options

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Sorry you feel that way, but I am STILL the owner, and the original owner, Chef Ken Bergeron, still gives us his opinion. I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you gave us another chance.
 


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my favorite!! - Edit

I love love love this place! The atmosphere is very earthy & relaxed, while the food is very much alive with flavor. ION offers many more gluten free options now which I love. I'm vegan while some of my friends are full on meat eaters & they love this place just as much as I do. I recommend this heavenly place to everyone

Pros: 100% vegan , atomosphere , location

Cons: parking can be difficult

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AMAZING - Edit

This is my favorite place. The food is delicious. I've even taken non-vegans there and they thought the food was delicious. Definitely one of the coolest vegan joints I've been to.

Pros: Food tastes amazing, always new menu options, you can even eat outside

Cons: a bit pricy

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Fair - Edit

I'm vegan and a few years ago I used to love this place. Then they got really bad (one of the former owners now runs GZen, which is much better). Despite the bad service and food -- including a particularly poor valentines night -- I seem to just keep giving them one more chance. Not a fan of the new location; noisy and I have left with my clothes smelling of grease. Went very recently to try out the new chef, but most of their menu seems unchanged, and it still seems like the only good food is deep fried; not what I want. Deep fried tofu is delicious, but where are the healthy choices offered by places like Six Main? For what they charge at IoN, I struggle to find positives. I want so badly for this place to be good again, but it's not that way yet. The Tibetan place a few doors down has better food for much less $$

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It's a whole new place - Edit

I have seen and do not understand the less than stellar reviews about this place. The restaurant relocated down the street from its former location last year, and had kind of a soft re-opening (sparce decor, limited menu items... I agree that was a bummer). However, every time I have been there since, the decor and atmosphere has improved in some way. It's a wonderful setting now, comfortable and inviting.

But let's talk about the food! They also updated their menu, adding new, creative things to their existing popular menu items. I have eaten here probably 20 times, with vegetarians, meat eaters and vegans alike, and everyone has always loved whatever meal they ordered. I find the food to be innovative and delicious, and very reasonably priced. I also have always had good experience with the service.

If you've tried it and didn't like it, do yourself a favor and try again.

Pros: creative tasty food, good atmosphere, good value

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - I completely agree! Thank You  


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slow service - Edit

We went as a table of 4. A vegan, a vegetarian, a meat eater and one who eats gluten free. The restaurant only had a few occupied tables, but the service was very slow. There were quite a few ingredients they didn't have, making the gluten free choices almost nonexistent. The wait for the food was way too long.

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Fun place, decent food - Edit

For a few years, ION was my favorite veg/vegan restaurant. I love the laid-back and funky atmosphere, the holidays lights hung around the windows and then piled into glass jars on the windowsill, the chalkboard-top tables for my kids, the fun things to look at while dining on the deck, and all of the various artwork from local artists. I enjoyed the food for the longest time too. But then Six Main in Chester opened and I now view ION's food as veg/vegan "fast food". I still love being at ION, but I don't enjoy the food like I used to. I would consider the waitstaff to be polite, but quiet & reserved. Sometimes the service can be slow, but it has been rare in my experiences.

Pros: casual & funky atmosphere

Cons: veg/vegan "fast food"

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It's Only Okay - Edit

I feel kind of bad for all the people who LOVE ION Restaurant. It's really only pretty decent at best. You can get better. The idea is great, and most of the food is decent, and the desserts are pretty good but it just isn't the best. They rarely add anything exciting to or change the menu, food quality is irregular, service is generally slow and inept, they run out of a lot of things quickly and the prices are too much for the quantity and the quality that you get. If you want something amazing, try Six Main in Chester or GZen in Branford. I live in Middletown but would rather make the trek to either of those restaurants than go to ION. My whole family pretty much avoids it at this point, just because of all the bad experiences. I don't mind it if I'm going with someone who isn't vegetarian or if I have extra money to burn but mostly we go elsewhere. If you do go there, try the nachoes with vegan parmesan, the sweet potato fries and/or the ION burger and make sure to get a dessert.

Pros: central location, good desserts, okay food

Cons: slow, inconsistent service, food quality is irregular, too expensive for quality & quanity

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Clean Me - Edit

I am always thrilled to be able to eat out, difficult with food allergies and diet restrictions for both my husband and I. This is a cute place, a good selection of food. I enjoyed my meal (I had an enchilada), however my husband who had a stir-fry got a bad stomachache after leaving. My big and serious gripe is this place is FILTHY!!! The floors look like they get swept once a month and have never been mopped. The bottoms of the tables (that is very visible) are full of dirt from peoples shoe and dust. We saw two huge flies flying around (in February) and the bathroom...do not go in until AFTER you eat. My thought is it's always much worse where customers cannot see - like in the kitchen. I will never go to this place again - this is unfortunate because I am a vegetarian that tries to only eat organic food - so my options are very limited. Oh, and I saw someone who works there lick her fingers and blow her nose and not wash her hands after. :-(

Pros: great concept, cute place, good selection

Cons: filthy, sweep and mop the floor, clean the bathroom!

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Best Veg Restaurant in CT - Edit

My wife & I may not have tried every single veg restaurant in CT, but we HAVE tried many of them, and this one gets our vote as BEST. Yes, there are some great restaurants in New Haven, but this one is in Middletown-- far from city noise & traffic, but at the same time, not way off "in the boondocks", either. It's almost completely vegan, and everything we've ever had (we've been there multiple times) has been creative and outstanding. Actually, we're glad that it's more than an hour from home, otherwise we'd be in there weekly, if not more often! If you're going to be in central CT, you GOTTA try this place! You're certainly not going to do any better in Hartford!

Pros: Great food, Reasonable pricing, Nice environment

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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Thank You!
 


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Renana 26 Mar 2017 - Thank You!  


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Worth a visit - Edit

I have been here a few times and I have really enjoyed my food each time. ION has a nice atmosphere and outdoor seating options in the warm weather.

Pros: Good food, Quick service

Cons: A bit pricey

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Best Veg restaurant in CT? - Edit

The food here is inventive and delicious. I've tried the cajun tempeh, tempeh 'crab' cakes and the pierogies, all of which were great. The vegan cakes are good too, moist and rich. I'm not sure if all of the menu items are vegan, but most of them seem to be.

The main drawbacks are the cost (something like $20 a meal, if I remember correctly) and the fact that it's about an hour from my house.

Pros: Delicious, Nice Atmosphere

Cons: Expensive

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I will return! - Edit

Located about 20 minutes outside Hartford, CT, It's Only Natural, or ION, is well worth leaving the city. ION really is located on Main Street USA, a condensed strip of stores, restaurants, entertainment, and slanted parking on the street. The restaurant itself is located inside a small mall of cultured stores and eateries. The entire menu is vegan, except for the cheddar cheese, which the kind and welcoming Hostess made sure I was aware.
I ordered my food to go, so I can not speak on the waiter service, but the seated area looked very comfortable. Broadly appropriate for a first date or family outing. And it appeared to be clean and sanitary, I even went to the bathroom. Always check the bathroom. If the bathroom is not clean, you don't even want to see the kitchen. Not only did I get dessert here, but I also tried the Vegetable Pizza Rustica. Talk about delicious. I would return here any day, rather I was vegan or not, good food is good food.

Teasecake
Ion's wheat-free, nut-free, dairy-free version of cheesecake. Before I start, I must say that the crust makes this pie. It was so good. On first bite, the Teasecake had a caramel undertone, but as I went on, I got a tofu taste and texture. It also came with a sauce. It looked like a thin caramel, and with the caramel undertone in the Teasecake, that is what I expected. But it was some orange-ness that I only had to taste once to know that I did not want to taste it again.
I got through about half of it before I was tired of it. I also allowed my non-vegan boyfriend to try it. He hated it and that totally ruined my motivation to imagine that is was "cheesecake". Even though this dessert did not turn out to be a ten in my book, I would have no reservation about returning to try any of the other desserts at Ion. Great restaurant.

Pros: Pizza

Cons: Teasecake

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Fantastic! - Edit

This is just an amazing place. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderful. The sweet potato fries are the best I've ever had. The deserts are, in my opinion, the best part. Nowhere else has come close to the awesomeness of their Teasecake! Highly recommended.

Pros: Great service, Great deserts

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