La Belle Aurore’s owner and chef Dawn Bruckner

A local favorite, La Belle Aurore is a thoughtful and conscientious 44-seat farm to table restaurant.

They support small businesses and farmers and serve the absolute best ingredients in a very simple, straight-forward way. Their space is warm and inviting. You’ll want to make a reservation, as they often have a full house. Make plans with family and friends – big, long tables with family-style dinners have become their signature.

The authentic farm-to-table aspect of their business makes them unique – they are supporting a number of Connecticut farms. In fact, 85 percent of their meats and vegetables are locally grown and raised.

Owner and chef Dawn Bruckner makes everything onsite including pastas and focaccia breads. Anthony Onorato of Sleeping Giant Bagels bakes the bagels onsite. These are served at their Sunday brunch, and they’re available for take-out.

Because they do everything in house, they are happy to meet specific customer requests. They offer Vegan options and can accommodate allergies.

Now in their eighteenth year in business, they have been steadfast with the farm-to-table concept from the beginning. Early on, to introduce the idea, they offered meet-the-farmer dinners, where they showcased one or two farms with a menu created around their products. They would have those farmers on hand to meet the customers and answer questions, participate in discussions and share stories. This is something they are considering offering again.

Other special events have included themed dinners and cooking classes. These are popular and sell out quickly. As cooking class favorites fill up – such as focaccia, pasta and cookie decorating – Dawn has been known to add a second or third class to try to accommodate those who are interested. After your third class, you’re rewarded with a gorgeous La Belle Aurore apron.

Because they source their food locally, they never worry about a lack of ingredients or the safety of products. Dawn collaborates regularly with these farmers, and they work hard to set prices fairly while continuing to serve the highest quality ingredients.

La Belle uses local farms for their meats & vegetables

They regularly source products from these local farms:

  • Smith’s Acres for produce
  • Hunts Brook Farm for produce
  • Terra Firma Creamery for milk & yogurt (available for retail purchase)
  • Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm for lamb, chicken, sausage and cheese
  • Stone Acres, Stonington
  • Provider Farm, Salem
  • Secchiaroli Farm for pork
  • Evan’s Family Farm for beef, chicken & pork
  • Sweet Acre for produce
  • Full Heart Farm for produce and the most beautiful flowers
  • Cato Corner for cheese

The restaurant also prepares value-added items for the farms to sell directly. For example, with the chickens they buy from Evan’s Family Farm, they make chicken pot pies which the farm sells in their farm market stand. With the spinach from Stone Acres, Dawn makes ravioli that they sell in their farmstand along with their cowboy cookies which gained a huge following during the pandemic.

Originally from Westchester County, New York, Dawn met her husband, Wally, in Providence, Rhode Island. They started their family in Washington, DC where they lived for 16 years. When they were first married, they agreed to live where they needed to for Wally’s career. After 16 years, they were ready for a change.

When they decided to move back to the Northeast, they were looking for a supportive, tight-knit community and chose East Lyme for its award-winning school system. It was a move that was everything they hoped for and more. Their children, Ellie & Hunter, are now college graduates and say they were very well prepared for higher education. And the Niantic community has been supportive and welcoming.

La Belle Aurore offers Grab & Go favorites, which include chicken pot pie, pulled pork, Korean barbeque style meatballs and vegetarian chili. Cookies, pies and soups are also available and very popular.

Unique dinner specials include duck breast, shrimp with shitake mushrooms, rice and bok choy, octopus, mussels in white wine, butter and garlic – and so much more!

Look for their unique themed or date night dinner kit offerings. Each kit includes a full-course meal for two along with a special treat for breakfast the next morning. Order online for same-day pick-up to enjoy a special evening at home.

They look forward to offering a new bar snack and mocktail/ non-alcoholic cocktail program as well as non-alcoholic beer & wine. This in in addition to the beer and wine they will continue to serve.

Dawn and her family would like to thank everyone who has continued to support them through the years and as they continue to evolve. They value the loyalty, friendship and generosity of their patrons and are grateful for the support of the business community.

Please visit La Belle Aurore’s website and follow them on social media for up-to-the-minute information including dinner and brunch menu items, upcoming events and any change to hours.

La Belle Aurore

75 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic, CT


Dinner served 5:30-9pm Thursday through Saturday

Brunch served 9am-1pm Sunday

Closed Monday and Tuesday

Wednesday is reserved for cooking classes

 About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.

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