Why do we have a section on our website called “Recent History”? Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron? Well, not really. It’s because there is so much history here, dating back to 1789 when the building was erected! For over 230 years this building and the owners and staff have hosted guests for happy social occasions, important business functions, and everything in between. We have guests who came here as children with their families, guests whose grandparents were married here, and even guests whose great-grandparents had dinner here as their first formal date. J. Timothy’s is proud to carry on the tavern tradition started by John Cooke; you can read about the origins here.
The current owners, Tim Adams and Jim Welch, purchased the building in 1979 and re-opened it as Cooke’s Tavern on February 26, 1980. We celebrated our 40th Anniversary in 2020! Cooke’s was a more formal restaurant, with white linen tablecloths. The early years were a bit of a struggle, but the partners persevered, working long hours to make sure the restaurant was successful. It was. As time went on Tim and Jim, and then-Kitchen Manager John, who started at the restaurant on day one, realized they wanted a more welcoming environment. The decision was made: retire the name Cooke’s Tavern and establish a new identity. J. Timothy’s Taverne was born in 1988. The hallmark of the new J. Timothy's was great pub food and beverages with professional, but friendly service.
We are so very proud that we have more than 5 staff members that have been with the restaurant over 30 years, 10 staff who have been here over 20 years, and 16 for more than 15 years.
We are also proud and grateful for the accolades we’ve received over the years, most recently:
- Food Network Top 5 Bar Foods (dirt wings)
- Best Casual Restaurant in CT
- CT Restaurant Hall of Fame 2011
- The #2 Buffalo Wings in the entire country (Daily Meal)
- Best 21 Wing Joints in the country (Buzzfeed)
- Hartford Courant/CTNOW Best Wings, year after year
- Connecticut Magazine Best Wings
- Hartford Magazine Best Wings
- New Britain Herald/Bristol Press Best Wings
And, we’re grateful for the hundreds (thousands?) of notes we’ve received from satisfied and happy guests.
We know we exist only because of YOU. Tim and Jim and our entire staff welcome you to J. Timothy’s Taverne and thank you for your patronage.
The Taverne Tradition
J. Timothy's Taverne was established in 1988. Situated on the same property as the old Cooke's Tavern in Plainville, Connecticut, it has grown to be one of central Connecticut's finest casual restaurants. J. Timothy's is known for its awarding-winning chicken wings, eclectic menu ranging from traditional pub fare and comfort food to contemporary seasonal specials, family-friendly atmosphere, local and national craft beer, creative cocktails, and the historic building, which dates back to 1789 – the year George Washington was inaugurated as president. It was always a favorite stop for travelers along the College Highway. For over 230 years, the tavern has opened its doors to all, hosting many special events.
Today, we continue the tradition that Cooke's Tavern started as one of Connecticut's favorite gathering places. As the Hartford Courant noted, “The restaurant has appealing colonial décor, with wide-planked floors, fireplaces, paneled walls, framed prints of hunting and harness-racing scenes and other memorabilia of an earlier age. The effect is warm and welcoming.”
For more on the history of J. Timothy's Taverne, click here for wonderful article from the Hartford Courant which tells our story.
J. Timothy’s has 6 public dining areas and 4 rooms for private events, with capacity for 12-90 guests. Both the pub and the pub-loft (upstairs) have several large TVs for watching UConn basketball, the Red Sox or Yankees, the entire NFL schedule, and many other sporting events.
Our menu is large and varied, from appetizers and sandwiches, to steaks, seafood, chicken, dinner-sized salads, and vegetarian and gluten-free options. And of course, our award-winning Dirt wings! We were humbled and proud when the national food website The Daily Meal named our chicken wings the 2nd best in the entire country. And when Buzzfeed said we were the #2 chicken wing you have to try before you die. We’re #2! And proud of it. And Thrillist has named us one of the "21 Best Wing Joints in the Country"! The Food Network show, Top 5 Restaurants, named us one of the 5 best restaurants in the country for bar food and said our "wing sauce is the best in the nation!" We serve about 3 tons of chicken wings per week; during Super Bowl weekend we serve almost 9 tons.
We pride ourselves on consistent professional, friendly service for our guests. We are always grateful that you chose to visit us and our goal is to ensure you have a wonderful time! Many of our staff members – managers, servers, bartenders, kitchen staff – have been with us for more than 20 years. We’ve had the same two owners from the beginning, and our General Manager has been with the restaurant for over 31 years.
Our entire staff welcomes you and thanks you for your patronage.