About Orchid Cafe

Orchid Cafe’s name was inspired by the beautiful flower that captivated Bill Strickland, renowned innovator and MacArthur Fellow, and motivated him to create a 40,000 square foot multi-million dollar greenhouse called the Drew Mathieson Center at the Manchester Bidwell Corporation. This state of the art greenhouse, in the middle of the ghetto, prepares underemployed people from the area for careers in horticulture.

In his book “Make the Impossible Possible”, Strickland talks about the greenhouse and his admiration of the orchid:

“But many of the most meaningful benefits the greenhouse has produced are less tangible and more human. Many of our students have been hardened by the difficulty of their lives. They come to us hiding behind a tough outer shell that protects them, but it also blocks them from trusting in the kinds of positive experiences the human spirit needs to know in order to grow and flourish. That hardness may have served its purpose in the streets, but it doesn’t survive for long in the greenhouse. There’s something about the care and delicacy required to raise an orchid, something about seeing your efforts blossom, almost magically, into a thing of such delicacy and striking beauty, that has a healing, transforming effect on the human spirit. If you need proof that the human heart is resilient, and that beauty and hope and high expectations can work wonders in even the most difficult lives, I can’t imagine a better way to find it than by raising an orchid."

About ConnCAT

The Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit post-secondary career training institution. The center was established in 2011 as a means to make training opportunities available to all people regardless of race, religion, ancestry or national origin.

ConnCAT provides job-training programs intended to give unemployed and under-employed adults the skills needed to secure meaningful, well-paying jobs in the health sciences and culinary professions. ConnCAT provides adults with the academic support needed to succeed in the programs. Career preparation is linked with the hospitality industry and corporate partners who assist in the design of the training.

ConnCAT is modeled after Pittsburgh’s highly successful Manchester Bidwell Corporation – an internationally recognized arts and education center founded by the renowned innovator and MacArthur Fellow, Bill Strickland. ConnCAT is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and is an affiliate of Manchester Bidwell’s National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT).

Kind Words From Our Customers

"Just had my first lunch at Orchid Cafe. I had the crispy chicken sandwich and a side of hand cut fries. Delicious!!! I love the whole concept of the cafe and the workers and students are very personable. Keep up the good work."

- Chris

"I am so sorry I have waited to try the Orchid Cafe. The food is great, the restaurant is bright but cozy and the service is amazing. Free wifi, great prices and the ever changing menu will bring me back regularly. Thank you for coming to Science Park!!"

- Jessica

"Had the Mediterranean Orzo salad! Super fresh and delicious! Service was friendly and prompt and the prices are reasonable! Nice place to sit, bright and airy space."

- Sarah

"Very reasonable prices, good quality ingredients, friendly and professional staff, convenient location for me (I work @ Science Park). If you need to drive to get here there is always plenty of parking and seating. Nice modern and clean vibe inside. They have stuff to go if you are short on time, or put in your order and they can bring it to you when it is ready (usually within 5 minutes or so). Will definitely be coming back again!"

- Anish

News & Recognition

New ConnCAT Cafe Takes the Cake

New Haven Independent
April 4, 2017

Storytellers Tackle Self-Image, Death

New Haven Independent
April 12, 2018

Free Speech And Free Voices

The Arts Paper
July 2, 2018

New Haven's new Orchid Cafe to serve up good food along with education

New Haven Register
April 4, 2017

2 Childhoods, 2 Challenges

New Haven Independent
February 6, 2018

Listen: Jovon "Chef JoJo" Alston

Arts Council Greater New Haven
February 22, 2019

Lamont tours Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology as he visits New Haven

New Haven Register
August 2, 2018

Cookie Novices Learn From The Pros

The Arts Paper
November 20, 2017

"Cookology" Grows ConnCAT's Culinary Footprint

Arts Council Greater New Haven
January 25, 2019