When is Gates opening? How many of us have been asked, and have asked others, that question?
Good news…the anticipated re-opening is almost here and CTbites was invited by the new owners to sample several of the items that will be featured on the opening menu.
Gates, an institution that opened in 1979 as the first restaurant on Forest Street, was sold last year, and many residents compared the closing to the loss of an old friend.
Residents who have enjoyed a burger and beer at the bar or a family dinner in the dining room should feel a sense of excitement when the doors re-open very shortly. Those who have longed for that burger and beer at the bar or a family dinner in the dining room will again enjoy their meals at Gates - and yes, the name will remain ‘Gates.’ Diners will also find comfort in the direction that the new owners are taking to maintain the modernized nostalgia of this New Canaan institution.
They told CTbites, with children in the New Canaan school system, they wanted to create an inviting atmosphere where families can go for a great meal, and adults can enjoy a burger and beer in the bar. “Gates has been here for 35 years and we want it to be here for another 35 years.”
Gates is part of a larger, historical New Canaan institution that dates back over 125 years. Before looking at the new Gates, let’s rewind the calendar to 1882, when Henry B. Rodgers purchased, demolished and built the current structure using 650,000 bricks that were transported to Stamford by boat and on to New Canaan. Formerly a shoe factory, Rogers converted the space to manufacture clothing for the newest rage of that era, bicycling. Over the years it housed a shoe company, a linen shop, a drug store and a beauty shop. The first New Canaan gas lamp was situated in front of the Main Street entrance and Rogers was one of the first four residents in town who owned a telephone. The building has been embedded in the history of town and will be for years to come.
The interior of Gates has undergone a complete renovation under the guidance of Company K, a New Canaan based interior design firm. It now showcases the previously hidden brick walls and wooden beams. The new layout presents an open kitchen with “kitchen-bar seating”, and wood-topped tables under a newly coffered ceiling gently illuminated by retro lighting. The original iron gates that previously adorned the hostess area have been reconditioned and are floating between the bar and the dining area.
The centerpiece of the new bar area is an amazingly striking, refinished crafted metal bar fabricated by local artisan, Chris Curnan. Wood and metal booths offer an urban vibe for those looking for a more casual dining experience. The beverage menu highlights a wide selection of beer, ranging from local CT breweries to international favorites. The glass-front refrigerator behind the bar sports additional large and small label selections. Live music will be an occasional addition when dinner service begins to wind down on Saturday nights.
The culinary concept for the new Gates is American comfort that, “will bring passion, heart and soul to the food.” It will feature a wood burning oven for a selection of artisanal flatbreads, plus a wood burning rotisserie to slow cook a variety of meats and poultry, each prepared to “melt in your mouth.” While these items act as the centerpiece for many of the entrées, they will also serve as the foundation in all of the sandwiches on the lunch menu. The opening menu will include a burger and hand-cut fries, Rotisserie Chicken, and assorted fresh fish and steaks. Several of these items were served during the pre-opening tasting and were delicious, an excellent indication of things to come.
The new Gates will be a destination for adults and families seeking a delicious meal, sports enthusiasts seeking a beer and burger in the bar, beer lovers thirsting for a wide selection of international and local brews, and couples looking to end an evening with a little live music and a nightcap.
Stay tuned as CTbites continues to provide additional details on the re-opening of Gates.
10 Forest St, New Canaan, CT 06840