Millwright's & Bear’s Smokehouse Opening "The Cook and The Bear" Restaurant in West Hartford

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

They say “birds of a feather flock together.”  Chef Tyler Anderson of Millwright's in Simsbury and Jamie McDonald of Bear’s Smokehouse are proving that isn’t always the case.  In August, the two will come together to open The Cook and The Bear in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.  The restaurant will make for an interesting meeting of the minds; Millwright’s is known for its farm-to-table cuisine while Bear’s Smokehouse serves classic finger-lickin’ Kansas City-style barbeque.

“It’s a fun concept,” says AJ Aurrichio, Millwrights’ Operations Manager.  “We’re taking traditional barbeque and putting a chef’s perspective on it.”

They first started testing the idea of a merger in August 2015.  Every Monday night, they offered pop-up dinners with dishes representative of what the new restaurant could entail.  Diners were very receptive and they moved forward.

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” laughs Aurrichio.

Anderson and McDonald gave guests a sneak peek of the new concept at Savor’s Grand Tasting event, which took place in Hartford on April 7 and 8.  They presented a “Smoked Pork Kimchi Pancake with Gochujang BBQ.”  It was the perfect fusion of both elements- BBQ reimagined with gourmet view.  The softer, starchier pancake balanced out the strong spice from the pork.  Meanwhile, green onion on top added crunch.

CTBites will keep you updated as details unfold!  In the meantime, enjoy Millwright’s and Bear’s Smokehouse!