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The Meatball Shop Opens in Westport June 25th: It's Ball Time People!

Restaurant Westport Openings Italian Kid Friendly Comfort Food Lunch Cocktails Bar Homepage

Maddie Phelps

Picture this: you’re walking down Westport’s Saugatuck River Bridge on a beautiful summer evening. You’re feeling Italian, but you don’t want pizza. You’re craving some meat, but you don’t want steak. Then you see it. The sign you’ve been looking for since you stopped in to one of their ball-licious locations in New York City. “The Meatball Shop” stands proudly along the river, and you thank your lucky stars that a small town like Westport has been blessed with this treasure of a restaurant.

This fantasy will become a reality for locals this Tuesday, as The Meatball Shop will finally be opening the doors to its Westport location. With seven additional locations– one in D.C. and six in New York– The Meatball Shop has already made a name for itself with its unique take on meatballs and a variety of other delicious choices. For its Westport location in particular, CEO Adam Rosenbaum said he wanted to create a menu that ensures every palette is satisfied by the end of the meal. Diners, I assure you…It does.


Chef Emily Mingrone Opens Tavern on State in New Haven: A Delicious Take on Traditional Tavern Fare

Restaurant New Haven Gastropub Bar Cocktails Comfort Food Tavern Homepage

Jessica Ryan

Tavern on State, owned by Chef Emily Mingrone, is the latest to join the dozens of exceptional restaurants in the New Haven area. I was fortunate to check out the new digs, sit down with Emily, and sample some of the exciting items on the menu.

The restaurant boasts a tavern vibe, but perhaps more in appearance than what’s on the plate. Rich, warm woods welcome you inside a space that seats about 45 (with an additional 45 outdoors) but this is where your notion of tavern starts and ends.

Traditional tavern fare might include burgers and fries, nachos and the like, but a menu that features a blue cheese & truffle burger with thick bacon & red onion on English muffin, Spicy crispy chicken skins & chicharrones, Fried cheese curds with smoked tomato dip, or chilled oysters with yuzu kosho & cucumber, is anything but traditional. 

The menu here is as eclectic as it is sophisticated; it raises high the burger bar. It is tavern fare reimagined, and certainly for the more discerning palate that can see beyond a standard plate of fish and chips, jalapeño poppers, calamari, and pepperoni pizza. I have had plenty of tavern fare in my day, and tavern fare doesn’t look or taste like this.


Bar Zorro, Evarito's Rooftop Bar in Downtown South Norwalk, Your New Summer Spot!

Restaurant Norwalk South Norwalk Openings RoofTop Bar Cocktails Mexican

Andrew Dominick

If you’re strolling around South Norwalk, flip your Ray-Ban aviators on and glance up at the corner of N Main and Washington streets. You see that? The string lights, and oh, wait, there are people up there! And they’re drinking! They’re clearly having fun but you’re down there being lame. Go into Evarito’s and take the elevator to the roof. The doors open, you walk up the ramp’s slight incline, and you’re instantly transported to a tropical oasis. Brightly colored drinks are flowing, cans of Corona are being popped open, and tacos are getting crushed in three bites or less. I bet you feel the opposite of lame. Your cool factor just increased tenfold. 

Welcome to Bar Zorro! 


Bear's Smokehouse BBQ Opens In-House Brewery in New Haven w/ Black Hog Brewing Co

Restaurant Brewery BBQ New Haven Openings Beer CT Beer Live Music

CTbites Team

 Bear’s Restaurant Group, which includes Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ in Windsor, Hartford, and South Windsor, and Blind Pig Pizza in Hartford, today announced the official opening of its in-house brewery. This past week, in partnership with Black Hog Brewing Co., the on-site brewery debuted its first five beers brewed in-house and will now be offering them for consumption on-site or to-go in 32-ounce crowlers.  

Pair these new brews with Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ favorites, smoked in the Kansas-City style that McDonald enjoyed growing up in Kansas City, Missouri. Some of these tasty morsels include: Baby Back Ribs, Pulled Pork, Pulled Chicken, Kielbasa, Turkey, Texas Sausage, Brisket and Burnt Ends served as a Sandwich, Entrée or Combo Plate. 


Birdman Juke joint Opens in Black Rock From Top Chef Chris Scott

Restaurant Openings Bridgeport Black Rock Southern Food Celebrity Chef Comfort Food Kid Friendly Homepage

Kristin L. Wolfe

Connecticut are you ready? I mean really ready. You may have fallen under the spell of what others have told you is Soul Food, but Chef Chris Scott, of  TV’s Top Chef Season 15 and beloved Brooklyn restaurants Butterfunk and Sumner’s Luncheonette, is not playing around. He is giving you the real deal, with seasoning to the nth power, and a history lesson to boot. In just 48 hours of opening, the reception has been tremendous. So much so, Chef says, “I might just have to sleep down stairs for awhile.” The lines have been long and the orders have been flying out the window. Birdman Juke Joint is on everyone’s list to try. But that is the thing. You can’t, or won’t just try it. You will be swept away. Or, as the fellers I sat with at the bar did, ….you might just use every curse word imaginable to convey your newfound love. 


The Blind Rhino Sports Bar Opens In Black Rock

Restaurant Openings Sports Bar Bar lunch Bridgeport Black Rock Comfort Food

James Gribbon

When the Blind Rhino opened in South Norwalk in 2015 it made waves both as the first dedicated sports bar in a nightlife-intensive district which was somehow devoid of one, and for making quality food and drink the focus, rather than an afterthought to bats and balls. Do they have beer and wings? Yep, but their beers are two dozen taps' worth of Connecticut focused craft, and their wings come with flavors like Togarashi dry rub and won multiple medals at the last year's National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. Is there such a thing as a gastro sports bar? Yes, actually, there are two - and you can now find the second one just over the Fairfield town line in the Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport. 


Sherkaan Indian Restaurant Opens in New Haven—Totally Bindaas

Restaurant New Haven Indian Openings Lunch Cocktails Bar Homepage

Frank Cohen

If Sherkaan, the name given the Indian restaurant that succeeded vegetarian Thali Too (2008-2018) in New Haven’s Broadway District in the space behind the Apple store, sounds strangely familiar, it should. The name is taken from Mowgli’s chief antagonist in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the sly Bengal tiger—Shere Khan.

Owners Ankit Harpaldas and Puneet “Pete” Ramchandani are experienced restaurateurs with a playful streak that runs as deep as the mean streak in Kipling’s menacing tiger. Harpaldas and Ramchandani also own Taprock Beer Bar & Refuge in the Unionville section of Farmington, a restaurant with an affinity for modern design, unusual drink options and quirky fun food sensibilities.


Pokéworks Opens In Westport: Hawaiian Poké Bowls & Burritos for All!

Restaurant Openings Westport Seafood Sushi Lunch Asian Hawaiian

Maddie Phelps

Those who loved a bowl or burrito packed with fresh meat, rice, and veggies were nothing short of devastated when Chipotle closed its Westport location this past winter. Thankfully, I can be the bearer of some good news for those who are still heartbroken. There’s a new place in town with plenty of fresh meat, rice, and veggies galore for any burrito or bowl you desire. And this time, there’s a Hawaiian twist to it.

Pokéworks, a Hawaiian restaurant whose business took the country by storm upon opening in 2015, recently made its debut in Westport’s Compo Acres Shopping Center. The original founders sought to bring a taste of Hawaii to the public through poké, which is the diced raw fish that is considered one of the main dishes of native Hawaiian cuisine. Committed to offering the freshest of seafood, Pokéworks also emphasizes their sustainable practices and efforts to preserve the world’s oceans in a time when many are not.


Boca Oyster Bar Opens On Bridgeport's Steelpointe Harbor

Restaurant Bridgeport Black Rock Seafood Oysters Oyster Bar Openings Homepage

James Gribbon

Drivers casting their eyes randomly about, desperate for a diversionary glance at anything besides traffic and out of state plates between the concrete shoulders of I-95 may settle their gaze on a new brick building on the waterfront of Bridgeport harbor. Slightly reminiscent of a lighthouse, it sits at the other side of the new development in Steelpointe Harbor from Bass Pro Shops, and - as of this week - houses the new Boca Oyster Bar. CTBites hit the bar during their soft open at the end of May to give you this first look. 


MECHA Noodle Bar Opening in Stamford via Hey Stamford!

Restaurant Openings Stamford Japanese Vietnamese Noodles

Hey Stamford!

Driving down Bedford Street recently, you may have noticed some activity taking place in a storefront along the east side of the street. It’s good news for all, because a popular local restaurant is getting ready to open their doors!  

With locations in South Norwalk, Fairfield, and New Haven, Mecha Noodle Bar has dropped a flag in Stamford Downtown!

Known as a noodle lover’s paradise, Mecha serves up Asian comfort dishes, and is widely known for their Vietnamese Pho & Japanese Ramen.  Among other things, they also do riffs on Southeast Asia street foods. The menu is replete with steamed baos, egg rolls, dumplings, spare ribs, and wings.  But do not call them a “fusion” or a sushi restaurant, as they state on their website, they are: American-Vietnamese-Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Korean-New England-Momofuku-Totto-and-Ippudo-inspired.

Read more on Hey Stamford!


Guide To Connecticut Mobile Caterers: Food & Bar Trucks For Your Next Party! (sponsored post)

Restaurant Catering Food Truck Entertaining Best of CT Homepage

April Guilbault

Rolling, rolling, rolling…Get that party rolling…Start food and drinks a flowin’

Partaaaayyy!

Hang on to your wagons, folks, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Mobile Caterers Guide for all of your summer (and fall) party needs! Just the fact that the party comes to you gets your soiree off to a unique and fun start. And then it starts dispensing amazing foods and drinks? Yes, we say, sign us up; cupcakes rolled to your doorstep? Check! Beer on tap parked in your backyard? Check! Pizzas, burgers, lobsters and crab cakes saddled up to your house? Check! You are going to have some serious fun with these options. In fact, we think it’s safe to say that your er….party “bar”…will be raised is an understatement. Keep ‘em rollin’ and enjoy!


Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters Opening In Westport

Restaurant Westport Openings Coffee Tea And Coffee Local Artisan

Stephanie Webster

Ed Freedman, Fairfield County’s passionate organic coffee roaster, and owner of the successful Shearwater Coffee Bar in the Brick Walk area of Fairfield, has announced the opening of a new location in Westport, on The Post Road. Named One of the 15 Best New Coffee Roasters in America by the popular digital lifestyle magazine Thrillist.com, and bestowed a 92 rating from CoffeeReview.com  for their  Organic Homacho Waeno Ethiopian roast, Shearwater introduced its small batch coffee roasts to Fairfield County in September of 2013 and was soon touted by java junkies, major gourmet food markets, and reputable area chefs as one of the leading coffee brands in the state.


Tony’s at the JHouse Hotel: Come For Tony, Stay For the Fine Casual Dining

Restaurant Greenwich Hotel Italian American

Jessica Ryan

Tony Capasso has developed quite the reputation earning himself quite the following. After spending nearly 20 years at Valbella! and Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse, the veteran Maître d’ now has a steak place of his own at the JHouse, a boutique hotel in Greenwich. Tony is warm, affable and charming. He has a special way with his customers as he circles around to each table offering quick yet challenging trivia questions for all to answer. His eyes twinkle. His smile is infectious. 


MilkCraft Now Open in New Haven w/ Nitrogren Infused Ice Cream & Soft Serve! (+ Milkcraft Truck!

Restaurant ice cream Openings New Haven Fairfield West Hartford Dessert

Brett Levy

I wouldn’t have expected the steady stream of customers this past Wednesday afternoon at Milkcraft, all lining up for nitrogen infused ice cream despite the chilly temps outside. And yet, after tasting my P B & J Roasted Banana in the signature Bubblecone, I understand the customers’ urgency. Who needs hot chocolate when one can delight in these fresh, chef driven flavors honoring the winter season? The Bourbon Breakfast and Smokin’ Choco de Leche and will hold me over until the summer just fine.

Rejoice, New Haven residents. You can now enjoy Milkcraft in New Haven! The New Haven location (280 Crown Street) is the largest of the locations to date, at 1500 square feet.


Cafe Silvium in Stamford: 18 Years And Still Topping The CT Italian Scene

Restaurant Italian Stamford Lunch Homepage

Andrew Dominick

Cafe Silvium has been open nearly 18 years. I first heard about it six months ago. Yeah, stuff like that happens. I couldn’t possibly know about every single restaurant in this part of Connecticut, could I?

What bugged me about Cafe Silvium is the number of random people who dropped it in casual conversation. And there was no collusion here. Every mention of it came from different aspects of my life or from loosely connected friends. The first whispers of Cafe Silvium came from a Bumble match. No, we didn’t ever meet up for a meal there, in case you were wondering.


Mango’s Wood-Fired Pizza Co. in Mystic: "2 Brothers Who Love Real Good Pizza"

Restaurant Pizza Mystic Lunch Italian

Brett Levy

Nestled alongside I-95N in Mystic, CT, you will find what many say is the best pizza in New London County. Mango’s Wood-Fired Pizza Co. is the perfect place for a pit stop and quick bite. The restaurant is named after a tour guide, Mango, who the owner met on vacation. Connecticut is known for its New Haven pizza. However, this pizza, in my opinion, can compete with best of them, and is why the restaurant was packed on Easter weekend. The variety and creativity in the menu keeps customers coming back.

My family and I stopped at Mango’s on Saturday morning at around 11:45 am, where we found the place already hopping.


Winfield Street Coffee Opening at The Ferguson Library in Stamford

Restaurant Openings Coffee Tea And Coffee

CTbites Team

Winfield Street Coffee will open at The Ferguson Library this summer. The coffee shop, which will offer Counter Culture Coffee, Battenkill Milk and Hudson Valley Harvest produce along with other local products, will also serve fresh baked goods, their renown breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well as salads. It will open in the former Starbucks space once renovations are complete, probably in mid-August.

Owner Breno Donatti also operates the Winfield Street Italian Deli in Westport and another Winfield Street Coffee at the Croton-Harmon train station in Croton-on-Hudson New York.  He lives in Stamford with his family. 


Garden Catering Debuts Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Restaurant Fried Chicken Sandwich Norwalk Fairfield New Menu Homepage

Andrew Dominick

There’s no doubt that Garden Catering’s chicken nuggets—with cones—are the star of their show. GC’s fans are guilty of copping and crushing “The Special,” many times over. If you’ve ever deviated from their legendary nuggs, chances are you cheated with a Nugget Wrap or the Hotsy, both are arguably the runners up to the nuggets. 

Well, things are changing!

Oh, don’t worry, those two sandwiches are staying, but two new ones are making their grand entrance on Garden Catering’s menu…Fried chicken sandwiches. 


Chef Emily Mingrone Opening Tavern on State, A Classic American Tavern, in New Haven

Restaurant Openings New Haven American Lunch

Stephanie Webster

Chef Emily Mingrone (of Fleisher’s, Match & Jesup Hall) is turning a long time dream into reality with the upcoming opening of her own restaurant, Tavern On State. Tavern On State will be a classic American tavern with a modern twist, located in the East Rock, New Haven, neighborhood. Mingrone had been working on this project for years, but she couldn’t find the right location. When her old drinking haunt, Cojones, became available, she knew it was meant to be.

“I’ve learned so much working with Chefs Storch and Taibe, and I’m so grateful for those experiences,” says Mingrone. Now it’s HER time. We are thrilled to see another female chef in the Connecticut restaurant scene, and we are excited to see what this seasoned chef has in store for us.

Speaking with Mingrone, she describes Tavern on State as having a “simple concept in menu and design.” “One of my biggest frustrations as a consumer is sometimes you just want a really good steak or delicious shrimp cocktail, and there is no place to get really great classic American fare. At Tavern On State, I want to make simple flavor focused, properly made tavern food.”  Think oysters on the half shell, but garnished with yuzu vs mignonette; interesting versions of the classic shrimp cocktail, grilled octopus, burgers, and sexy steaks.