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Chef DiBari Opens Eugene’s Diner in Port Chester...Hot Damn, This Aint No Average Diner

Restaurant Diner American Comfort Food Homepage

Kristin L. Wolfe

Connecticuters! Time to cross the border….No walls to be found over there in Port Chester, New York where you’ll find a truly stellar diner serving up some out-of-this-world, groovy meals. When you walk in, especially if you are my age (eh hem 40 something something), you’ll be transported back to the days of wall-to-wall paneling and all the rust and brown your heart desires. With rugs on walls, aquariums, and I-swear-that’s-my-grandma's wallpaper, somehow the 70s just look better in the noughty oughts. 

When you shake yourself from the timewarp, you’ll sidle up to the counter--truly the best seat in the house-but it will not be your everyday diner affair. It is, as the brand describes itself,“diner-inspired.” So what that really means is, yes, you can get breakfast all day and yes, there are regulars at the counter, and yes, they even have spinning cake cases, and lots of clinking silverware, but the similarities end there. This is a diner where a truly experienced Chef and creative team come to play, be inspired, and frankly, knock your socks off. So, you want pancakes? They’ll present you with pancakes in a plump piled stack like you’ve never seen, and should you be feeling a bit bougie, you can get them with a side of foie gras. No joke. You want French Toast? Just try and bite into these pillows of deliciousness without gasping. Something besides lego-my-eggo waffles? Sure, have them with some Marrow AND butter. Toast and eggs? Well, of course, but I’ll take mine with caviar, thank you very much. That’s how they do it over the border at Eugene’s Diner.


Yalla Organic Hummus and Grill: Middle Eastern, The Way YOU Want It in Fairfield

Restaurant Fairfield healthy Organic Mediterranean Fast Casual Lunch

Brett Levy

Yalla Organic Hummus and Grill has taken Fairfield County by storm. Yalla Organic is a consumer-oriented experience where you get to choose exactly how your lunch and dinner is prepared down to the last detail. This family-run business has quickly become a town staple of Fairfield…  and their hummus is making me question all previous hummus choices I have made.  


The Dilly Duck Shop in Norwalk: Checking In 18 Months Later + New Menu Additions

Restaurant Norwalk Lunch Sandwich Breakfast Homepage

Andrew Dominick

Eighteen months ago, a small eatery with an odd name opened in a strip mall on the Norwalk-Wilton line. It was then that our own April Guilbault clued readers in on what The Dilly Duck Shop was all about. 

Fast forward to present day. Word about The Dilly Duck Shop is getting out, and it’s all been positive for chef Russ Zappala and his mother, Phyllis, who runs the front of the house. “We’ve somehow maintained solid online ratings across the board, five stars,” Russ said. “We haven’t been able to fully commit to advertising, so we rely on that, and word of mouth. It spreads slowly, but we’ve noticed growth every month.” 

That word of mouth is what brought me to Dilly Duck in the first place. Locals talk about it, as do Fairfield County chefs. Zappala’s philosophy that’s worked so far is to grow organically with the community and create a menu that the people here yearn for. 

Dilly Duck is a darling amongst its regulars for a reason.


MIKU Sushi Opens in Greenwich-World Class Seafood at the Top of the Ave

Restaurant Sushi Openings Greenwich Lunch Seafood Homepage Japanese

Lou Gorfain

K Dong is beaming.  Not because his newly minted MIKU Sushi Restaurant in Greenwich has just opened to strong word-of-mouth and packed houses.   Nope, his delighted smile is the result of a diner’s one-word reaction to the Tuna Tartare: 

                                                   “Ethereal.”

That diner is me and I am quite impressed… as well as surprised. In most restaurants, TT has become a boring culinary meme — over sauced, over spiced, and overworked. K Dong’s version is totally understated.  Garnished with micro greens, the crimson slices crown a mound of vividly green avocado, which sits on a gossamer of Yuzu and a whisper of wasabi.  Rather than overwhelming the delicate flesh, like so many tartares, the sauce and spice enhance the pristine flavor of the Bluefin.   Yep, this dish is, indeed, “Ethereal.” 


Chocoylatte Gourmet Opens in Downtown Cos Cob, Greenwich

Restaurant Openings Bakery Chocolate Coffee Greenwich Cos Cob Dessert

CTbites Team

Downtown Cos Cob will be a lot sweeter with the much-anticipated grand opening of Chocoylatte Gourmet on Monday, July 8. The desserts & coffee shoppe, located at 121 E. Putnam Avenue will open its doors to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony beginning at 11am.

Chocoylatte Gourmet will offer an array of handmade freshly baked desserts, cookies, pastries and assorted fine chocolates made with the finest ingredients available in the market. Every treat will be prepared from scratch, every day and handcrafted on-site. For those with dietary sensitivities, the desserts & coffee shoppe will also offer gluten-free and lactose-free goodies, and promises to maintain the same high-quality ingredients baked with thoughtfulness and care. Guests will also enjoy recipes containing less sugar, no trans fats, non-GMO ingredients, no preservatives, no chemicals, no artificial preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, and no artificial flavors. 


CT Guide to Outdoor Dining (2019): 100 + Restaurants for Summer

Features Restaurant Best of CT Outdoor Dining Summer Patio RoofTop

Emma Jane-Doody Stetson

Summer lasts for about six weeks, and I want to soak up every glorious morsel of sunshine that I can while it is here!  I also want to partake in the delicious food the season has to offer.  Connecticut restaurants are making sure that we don’t have to choose between those two options.  Places across the state are opening up their patios, decks, and rooftop bars.  Here is a lift of over 130 restaurants where you can fine al fresco this summer.

Tavern on State, New Haven: Tavern on State, owned by Chef Emily Mingrone, is one of the latest to join the dozens of exceptional restaurants in the New Haven area.  There are 45 seats outdoors.

Birdman Juke Joint, Bridgeport: The much-anticipated restaurant from Chef Chris Scott will have some outdoor seating in Bridgeport’s Black Rock neighborhood.

High George, New Haven: High George, located at The Blake Hotel in New Haven, is a new three-season rooftop restaurant that features a full food and beverage menu inspired by Summers in New England.  James Beard-nominated Chef Tyler Anderson, along with partners A.J. Aurrichio and Tim Cabral, is overseeing its operations. 

Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill, Fairfield & New Haven: The Fairfield location of Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill has a large patio for al fresco dining with firepits for cold evenings.  In New Haven, enjoy their heated patio that is enclosed for year-round dining. 

Shell and Bones Oyster Bar, New Haven: Shell & Bones Oyster Bar in New Haven has a fabulous view of the water with floor to ceiling doors that are open in summer and a deck directly on the water complete with fire pits and patio heaters for chilly nights.  Dive into their Harbor Sampler or the Tower of Shells, with lobsters, clams, oysters, and shrimp. 


Gruel Britannia Opens in Southport: The British Are Here!

Restaurant British Lunch Breakfast Tea And Coffee Brunch Homepage

Andrew Dominick

Karen Hubrich will openly state that she’s not a classically trained chef. Despite that, she has certainly lived the life of a bonafide foodie. 

She grew up in London, in a household where her parents were avid cooks that often threw dinner parties and they believed in eating “good food.” Her love of cuisine only grew after time spent in Italy, but she credits a restaurant owner on the Greek island of Corfu with her first true kitchen lesson in which they made moussaka. 

There’s a lot more to Hubrich’s culinary origin story by our friend Dan Woog, but her past eventually led to chef gigs at the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn and Williams Club in Midtown. After that she was hired as Michael Bolton’s personal chef and had stints at the Fairfield County Hunt Club, as the executive chef for the New York Times dining room, and back to Connecticut to work at the Pequot Yacht Club. To boot, she even ran a private catering business through most of her chef life.

These days, you’ll find Hubrich doing her own thing in Southport. Chances are you’ve driven past Gruel Britannia on the Post Road and likely eased off the gas pedal as you wondered, “What is this?” 

At Gruel Britannia, Hubrich is going back to her London roots by cooking British food, a cuisine she once described as “diabolical.” Hubrich’s food is more refined. It’s brighter than the bland browns and beiges we picture when we think of old-world English grub.


Strega: Fine Italian & Neapolitan-Style Pizza in Branford

Restaurant Branford Italian Lunch Mediterranean

Kristin L. Wolfe

Get your passport, pronto!

The eight of you who read my work know about my passion for all things Italian: the espresso, the wine, the men (hmm, sore subject), the music (1990s Zucchero anyone?), but, when you have good, really good Italian food, it can truly be a spiritual experience.

And that just happened. At Strega in Branford. Owner and pizzaiolo Danilo Mongillo alongside his Chef Marco Giugliano have broken ground, dug their hands in, and come out with gold. Mongillo, from Puglianello in the Benevento region of Italy,  has been in Connecticut since 2014 and says he’s been so thankful for the Branford community for how welcoming they’ve been since the restaurant opened in 2016. 


Pop-Up Space Junction at North Seven Opens in Norwalk Featuring Food Trucks and More

Restaurant Food Truck Pop-Up Bar Norwalk Entertaining Catering Live Music

Andrew Dominick

Unless you live in one of the apartment complexes or take the train to and from Metro-North’s Merritt 7 Station you’ve likely never had a reason to go down Glover Avenue. That’s likely going to change with the opening of Junction at North Seven, a brand-new pop-up venue with a focus on food and drink.

Behind the idea of Junction on North Seven is Building and Land Technology (BLT), a development group that’s in charge of evolving of that part of Norwalk, and they’re doing it with a “live, work, play” approach. 

A major part of that “live, work, play” philosophy, and what Junction will feature, are local food trucks. Melt Mobile, Meˈstēzō Grill, Caffè Bon, Greek Style Grill, Cowabunga, Carmela’s Italian Kitchen, and DCW, an ice cream sundae truck that incorporates donuts, churros, and waffles into their creamy creations, have all made multiple appearances. 

Others that will soon sling food outside of Junction’s garage bays are Hapa, Angie’s Cocinita, Crazy Taco Mex, Planet Pizza, and The Chamo.


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!