Milestone Restaurant is redefining the idea of a neighborhood gathering spot offering made from scratch, simply prepared food with bold flavors and classic cocktails that are served up in a stylish yet understated setting. Drawing inspiration from the unique character of the area (the restaurant is on the site of a former lumber yard) owners Peter and Andi Fine aspire to do more than serve great food. The restaurant has been designed to be not only a welcoming gathering spot, but also to showcase fun and unique food events. (Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted!)
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Some restaurants transcend time and location, destined to linger in collective memory for decades after their passing. From the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’OOs, Basel’s, Robert Henry’s, Roomba and Ibiza, respectively, are still fondly remembered by longtime New Haven residents. Of all the eateries currently operating in the foodie Mecca that is West Hartford, the one destined to linger longest in memory is probably Restaurant Bricco, which chef-owner Billy Grant opened in 1996 at the tender age of 29.
Italian Restaurant Bricco is not Grant’s sole contribution to the Greater Hartford culinary landscape, however. Situated just around the corner in WeHa, Grants Restaurant & Bar, which opened in 2000, has tempted diners with a modern bistro ambiance, elevated American comfort food and spectacular dessert making, while Bricco Trattoria, which opened in Glastonbury in 2010 and has been a boon to the communities east of the Connecticut River, follows a blueprint similar to that of Restaurant Bricco.
From the made-to-order ice cream billowing with liquid nitrogen clouds and those crazy waffle-like Bubblecones, to the waiting line of people all abuzz and happy customers donning their blue cookie butter ice cream tongues, Milkcraft continues to make its mark on Connecticut’s local and adventurous food enthusiasts. The first Milkcraft opened in Fairfield in the spring of 2016, with a second location popping up in West Hartford one year later, and now a third location marks the brand’s 3-year anniversary with the addition of their soon-to-be-open New Haven locale.
Connecticut Magazine recently sited Gaudi Tapas and Wine as one of their favorite restaurants for 2018. We thought you should take a look…and taste.
Saray Ruiz saw something in the little house-like building off Route 37. The one with the small parking lot and everyday architecture. The one others drove by thousands of times without a second glance.
I’m going to open a restaurant there one day, she’d tell her twin sister, Noemi Ruiz, and anyone else who would listen to her dream. “It’s not going to happen,” Noemi would say.
At the time, a few years back, the spot was home to a Mexican restaurant. Saray had a feeling that would change and thought the cozy spot could host a restaurant inspired by her childhood in Lleida, a small town in the Catalonia region of Spain, within driving distance of Barcelona. This past fall, when she and her once-skeptical twin opened Gaudí Tapas and Wine, her dream became a reality.
And what a dream it is.
A few years after opening Liberty Rock Tavern in the Devon section of Milford, Chef Dan Kardos now has his sequel. A stone’s throw from Sikorsky—and 10 minutes from Liberty Rock—is Kardos’ new concept, Oar & Oak. For Stratford residents, there’s that “Oh, yeah…” moment, but if you’re not from around there, the restaurant’s name is a play on words—it’s in Stratford’s Oronoque neighborhood.
Much like Liberty Rock, Oar & Oak is very much focused on the area’s locals. “I want it to grow slowly, and become a neighborhood hangout,” Kardos said. “It used to be the original Parker Eatery—a favorite around here—so we freshened it up and gave it a new look.” The woodwork, brick walls, hanging lights, and periwinkle/grey/white tones in the space contribute to Oar & Oak’s casual, come-as-you-are vibe.
We just had to share this great article from Best Things Connecticut, highlighting the 10 Best Places for Dessert in Connecticut. It’s a solid list. Check it out.
If you find yourself craving something sweet or really need to treat yourself after a tiring day, don’t worry as the Nutmeg State has numerous places to grab a decadent treat. Look at the glorious array of colorful baked goods behind the glass counters, place your order, and sink into a cozy spot to enjoy anything from cupcakes to Italian and French pastries to traditional German sweets. With a little cup of coffee or tea to balance out the sweet, you’ll sure be feeling refreshed in no time.
If you already have a bevy of Chinese menus with sauce stains in your house that no longer excite you, Ren Dumpling & Noodle House in Norwalk may just become your new “go to.” Tucked in the corner of a vast shopping plaza in Wilton, Ren Dumpling & Noodle House seems to be far from overlooked. This cozy and clean joint was bustling with hungry customers dining in and picking up takeaway.
Full disclosure: I lived in Hong Kong for five years, therefore, with five years experience consuming copious amounts of dumplings under my belt, my curiosity was piqued although my expectations may have been skewed. Ren isn’t all about the dumplings, however. In fact, the rest of the menu showcases an impressive amount of options you would see on most Chinese menus, with the addition of the odd Thai or Vietnamese dish or two, which seems to be standard these days.
From Granby to Madison, Kent to Killingly, good eats abound in our beautiful Nutmeg State. It was our task for Hearst Publishing this year to determine the top of the heap, the creme de la creme and the cherries on top of this statewide sundae. So, after an abundance of hours honing in on the gems, we now offer to you our Top 100 restaurants in Connecticut! This list was created for our co-branded Top 100 Dining & Drinks guide we create for Hearst Media. The establishments on this list are not necessarily new, but they do happen to represent the very best CT has to offer for 2018. Our hope is that you enjoy exploring new flavors, maybe discover a new corner of the state that you haven’t visited before, and make memories with new culinary experiences. And hey, please add your favorites in the comment section if they don’t happen to appear on this list. Connecticut is truly brimming with deliciousness.
Note: Limiting this list to 100 was challenging for the team. We lacked the bandwidth to include all of our favorite “delicious dives: and “hidden gems,” but you can find those on CTbites.com.
Sick of the same old greasy bar food consumed with flavorless big beer brands while out with colleagues or friends on Friday night? Me too. Skip the ho-hum bar and head directly to The Social, a relatively new spot on Bank Street in New London. Providing a new and much needed hang-out spot, the Social gives diners great food, a family-friendly atmosphere, and an extensive beer list; it definitely knocks it out of the park as a new place to spend Fridays after work or Saturday evenings with family or friends.
Largest Selection of Craft Beers on Draft in Southeast CT
The Social has selected hyper-local, local, regional, and U.S. beers, serving a whopping 50 on draft.
A sous vide chicken sandwich is a minor detail, but the minor details make major taste differences - and that makes all the difference for your customers. That's what Roost believes. Completely locally owned and operated, the menu starts with the chicken sandwich - but with several twists: starting with a unique sous vide cooking technique which creates an incredibly juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside sandwich, and continues with a variety of unique toppings from Napa Cabbage Slaw to Carolina Reaper Pepper Buffalo Sauce that you won't see at just any fast casual restaurant.
Fairfielders were very disappointed when they learned that The Original Bagel King had closed its doors at its Brick Walk location. Brick Walk Tavern now occupies the space along with the former restaurant next door and is being very well received by locals. The restaurant opened by Chef David Snyder and former financial executive and Fairfield resident Ted Vincent offer guests what they describe as “food with integrity” – high-end options that are approachable and familiar as well as those that might be seen as pushing the envelope slightly. The atmosphere inside upscale yet casual. A long bar at the back has a midcentury modern vibe, while the leather couch in front of the fireplace offers the coziness and quaintness of an historic New England town.
You may recognize this byline from CTbites, but this sweet reporting by Kristin L. Wolfe rounds up a list of the best spots in CT for Hot Chocolate, via Connecticut Magazine.
When the temperature drops and you’ve reached your quota for coffee or tea for the day, hot chocolate may just be your answer. And, although it won’t remove the stresses from your life, it will warm the belly and light up the kid within.
I recently satisfied my sweet tooth at many spots around the state that are pretty proud of their hot (and cold) chocolate delights. After you’ve read through the rundown, be sure to chime in with any other places that offer delectable, drinkable chocolate creations.
Although coffee courses throughout this cozy nook, where you can play Scrabble, grab a quirky mug, and cuddle up on a couch, you’d be surprised by the hot chocolate offerings. Their Mexican hot cocoa surprises with a spicy zing, while the tropical hints from the coconut hot cocoa remind you of summer despite the chill outside. The Campfire is an especially fun treat in which the marshmallows on top are torched to a perfect bonfire char. 22 Mill Plain Road, Danbury, 203-942-2653, facebook.com/rumorsofdanbury
Get ready for the Rolls-Royce of chocolate. In every way you can imagine, your senses will reach their peak at this gorgeous sweet boutique. With sleek red cases and black-and-white, polka-dotted packaging, this shop tucked away in a plaza is a tiny amusement park for chocolate fans. Le Rouge’s hot chocolate treats are not for the faint of heart. From a rich, dark blend topped with a piece of their signature polka-dotted chocolate that melts into the drink, to a white chocolate with dried raspberries or rose petals — yes, rose petals — these drinks are fancy and an experience. Chocolatier and owner Aarti Khosla even offers white chocolate with saffron and pistachios. 190 Main St., Westport, 203-293-6106, lerougebyaarti.com
Zaragoza’s tapas bar opened in New Milford in April 2016. The CTBites crew covered them a few months before their official opening and shared owner Artie Praino’s anticipation of a long-time dream come true after years in the deli business. Now, two and a half years later, they are a much beloved, popular spot for delicious, creative plates and cocktails.
Fully informed by several Zaragoza regulars that I was sure to be delighted, my belly gurgled for a new tapas experience. I’ve had the pleasure of going to Spain a few times, so, admittedly, morsels from those adventures like ceviche, calamari, and chorizo propelled me to the restaurant with little hesitation. I was eager to taste what their twist on the classics would be.
Treat your loved ones or take time for yourself this holiday season by making reservations for a really special, festive event at the Bee and Thistle Inn in Old Lyme—their annual Holiday Afternoon Tea. The quaint Bee and Thistle Inn is quintessential coastal Connecticut in its interior decor and is a recommended place to visit year-round. But during the short winter days, the Bee and Thistle Inn gets extra dolled up with holiday spirit, making it a memorable place to spend time with loved ones. This special tea is served from November 29th through January 5th.
Lately, I’ve heard a lot about Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand, a roadside dive that’s been open for 90 years and counting. Blackie’s came up in casual conversation twice; the founder of this site, Stephanie Webster, heard about it from a friend, then a friend of mine mentioned it. Shortly thereafter, Visit Connecticut posted a list of “8 Classic Summer Drive-Ins” with Blackie’s being one of the featured haunts. Well, now I had to check it out. That’s no coincidence, that’s a sign!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this charming eatery in the heart of Ridgefield, Bailey’s Backyard first opened its doors nearly 20 years ago as a neighborhood coffee shop before transforming itself into a charming American restaurant with a simple concept; offer exceptional seasonal cuisine in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. It would soon become a neighborhood hot spot, offering locals a new dining experience. Several years ago Bailey’s evolved once again and the restaurant is now a farm-to-table establishment with a mission to create a menu based on the freshest local sources. Today meat and produce are still gathered from nearby farms, both in New York and Connecticut, and Seafood is garnered from Connecticut, Massachusetts and the Chesapeake Bay.
I was recently invited to sample Bailey’s new Market Table Tasting Menu offered every Wednesday night. A new menu is introduced each week, giving diners the opportunity to try something new each time. The menu is Prix Fixe, $40 for four courses or $65 for the four courses and a wine pairing.
When I first covered Rob VanKeuren more than a year ago, I found him in the early morning hours baking countless loaves of bread and hundreds of croissants at Lombardi’s Trattoria in the Georgetown section of Wilton.
A lot has changed since then.
customers—over to a larger space at GrayBarns, where he sold loaves and pastries out of a barn.
Unfortunately for VanKeuren’s sourdough-obsessed following, his stint at GrayBarns was short-lived. As a result, his sought-after bread for public sale disappeared for a bit.
Some months after, VanKeuren announced something more exciting, plans to open a bakery of his own, right next door to NEAT in Downtown Darien.
And now, it’s finally come to fruition.
Donut Crazy is happy to announce the opening of its newest location in West Hartford today. The store, located at 993 Farmington Avenue, offers all of Donut Crazy’s food and beverage items.
For those uninitiated into Donut Crazy’s world of over-the-top sugary doughnut confections, this location feels like a giant step forward both in selection and ambiance. All of their baked goods are made in-house in a Donut Crazy Kitchen by an overnight team of bakers. In West Hartford, Donut Crazy will offer its typical selection of “Dailies” and “Crazies.”
The Tasty Yolk, gourmet breakfast sandwich truck, is excited to announce the opening of their third location at 1916 Post Rd in Fairfield. You can find them cooking up decadently delicious breakfast fare 6 days a week Tuesday - Sunday. They will be open from 7am-12pm Tuesday-Friday and 8am- 1pm Sat & Sunday, (unless there is a private event to tend to). The truck will be parked right in front of the now closed Mrs. Greens Natural Market, on the southbound side of Post Road. Commuters can text in their orders to 203-726-6520.
The menu is small, but mighty. Each sandwich includes two freshly cracked eggs with high quality fixings pressed inside- gourmet rifts on the bacon, egg, and cheese. There is also $5 burrito and a griddled smashed potato side for $1. We are somewhat addicted.