Fairfield County enjoys flurry of new restaurants

Gofer Ice Cream’s new Ridgefield location opens on November 21. Contribution photo.

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of new Fairfield County restaurants that have opened or are ready for a near start. But while this new wave of restaurants and takeout offers more dining options in the region, many businesses in the local restaurant industry are still feeling the impact of the economic effects of the Covid pandemic. 19 on the sector.

First of all, the good news. The Glenville section of Greenwich will be home to The Country Table, which opens this month at 1 Glenville Street. It will be the first brick-and-mortar retail store operated by hotel company Geoff Lazlo Food, which operates Greenwich’s Mill Street Bar. & Catering tables.

According to the company’s website, The Country Table will feature a “hand-made selection of gourmet sandwiches, made-to-order salads, appetizers prepared for the whole family, premium coffee, baked goods made to order. homemade and spoon ice cream “.

Chef Geoff Lazlo, Founder and Managing Partner of Geoff Lazlo Food, was previously at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester County and The Farm and The Whelk in Westport before launching Mill Street Bar & Table in 2015.

Further east along the shore, Salsa Fresca Mexican Grill has opened its 12th location in Playhouse Square at 275 Post Road East in Westport. The restaurant opened on November 8 and held a grand opening and inauguration ceremony on November 13 at 11 a.m. Westport first head coach Jim Marpe presided over a ceremony that included free food and gifts of Salsa Fresca equipment as well as double reward points awarded to all Salsa Rewards program members in attendance.

Salsa Fresca is also busy building another Fairfield County site at 2222 Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield which was occupied by Qdoba Mexican Eats until this chain closed operations in Connecticut in 2018. No opening date has been set for the new restaurant. .

“This is an exciting time for the entire Salsa Fresca team,” said Eric Friedman, COO of Salsa Fresca.

Salsa Fresca has Connecticut branches in Danbury, New Haven and West Hartford; it also has branches in New York at Bedford Hills, Carmel, Cross River, LaGrange, Mamaroneck, Peekskill, Poughkeepsie and Yorktown.

Another regional chain is also becoming more ubiquitous in Fairfield County. Ice cream chain Gofer held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 21 for its seventh location at 407 Main Street in Ridgefield, taking over the space left vacant last year by lingerie store Candlelight Shoppe, which moved to another city location.

Gofer Ice Cream also announced plans for two more locations in early 2022: Turkey Hill Mall at 1240 Post Road in Westport and Ridgeway 2367 Summer St. Mall in Stamford; the company celebrating its 10e anniversary in business in 2022, has another location in Stamford at 869 High Ridge Road and stores in Cos Cob, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan and Wilton.

An expansion mode is experienced by Green & Tonic, a herbal restaurant which celebrates its 10e anniversary next year, opened its sixth location on Nov. 29 with a groundbreaking ceremony at its 21 Forest St. location in New Canaan. The chain emphasizes healthy eating with a gluten-free, vegan and organic menu of salads, wraps, snacks and cold-pressed juices; Green & Tonic also offers nutritional meal programs and detox programs.

Green & Tonic also operates restaurants in Darien, Cos Cob, Westport, Fairfield and across the border from Westchester to Rye while maintaining its Chief Commissary in Stamford.

“Green & Tonic is rooted in plant-based superfood ingredients, and we’re excited to be able to answer the call about how people eat today,” said Gabriel Sorgi, president of the chain, who added that his “menu is designed by a chef, inspired by the seasons and constantly changing.

However, not all the news about Fairfield County restaurants is positive: The owners of popular Mackenzie’s Bar & Grill announced on Facebook that the American cuisine restaurant at 970 High Ridge Road in Stamford closed on November 24.

“Over the past 15 years, we’ve had the pleasure of being not only your ‘go-to’ neighborhood bar and restaurant, but also your place to share memories and friendships with those you love most,” said the announcement on Facebook. “You have all been like family to us and we thought it was important to let you know now, so that you have time to stop by, enjoy your favorite meals and see the staff who were there to help you. brighten up your day and have welcomed you into your hearts over the years.

Mackenzie management added that it was “embracing a silver lining as a few operators have expressed interest in leasing the space and perhaps continuing with the Mackenzie name and spirit.” We’ll be keeping our social media accounts and our website alive so that we can help spread the word if anything happens, because we know how important this place has become to many.

The restaurant industry is still struggling to resume pre-pandemic activity, with more than 600 restaurants closed statewide since Covid-19 took hold.

“We are still 23,000 jobs short before the pandemic in our industry,” Scott Dolch, president and CEO of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, recently told the Business Journal, noting that job seekers “are taking the stand that they can just go to the restaurant next door and get whatever pay they want – which is only sometimes the case. Even some of Connecticut’s best restaurants have to cut their hours or are now closed on certain days. “

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