Bailey’s Backyard Gets Farm-to-table Remake and Gains Chef Forrest Pasternack – Ridgefield, CT

22 Mar
Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard's Own Garden

Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard’s Own Garden (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

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Update:  Bailey’s Backyard is now open…read our review.

Elevating local ingredients.  That was the recurring theme to a recent talk we had with Forrest Pasternack, Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield.  We talked about Forrest’s amazing cooking a few months ago when he was Executive Chef at Morello Bistro in Greenwich, but he’s moved onto greener pastures…literally.  He’s been working with Sal Bagliavio, owner of Bailey’s Backyard to not only refocus the menu, but also to rework the philosophy, the heart, the body, and the soul of the restaurant as it undergoes some major changes.  While the restaurant is closed right now for renovations, you can expect an opening around the middle of April.  Let’s look a bit closer into how Forrest plans to inspire diners, fully embrace the philosophy of farm-to-table, get the community involved, and spread the love of all things local across Connecticut.

Planting the Seeds:  A Fresh Start, a Local Approach

Forrest knows Ridgefield. He grew up there and for a long time he’s been looking to get involved in the local food scene of a community and elevate the ingredients found nearby. With great excitement he shared, “I want to offer a showcase for local ingredients.” And, yes, he’ll be doing that…and not in your typical way, either. He’ll literally be planting seeds with his sous chef in the restaurant’s garden courtesy of Veronica’s Garden, will help nurture the seedlings, will reap the veggies, then will feature them in the dishes. For everything else, the staff will gather the freshest veggies, herbs, meats, and supplies every week from local farms. Some of the farms they plan to visit are Veronica’s Garden of Ridgefield, The Hickories of Ridgefield, and Maple Bank Farm of Roxbury. As for meat, he’s going local too such as Greyledge Farm in Roxbury. Even the wine menu at Bailey’s Backyard will be almost entirely local, with lots of Long Island and Connecticut vineyards showing up like Lieb Cellars (we love the wine and the vineyard itself) of Mattituck, NY; Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY; and DiGrazia of Brookfield, CT.

Farm pics

The Greenhouse at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

Watering the Seedlings: Nurturing the Restaurant, Nurturing the Community

Forrest told us that he wants to be a real driving force in the community in regards to food.  By keeping the menu at Bailey’s Backyard local, he’ll be helping to reach that goal.  In addition, he was sad to see that the farmers’ market in Ridgefield went away so he’s going to do whatever he can to try to bring one back.  But, it’s not just Forrest who is nurturing Bailey’s Backyard.  Chef Pasternack shared, “Sal, the owner, really understands food and he knows farms.  He knows local wineries.  And, whether people know it or not, he’s been a proponent of farm-to-table philosophy for a long time.”

Picking and Gathering the Crops:  Elevating Local Ingredients

As we mentioned, Bailey’s Backyard will have a farm and they will source their veggies, fruits, and meats from other local sources. And, yes, they’ll be preparing some amazing Modern American dishes with these, literally, down to earth ingredients. Forrest has put the finishing touches on the menu that will evolve as the crew at Bailey’s Backyard discover new ingredients or as the seasons change. Also exciting to us, is the Chef’s Tasting Menu, showcasing a seven course menu that changes every week.

Cattle at a local Connecticut farm

Cattle at Greyledge Farm in Roxbury, Connecticut (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

Preparing the Meal:  Fresh Food, Made from Scratch

They will be open for brunch, lunch, and dinner straight out of the gate, so you best get ready for some amazing meals. Before we even get to the meals, let’s get to some of the goodies that will be prepared for purchase to-go and even at other local stores: pickled veggies, vinegars, pies, sauces, and more. In addition, they’ll be creating their own charcuterie meats in-house. All their desserts will be made in-house and so will breads such as Irish soda bread and foccacia. For brunch, you can expect Forrest to use the amazing local corn and create beautiful corn cakes, pour out some vanilla maple syrup, and make use of all the clams we have available to us in beautiful clam chowders. And, if you’re lucky enough to stop by for lunch, you could order a 2, 3, or 4 course meal that will undoubtedly become the highlight of your day.

Seared Diver Scallop / Crispy Prosciutto / Reisling Poached Pear and CT Mache Lettuce with a Prosecco Beurre Blanc

Seared Diver Scallop / Crispy Prosciutto / Reisling Poached Pear and CT Mache Lettuce with a Prosecco Beurre Blanc ( photo courtesy Forrest Pasternack)

What’s on the Plate?

Here are some of the dishes that Chef Pasternack will be starting off with:

  • Local boneless pork shank with garnet potatoes, mirepoix vegetables, and roasted pork shu
  • Smoked Maine lobster ravioli with roasted red pepper glaze, lobster butter, garlic croutons, and basil oil
  • Arctic char with roasted romaine, acorn squash, sweet baby ginger, and port wine reduction
  • Pan seared halibut with Chef Forrest’s take on a wild mushroom arancini

Bailey’s Backyard will be embracing a snout to tail philosophy when it comes to meat, so expect lots of creative uses of overlooked meat selections.  In addition, you can’t go wrong with the pasta dishes with every single one being made in house, by hand.  We had Forrest’s garganelli bolognese at Morello Bistro. It was divine and ranks as one of the best pasta dishes in our books.

The Future

We haven’t been so excited about a restaurant opening in a while.  It’s one thing to have a farm-to-table restaurant, but it’s another to have a farm-to-table restaurant that completely embraces this culinary philosophy.  You have to admire a chef who not only makes it his mission to use fresh, local ingredients, but to also elevate the community around him in the process.  The building itself has been completely changed and renovated, so if you think you knew the old Bailey’s Backyard, get ready for some big changes.  Chef Forrest called the decor style Modern Farmhouse.

So, while Bailey’s Backyard has been open for 13 years and people typically associate that with bad luck, in Bailey’s Backyard’s case it’s good luck.  Sal, Forrest, and company will be, no doubt, plowing right ahead into the great, bold future…one seed, one garden, one farm, and one dish at a time.

Bailey’s Backyard

23 Bailey Avenue

Ridgefield, CT 06877

Phone:  (203) 431-0796

Bailey's Backyard on Urbanspoon

10 Responses to “Bailey’s Backyard Gets Farm-to-table Remake and Gains Chef Forrest Pasternack – Ridgefield, CT”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bailey’s Backyard Teams up w/ Berkshire Mountain Distillers + 109 Cheese for Decadent Dinner | OmNomCT - November 10, 2014

    […] same? Well, we’ve got to say that we felt the same kinda way when we first tasted the food of Chef Forrest Pasternack at Morello Bistro in Greenwich. And, having been to his new restaurant, Bailey’s Backyard in […]

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  2. In Bloom: A Review of Chef Pasternack’s Spring Menu @ Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield | OmNomCT - May 13, 2014

    […] been a year since Sal Bagliavio and Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack worked together tirelessly to give Bailey’s Backyard a new vibe, a new focus on local food, and a new soul.  When we went for a pre-opening dinner back in April […]

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  3. Chefs Pasternack, Storch, and Taibe Face Off at Battle of the Chefs for Founder Hall Fundraiser | OmNomCT - April 12, 2014

    […] 1:  Chef Forrest Pasternack of Bailey’s Backyard in […]

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  4. Food and Drink Aplenty @ 15th Annual Taste of Ridgefield | OmNomCT - January 16, 2014

    […] many reasons. First up, it’s home to our favorite restaurant, Bailey’s Backyard with Chef Forrest Pasternack at the helm. Ridgefield was also recently noted as the place that has the highest restaurant to […]

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  5. 3rd Annual OmNomys: Celebrating the Best in Food in Fairfield County, 2013 | OmNomCT - December 18, 2013

    […] Bailey’s Backyard is a reboot of a successful restaurant, Chef Forrest Pasternack has turned it into a locavore’s dream.  That’s because […]

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  6. Bailey’s Backyard Hosts Local Farmers for Ultimate Farm-to-table Dinner | OmNomCT - October 28, 2013

    […] might remember back in March we interviewed Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack (formerly of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) and we saw how deeply devoted he and Sal Bagliavio (the […]

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  7. Chefs Pasternack, Stonbely, and Ostrander to kick off Ridgefield Farmers’ Market Chef Series | OmNomCT - October 3, 2013

    […] we talked with Chef Forrest Pasternack as he and owner Sal Bagliavio prepared to reopen Bailey’s Backyard, he told us of one of his […]

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  8. Elevated, True Farm to Table at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield, CT: Restaurant Review | OmNomCT - May 2, 2013

    […] we talked with Forrest Pasternack (former Executive Chef of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) a few weeks ago, we couldn’t help but […]

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  9. Morello Bistro: A Tour Through Chef Pasternack’s Tasty Tasting Menu – Greenwich, CT | OmNomCT - May 1, 2013

    […]  Chef Forrest Pasternack has left Morello and is now Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard.  Taking his place is Executive Chef Kevin […]

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  10. The Best Warm Weather Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Fairfield County | OmNomCT - April 10, 2013

    […] Bailey’s Backyard […]

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