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Amen: CT Passes Growler Fills at Restaurants + Pubs; Expands Liquor Store + Winery Hours

4 Jun

Cone Flakes DIPA Growler at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in Hartford, CT

Starting on July 1, you’ll be able to hit up your favorite restaurant or pub and get a growler fill to take with you to go. Yup, life is great!

For the past few years, there have been many different attempts to give the consumer more power in Connecticut when it comes to beer choices. Some have met with great success like expanding hours and opening on Sundays and holidays, while others like allowing restaurants and bars to fill up growlers have gotten steamrolled time and time again. Well, that changed with the passing of yesterday’s budget.

According to §§ 78-82 — ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR POLICIES, under Subsection Beer Growlers (§§ 78-80), 

The bill allows restaurant, café, and tavern alcohol permittees to sell at retail permittee-provided and sealed containers with draught beer for off-premises consumption. In the case of a restaurant permittee, the bill (1) additionally requires that the containers be filled by the permittee and (2) prohibits manufacturer, out-of-state shipper, and wholesale permittees from supplying the restaurant permittee with the authorized containers or any draught system component, other than tapping accessories.

These retail sales are limited to (1) four liters of beer per day to any individual and (2) the authorized hours for off-premises alcohol consumption sales (see below). 

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

What does that mean, in plain English?

Any pub, cafe, or restaurant that has the proper liquor permits can sell you sealed containers of beer from their taps for you to drink off-site. The two stipulations to be aware of are:

1) You can only buy up to 4 liters of beer per day per individual per bar/restaurants. That equals 2 growler (64 oz. in a growler) fills. So, if you’re trying to stock up for a party, you could always have a friend get some growlers or go to another bar or restaurant nearby. Not that we’re telling you how to skirt around the law. No, certainly not.

2) You need to buy these growlers within open store hours, not at 1 am or closing time. BUT, good news…the budget includes new hours.

We asked Gerard Robertson, owner of Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford about his thoughts regarding this and he shared, “Being able to offer any of our 72 craft beers on tap to a craft beer enthusiast with a growler is fantastic! This is great news for everyone — micro brewers, bars & restaurants, and most important everyone who loves craft beer.”

Expanded Liquor Store Hours (also effective July 1, § 82)

Sunday hours will be 10-6

Monday-Saturday hours will be 8 am-10 pm

The only exception to these hours are non-sale days of Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Christmas

Farm wineries, nonprofit golf tournaments, and farmers’ markets wine sellers can sell up to 10 pm now, too. By doing this, the hours for wine tastings are similarly expanded. 

More Owners

And, last of all, recently passed is, “The number of package store or druggist liquor permits in which a person may have an interest from (1) three to four, on July 1, 2015 and (2) four to five, on July 1, 2016.” People have very mixed feelings about this change, some stating that it could lead to monopolies that squeeze out the smaller packies and mom and pop shops throughout CT. 

David Cingari of David’s Soundview Catering Opens Cafe 1000 in Bridgeport

13 Feb
David Cingari and Mayor Finch make it official on Feb 12 (photo from David's Soundview Catering)

David Cingari and Mayor Finch make it official on Feb 12 at the Cafe 1000 Grand Opening party!  Just a note:  not sure we can trust him with scissors that big!  Eeek.  (all photos from David’s Soundview Catering)

David Cingari is. the. man.  He’s a graduate of not only New Haven Hotel & Restaurant Management, but also of the Culinary Institute of America.  On a personal level, he is probably one of the nicest and most hilarious guys that you’ll ever met, and he’s also the proud owner and Head Chef of David’s Soundview Catering in Stamford.  We got to know him and the DSC crew at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s Maple Sugar Chef’s Challenge, and at many charitable events that they support and help organize.  Needless to say, when it comes to awesome food like their redonkulous taco bar that we tasted at Fine Food for a Cause, they’ve got it all under control.  And, with over 25 years under their belts, David’s Soundview Catering has garnered an excellent reputation, becoming a staple in the community.

Stamford…and now Bridgeport

Well, we’ve got some great news to share with you:  David’s expanded a bit out of Stamford with the recent addition (opened 5 weeks ago) of Cafe 1000.  His idea for this brand new restaurant?  Offer up some great, high quality breakfast and lunch options for the good people of Bridgeport.  The area they moved into (the ground floor at 1000 Lafayette Street) will soon house over 600 new apartment units, is close to 95, the train, and even the waterfront.  Plus, Bridgeport is a great and growing alternative for young professionals with costs noticeably more affordable than Stamford.

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Win a Bareburger Gift Card and Sir Kensington’s Condiment 4 Pack

10 Feb

What’s ironic about the name Bareburger is that you’d be crazy to ever order a bare burger there.  What, with all the different kinds of patties like beef, wild boar, ostrich, turkey, fried chicken, lamb, and wild boar, all the different burgers on the menu, or the countless options and toppings in order to make your own Barest Burger, you’d seriously have to be cray cray to order just a patty.

Well, whatever burger, sides, or shakes you order, things just got a bit saucier!  That’s because Bareburger is testing out a new ketchup in 5 select locations: Ridgefield, Park Slope, Chelsea, 73rd Street on the Upper East Side, and their Astoria location.  But, we’re not talking about just any old ketchup.  We’re talking about Sir Kensington’s, a gourmet, all-natural, non-GMO ketchup that some great restaurants like ABC Kitchen, Sarabeth’s, and Spotted Pig in NYC use.  Visit any of these locations, try out Bareburger’s new ketchup, then leave your feedback via comment card.

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Could Dew Drop Inn Have the Biggest (and Best) Variety of Wings in the World? – Derby, CT

29 Jan

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When we hit up Dew Drop Inn last year, we were amazed at the variety of wings available.  We’re not talking about just “Mild,” “Spicy,” and “Atomic,” either.  We had to pick through 41 varieties!  So, we had settled on their Peanut Butter & Jelly wings which rocked our worlds and loved the Parmesan Butter Bacon wings.  Truly, we knew this was the place to go for all our hot wing needs and was a nice stop after a few drinks at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford.

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Beautiful Bites of the Caribbean at Cafe Turnier in Norwalk

22 Jan

Cafe Turnier in Norwalk Sign

Update:  we’re sad to report that Cafe Turnier is now closed, though the plan is to now continue catering. (1/29/14)

We’d be willing to bet many of you have a mental to-eat list of restaurants you want to go to.  And, we’d also be willing to bet that on that list, you don’t have many unsuspecting little hidden gems. Those tiny little, hole-in-the-wall hotspots that not a lot of people realize are amazing. After all, that’s why they’re called hidden gems. Well, our list had one of those spots on it, Cafe Turnier in Norwalk,  and we finally had our chance to hit it up.

Owner and chef Ernst “Ernie” Turnier was kind enough to invite us in to meet up, talk, and try out some dishes.  Who were we to refuse such an invite?  And, who were we to refuse when Ernie asked us if we liked spicy food and if we loved Haitian and Caribbean food?  Duh, duh, and more duh.

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Gourmet Burgers + Classic Cool: Bick’s Burgers and Fries Opening in Danbury

20 Jan

Bick'sBurgersDanbury

Chef Michael Bick is the man.  Not only does he own the ever popular Some Things Fishy Catering based out of Hat City, but he is a major supporter of local food and farms. This can be seen at his farm to table dinners (literally) at Holbrook Farms where he gets the majority of the ingredients for each stunning meal. Having been to two of his dinners, we can clearly say that this guy’s got some major culinary cred.

So, you could imagine how happy we were for him when he announced his brand new restaurant, Bick’s Burgers and Fries. He teased a few dishes on the Facebook page, but ever the curious OmNomivores, we asked to learn more and he oh so graciously agreed.

Starting off, Bick’s Burgers is right off of the main green in Downtown Danbury, located at 14 Ives Street. (On the way over, you’ll notice Sky Bar & Lounge, run by none other than 18 year old Ian Bick, Chef Bick’s son.) If you’re familiar with Danbury, this brand new burger joint took over Fat Wedge University.  Chef Bick, his son, and the burger crew have been working hard on repairs, cleaning, and gussying up the place…and it’s paid off.  The 26 seat Bick’s Burgers has swivel high tops at the counter, comfy booths, and a classic red, white, and black theme going on.  

Now, let’s show you a few key things that are destined to make Bick’s Burgers and Fries a go-to burger joint.

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Steam Coffee Bar Opens 2nd Location at Westport Train Station

15 Jan

Steam Coffee Bar Westport

It seemed like it was the perfect idea:  give Metro North customers (and locals) a few good things to make their morning better and the commute into NYC just a little bit more manageable.  And, Steam Coffee Bar did just that when they opened up inside the Green’s Farms train station.  There Briana Pennel and Chris Barrett had created a coffee shop that featured CT-based Shearwater Coffee Roasters, breakfast sandwiches, and plenty of freshly baked goods and pastries courtesy of Briana.

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Lorca in Stamford Opens Online Shop for Coffee, Tea, Pies, and More

14 Jan

Lorca Online Store Merchandise

Fairfield County can’t get enough of Lorca cafe in the heart of Downtown Stamford (we can’t either, voting them the Best Cafe in Fairfield County for 2013).  And, now it’s even easier than ever to get your Lorca fix with the addition of their brand shiny new online shop.  Not only will you be able to place orders for convenient (and free) pick-up at the store, but you’ll also be able to have anything shipped right to your door.

Holidays?

Family over?

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Breakfast, Lunch + Caffeine Fixes @ The Granola Bar – Westport, CT

24 Nov

All pictures from The Granola Bar’s Facebook Page

What started as two women, Julie Levitt and Dana Noorily, making granola in Westport, soon expanded out to more of Connecticut.  Now, when you look at where OATS Granola is sold, you’d be amazed to see that it’s sold not only in CT, but also in NY and MA too.   And, after trying four of their flavors, we definitely see why OATS has become so popular, even being placed for sale in Whole Foods Markets and The Fresh Market.

Well,  Julie and Dana will be giving you another way to get your OATS:  right at their brand new restaurant, The Granola Bar.  It’s located in Playhouse Square at 275 Post Road East and is set to open on December 6.  There won’t be just granola, though.

Starting off, you’ll be able to get your caffeine fix at The Granola Bar with the help of barista Crissi Grimaldi.  Whether you want some drip coffee, a pour over, shots of espresso, a capp, a latte, tea, tea latte, dirty chai, or whatever…they’ve got you covered.  And, if you happen to be a latte fiend, they’ve got 5 different styles:  Mocha, Nutella, Turkish, Salted Caramel, and even Peppermint Mocha.

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Eclectic brings the luncheonette and take-out to New Canaan

22 Oct

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We’re big fans of restaurants that don’t fit into a mold and aren’t your typical spot.  Enter in Eclectic Luncheonette of New Canaan.  Opened for just a week, Eclectic is owned by Robert Milano, who is also the chef.  He got his start in cooking 10 years ago when he was a short order cook for a swim club and worked his way up to sous chef at the Royal Green Restaurant in Stamford.  He even earned a degree from The International Culinary Center so he could focus on his dream:  owning his own restaurant.

And now the dream has come true.  Eclectic is open with 22 seats, serving lunch at the restaurant and is also bringing great quality take-out.  Stop by for your mid-day snack from 11:30 am to 6 pm and check out their signature salads, make your own salad, sandwiches, soups, melts, and soufflés.  Here are some of the standouts that we noticed on the menu that we’re excited to try:

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