From old favorites opening additional locations to brand new spots, here's a look at some new and interesting places that entered the Connecticut dining scene recently.
The 4,000-square-foot pizzeria features a double-height bar dining area, full bar with cocktails, a mezzanine and floor-to-ceiling windows, along with a dedicated fulfillment area for takeout and delivery.
66 Summer St., @sallysapizza.
Ward 9, which opened in early September, replaces the former J.P. Dempsey’s in New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood. Owners Dennis Beaulieu and Carmela Buono, who took over J.P.’s in 2018, noted that Ward 9 would be an “updated” version of the former bar, with casual food like nachos, potato skins, chicken wings and build-your-own-burgers. (But the "Joe's Chicken" dish, that dates back to the bar's original owner, is still around.)
974 State St., @ward9newhaven
Tony Camilleri adds a new fast-casual Mexican spot to his collection of Spanish-inspired restaurants (Toro Loco in Farmington, Toro Taberna in West Hartford). His new street-food eatery is built for quick meals, takeout and delivery, offering tacos, quesadillas, burritos and bowls, salads, burgers and family meals. Other specialties include antojitos (small bites like street corn esquites, pork belly and fried plantains), and a Mexican-style corn dog with chorizo wrapped in corn masa. Like Camilleri’s other restaurants, Toro Mexican’s menu is fully gluten-free.
Lovebird, a Pennsylvania-based chicken restaurant, opened its first Connecticut location in Fairfield in mid-October. The menu features two- and four-piece fried chicken meals, a whole-bird option and popcorn chicken with choice of sauces. Specialty sandwiches, salads and bowls are available with either fried or miso-garlic grilled chicken, and there’s a tofu option for vegetarians and vegans.
2385 Black Rock Tpke., @lovebird.pa.
The team behind the former HartFood ghost kitchen has created a new food concept at Bristol’s Better Half Brewing.
Wicked Brick Kitchen offers two menus: BirriaDilla, Mexican-inspired fare including “birriadillas” (a cross between birria tacos, burritos and quesadillas) and sides like loaded street corn and rice and beans, and Wicked Brick Pizza, with thin-crust artisan pizzas.
Food is also available for takeout and delivery through third-party apps. 59 N. Main St., @betterhalfbrewing.
Dante Cistulli is an experienced pizzaiolo, with a resume full of experience at celebrated Greater Hartford spots like Naples in Farmington and Savoy in West Hartford. He and his wife Stephanie debuted the new Zephyr's Street Pizza in late September, with creative pies like the OG Street Taco (braised Calabrian pork, fontina, pico, parsley, lime crème fraiche, shredded napa cabbage); a truffle pie with robiolina and fontina cheeses, and the Yardbird, with braised chicken thigh, honey sriracha and pickle relish.
968 Farmington Ave. (behind the building, facing the Brace Road parking lot), @zephyrsstreetpizza.
James Bloom and Jeff Dunn partnered for the new brewery, which officially opened Oct.1 with head brewer Roger Krackow (formerly of Two Roads). The 4,700-square-foot production facility and taproom is in the historic former J. & J. Cash mill building, three blocks from the South Norwalk Metro-North station. Spacecat’s opening beer list featured a Marzen, a double dry-hopped IPA, a fruited gose, American and Belgian blonde ales, and New England and West Coast-style IPAs.
57 Chestnut St., @spacecatbrewingco.
Orange’s first winery opened in July, owned by three Italian-American sisters. More than 5,000 vines grow on the property, and Stappa’s current wine offerings include Cayuga, rosé, chardonnay, Marquette and Chambourcin. The tasting room also serves frosé (frozen rosé), craft beer and charcuterie boxes.
403 Derby Tpke. (Route 34), @stappavineyard.