Georgetown Saloon will reopen
In 1987, Bob Manere walked into the Georgetown Saloon and met his future wife, though he didn’t know it at the time.
“My brother brought me in here and said you’ve got to meet Robin,” Manere said recently.
“We sat right in that corner,” he said, pointing towards one end of the saloon’s dining room. “We started talking on a Tuesday night, and on Friday she went out to dinner with me, and we’ve been together ever since.”
Which is funny, he added, as “she could have done a lot better than me.”
So, as it stands, the new operating partner of the Georgetown Saloon has more than money invested into the business; he’s a Weston native who still remembers the saloon’s glory days.
“This is an iconic place and it’s been here forever. It opened in 1978, and I graduated from Weston High School in 1979. I’ve been coming here since it opened.”
“You always want to be the best,” and when you take over an existing icon like the Saloon, “sometimes all you have to do is grease the wheels,” Manere said. “You make the space work better, upgrade the food where you can and just make things happen.”
If all goes well, Manere said the Saloon will reopen this month, looking like a closer match to its roots as a local saloon.
“We want people to recognize it as the Georgetown Saloon,” he said. “It’s not going to be a cowboy bar, but there will be some reference to the nostalgia while it will remain a comfortable place to bring your kids and family.”
The menu at the Saloon will be populated with classic American fare, including a small selection of dinner entrees, like steaks, chops and seafood at night.
Though not confirmed yet, the owner has thought about starting a brunch menu for Sunday.
A lighter menu of sandwiches and homemade sides will also be available for lunch and dinner, including gourmet burgers, wraps and classic sandwiches.
All of the mayonnaise, aiolis, french fries and onion rings will be made on site, Manere said, and his wife will make all of the desserts.
The saloon wouldn’t be complete without music, Manere said, so he’s using a third party promoter to run the music scene.
“There are a plethora of talented musicians who live in this area. They’ve been coming out of the woodwork to get our bookings started, so I think we’ll be bringing in some really cool people.”
The restaurateur plans to have music every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Wednesday will be jazz night from 8:30 to 10:30, funk and reggae on Thursdays “for the younger crowd,” and on Friday and Saturday the place will host rock, bluegrass and country bands.
History in restaurants
Known best as a young restaurateur who reinvigorated Norwalk’s Swanky Franks in the late 1980s, Manere is a career restaurant owner whose focus is running a solid business.
“You have a responsibility to pass on your due diligence to the customer,” he said. “If you can watch your costs and design a menu that doesn’t create waste, then you can pass on your savings to the guest.”
In addition to taking over Swanky Franks, he has also owned the iconic Fairfield University bar The SeaGrape for a number of years.
“I’ve been lucky to have fallen into three iconic places,” Manere says. “It actually makes my job easier.”
A graduate of both culinary and hospitality management programs, the partner said he understands the complex nature of a restaurant.
“It has a lot of different tentacles. Is the food safe? Is the place clean? Is the atmosphere right? Do we have the right help? Does the staff dress appropriately?
“A lot of people go in this business and think it’s like throwing a party at their house,” he said.
In terms of Georgetown, Manere says his new addition to the scene will help everything in the area.
“This will be a nice addition to the area,” he says. “I think I can help all the businesses around here. Having this building back open is good for Georgetown.
“Good for everyone, really, because there is a little bit of something here for every kind of customer,” he said.