NORWALK, Conn. -- Philanthropy, friendship and deep roots in the community are what keep The Spread in Norwalk going -- and growing.
Less than five years into its run-- The Spread turns five Oct. 20 -- the five friends who own it are gearing up for restaurant number three. They opened number two -- El Segundo in Norwalk -- in August 2016.
While nothing is set in stone, Co-Owner Chris Hickey said the good people of Greenwich may have a Spread in their neighborhood come Fall. It would be the same cuisine, possibly the exact same menu as the Norwalk location.
The eatery's success is a mixture of a lot of moving parts and ever-evolving business challenges.
"Chef Carlos (Baez) and his talents have been instrumental in establishing us as more than just a bar," said Hickey.
"He gave us immediate and lasting credibility to the cuisine side and the rest of us [Partners Chris Rasile, Andrey Cortes, and Shawn Longyear] have relied on our friendship and varied areas of strength to serve us in the Front of House.
That means being hands-on all the time. "It's a rarity to enter either restaurant and not see one or usually more of us," he stressed. "The public likes to see that; there's something to be said for supporting the little guy!"
It helps, too, that all live locally -- in Greenwich, Stamford, Westport and Norwalk -- and are personally vested in the community.
"Philanthropy is important to us all because we all know how lucky we have been and continue to be with all we have in our lives," explained Hickey. "We also had no problem helping out our chosen organizations because we are all huge animal and dog lovers. The folks at the Husky House, Green Fur Kids, and Reggie's Pet Project work tirelessly to help rescue dogs and we respect what they do immensely."
In addition, the group has supported organizations such as the Wakeman Town Farm, CLASP Homes and the Norwalk Seaport Association Sheffield Island Lighthouse Education Fund.
"We do this simply to give something back; without the support of the community as a whole, we wouldn't be here," he said.
And hopefully, with the public's support, they will continue to grow as a group. "In five years, we will have a few more stores open, expanding on the success we have seen so far.
"World domination isn't what we seek but there are five of us [Chef Baez is also a co-owner] and we believe in what we do 100 percent.
"You no longer have to go to NYC to experience top notch cuisine, the scene has really exploded in Fairfield County and our peers are doing an amazing job all around us. We are proud to be a part of it."