STAMFORD, Conn. – With 52 draft beers, a fireplace and a casual pub atmosphere, customers at Stamford’s newest restaurant can understand why they call it a "communal tavern."
It took the restaurant group Skal seven months to open its new restaurant after signing the lease in May. In those months, the owners completely revamped the building area, including ripping down walls to open up a second dining room that can be rented out by larger groups.
One of the restaurant's concepts was to make customers feel comfortable, and they accomplish that by layering the restaurant, from couch seating by the fire to high-top tables with outlets for customers to plug in and booth tables.
“So much of what we’re doing is globally inspired,” said Christian Burns, a principal in the Skal group. And that includes everything from the beer list to the menu. “One of the major things here is that the food is going to be in the front.”
The creation of memorable food for the Cask Republic menu is something that Executive Chef Carl Carrion has been doing for the past year. Several of the items on the menu he tested as specials at the groups other restaurants such as the Gingerman in Greenwich and Norwalk.
“For this one I wanted to do a more sharing menu,” Carrion said. He is one of the many chefs following a trend that gives diners more opportunities to share menu items rather than stick to the traditional appetizer, dinner and dessert.
Items such as the short rib meatball and duck comfit pizza are consistently sold out by the end of the night.
But the menu doesn’t stay the same for long, Carrion said. The kitchen cooks everything from scratch, so they have the opportunity to work with different items. A selection that was on the menu one week might not be there the next. “We like to do stuff today for today and tomorrow for tomorrow,” the chef said.
Some customers stay for hours, starting with appetizers and drinks in front of the fire before moving to a table for dinner and back to the sofas for after-dinner drinks, Burns said.
“It’s a very nice place to stay for hours,” Carrion said.