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Restaurateur Keeps Luck on His Menu

Westonite Michael Friedman, a restaurateur who has worked in Black Rock, Norwalk and Darien, is about as content with his success as a person can be.

“The key to success? That's easy, curiosity,” Friedman says, smiling while sitting and sipping a Stella Artois inside the Goose American Bistro and Bar in Darien. The restaurant is the newest endeavor for him and his partners.

“With my three daughters, the one thing I stress more than anything is the gift of curiosity. One thing leads to another, and you see what path your life goes down,” says Friedman. “The other thing is to have the courage to think you can do something you haven't done.”

Friedman claims his restaurant success is entirely due to luck. When approached to help open the first restaurant, Black Rock's Ash Creek Saloon , he was a purveyor of antiques and collectibles. He had a penchant for the American Old West and thought an eatery with a taste of that national heritage would be fun.

Success followed and 10 years later Friedman and partners opened a second Ash Creek location in Norwalk. A few years ago, when Darien's Black Goose Grill shut its doors, Friedman and Michael Gagliardi, senior partner, saw an opportunity to open a new restaurant that captured the spirit of the previous establishment. Thus, the Goose American Bistro and Bar was born.

Before the antiques and the BBQ, Friedman's mid-20s were spent as a manager and producer for musicians who would surpass legend status and move straight to icons. Sitting at the table, he nods knowingly when asked, “Anyone I would know?”

“Oh yes, there's a few,” he says, pausing almost dramatically. “Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band...” he trails off, smiling at some of the memories locked in his head. His involvement in the Golden Age of Rock and Roll was serendipitous. He was, in his own words, at the right place at the right time.

Friedman says it has thus far been a life well lived, full of memorable moments and life-changing experiences. He credits luck with getting him through most of it. “I never really had a plan,” he chuckles. “I don't recommend that, incidentally.”

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