DARIEN, Conn. – Jimmy’s Southside Tavern only recently opened in Darien, but it’s already running like a well-oiled machine. Owner Jimmy Love and his staff bring many years of experience to their new bar in the Noroton Heights area of town.
“It was kind of like putting the band back together,” Love said. “I’ve worked with some of the staff here for over 20 years.”
Love has been in the restaurant game for 38 years. He’s the former owner of Jimmy’s Seaside Tavern in Stamford, Five Mile River Grill in Rowayton and the Boathouse in Darien.
“It’s a classic American tavern,” Love said of the new restaurant. It is taking over the spot recently held by Phil’s Grill, which closed its doors when owner Phil Santomassi retired this summer. “We’ve got a vast array of comfort food, roast chicken, lamb shank, great burgers, great local seafood every day.”
Since taking over the location Love has renovated and added 400 square feet. It will keep the outdoor seating area for diners to enjoy when there is warmer weather, and has also added a bar, which Love said offers a range of craft beers and other liquors. Love also owns Glen Liquors next door.
“That will give us a heads up about new products that you normally don’t see in restaurants,” he said. He is planning on adding an oyster bar soon.
Jimmy’s is the first bar to open in the Noroton Heights area since Benny’s closed several years ago. It has already hosted some cocktail parties, a high school reunion and a debate-watching party for the Republican Town Committee.
“So far it’s going really well. The neighborhood has been great and very accepting, and the word of mouth has been strong," he said. "The mood, the ambiance in here has just got a really good feel.”