FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The middle of a sports complex might not be the most typical place for a bar and restaurant like The Local, but the building apparently was too interesting to pass up.
It's only been open for two weeks, Operating Manager Greg Pettinella said, and there hasn't been any advertising or social media outreach, but somehow there are full houses every night
“It’s been a lot of one person coming back with a friend and then another friend and another,” Pettinella said. “It’s been word of mouth.”
The Local occupies what used to be the boiler room for the old DuPont Rubber Factory and had been unoccupied since the company closed. And for the last two years, the Southport Brewing Company has had the lease on the building, waiting for the time when the building would be ready for them to move in.
And once they got the green light in August, Chief Executive Offcer Bill da Silva said it was all go. “There was a lot to be done,” he said, but by mid-December they were ready for the soft opening.
Everything in the restaurant was made for them, mainly by regional companies from Milford, Conn., to Massachusetts, including the 32-tap beer system in the bar.
“We focus a lot on the New England and Connecticut craft brews,” said Pettinella, “There are so many great breweries across the country.”
Almost all of the beer offered at The Local is craft brewed, Pettinella said, and he added that there are two cask beers and the majority of their wine also comes from a cask.
On top of the wide selection of beers, the menu built by Executive Chef Dave Rutigliano is based on the premise of "communal comfort food."
The menu features "little" and "lots" options for 60 percent of the menu. Rutigliano said that he wanted the customers to be able to come in and move away from the traditional “meat, starch and vegetable” format, and to be able to share the food. And they may have only been open for two weeks, but they say that some items are already customer favorites.
He said a customer favorite are the brussels sprouts, which are roasted with bacon, cider and maple gastrique, or caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar.
The restaurant just started lunch service and is now open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s at 85 Mill Plain Road, next to the Fairfield Parks and Recreation building.