Edison Kitchen, located on Greenwood Avenue in the heart of downtown Bethel is poised to open this week. The space is set up in a way befitting to its building’s historical charm. The tables and booths are in place and the staff is a mix of both new and familiar faces.
When Kelly and Jason Lareau of J. Lawrence Downtown announced that they were ending their four year run of a local favorite establishment, they put their message out with excitement and confidence. They knew that they were going off on a high note and that they were passing the torch to Chris Bruno, someone who is no stranger to building strong successful restaurants in CT and NY. This was not a sad farewell with tragic undertones at all, this was a joyous opportunity for both parties. It's that energy that made Bethel come out in full force during their last few weeks to bid them farewell and it is that same energy that I predict will return when Edison Kitchen welcomes us into the Old Opera House space again. Leo Tolstoy once said, "True life is lived when tiny changes occur." Edison Kitchen is an example of that. The feeling of excitement is tangible. We have made a tiny change to our tiny town and Bethel is ready to live.
In talking with Chris Bruno about his new restaurant you get the immediate sense that you are speaking to a genuine person. With Chris, you can tell that, although he has a lifetime of experience, he is incredibly humble about it. It is obvious that he has a strong passion for what he does, cares personally about who works with him, and that his goal is to provide the best experience for those that enter his restaurant.
Chris is the former founder and owner of Foundry Kitchen and Tavern in Sandy Hook, which he sold in 2017. He has also provided game-changing consulting to restaurants through his business SmartStart Restaurant Consulting, all while building Fiddlers/Chris’s restaurant in Brookfield, CT and Village Social in Mount Kisco, NY into well loved establishments.
When asked about how he feels about what he does Chris said,
"It's really about coming to work everyday and everyday is like the first day. We don't want to get tired of what we do and the key to that is to keep it fresh. We're not just trying to get through the day. We are genuinely into what we do."
And he isn't doing it alone. Not only has he retained many of the familiar faces that worked for Kelly and Jason, but Chris is also bringing along several past staff members from his former restaurants including General Manager Ralph Alterisio, who he's been working with since 2009. Chris will be doing what he does best in the back of the house, cooking with Chef Mike Raymond, and Ralph will be the face at the front of the house everyone will get to know. Chris is adamant about their importance to Edison Kitchen, "Without Ralph, something is missing and the same thing goes for Mike." Chris is also proud to have Jamie Walker as Edison Kitchen’s talented Bar Manager.
The menu is the main event with a selection of wonderful offerings that will provide people with different tastes an option they are sure to enjoy. Local sourcing during harvest seasons will play a big role in the menu and fresh seafood will be featured as well. There will be a raw oyster bar which is not something you can easily find currently around here and is certain to bring in oyster fans both near and far. There will also be great steak which is something that many people will be excited for. Chris is very serious about the food he provides:
"The quality and freshness of the ingredients will be noticeable but the prices will be reasonable. There will be something for everybody and some excellent crafted drinks too."
The last question was about location. When you can choose a place to establish a restaurant, what draws someone to Bethel? For Chris, the answer was clear. He loves this town and he likes the idea of Bethel being a destination where restaurant-goers have a wide range of dining options. Bethel has a downtown where you can park and stroll with the intention of just exploring and shopping and then decide where and what you want to eat. Our community already has amazing options and now we will have another one. For Chris, Ralph, and the team at Edison Kitchen it's about creating an option you'll enjoy from the moment you walk in to the moment you exit, thinking that you can't wait to come back and visit again. It's a message that is quite literally written on the wall, "Come happy, leave happier."