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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Keeping it 'Local:' New restaurant's distinctive setting, menu are ingredients to success

Fairfield Citizen-News
Published 12:02 pm, Monday, February 17, 2014

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  • The new restaurant, Local, is a kitchen and beer bar in a factory building at the Fairfield Sportsplex. Local is owned by the SBC Group which also owns the SBC restaurant in Southport. Photo: Contributed Photo / Fairfield Citizen
    The new restaurant, Local, is a kitchen and beer bar in a factory building at the Fairfield Sportsplex. Local is owned by the SBC Group which also owns the SBC restaurant in Southport. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Fairfield, with its burgeoning reputation as a culinary hot spot, has another "Local" entry to the growing menu of successful eateries.

"As soon as you have new restaurants, people are attracted to them," said Greg Pettinella, an experienced restaurateur who opened Local in a section of the former Fairprene factory building, other parts of which have been renovated into the Fairfield Sportsplex off Mill Plan Road.

"It brings people to the area. People aren't leaving anymore to go to other places like SoNo," he said.

Local, which opened Dec. 19, is owned by the SBC Group. SBC (formerly Southport Brewing Co.) has SBC restaurants in Southport, Milford, Stamford and Branford, as well as the Sitting Duck restaurant in Stratford, and a restaurant in South Norwalk under renovation.

Local, described as "a kitchen and beer bar," has the 60-foot ceilings of what once was the factory's boiler building, exposed brick walls and a choice of 65 beers, 34 of which are draft beers.

Despite being open only two months, the distinctive space is already bustling.

Pettinella has not only owned his own restaurants, and opened restaurants for other businesses all over the country, including Cheesecake Factories, Hard Rock cafes, and other food outlets both in the North and the Atlanta area, he said. He joined the SBC Group in 2012.

What makes his newest restaurant different, Pettinella said, is its factory-like setting and lofty feel, and what he called its sharing menu. "The menu is designed around sharing," he said. A person on their own at the bar, for instance, can order a menu item from the size category "Little," while a party of four at a table can opt for the "Lots"-sized portions to share.

He invites diners to try all the restaurant's small plates, craft bowls, soups and salads -- all offered in Little and Lots sizes -- as well as the burgers and Big Plate entrees. Top sellers are the Brussels sprouts and lobster mashed potatoes.

"Little and Lots make it fun," he said.

The restaurant is also focused on staying as green as possible, with bamboo plateware and sugar-cane ramekins used to serve food. There is also plenty of free parking, he said, and Local stays open late: until 1 a.m. weeknights and 2 a.m. weekends, with a late-night menu.

"We're here till last call," the restaurateur said.

Local, 85 Mill Plain Road, in the Fairfield Sportsplex, is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.fairfieldlocal.com or call 203-955-1919.