In the Suburbs / Familiar face in Bridgeport restaurant community comes to Fairfield
One of the most wonderful things about our move to the Brooklawn section of Fairfield in the year 2000 was discovering Woods End Deli in Bridgeport, barely four blocks from our new home. My wife and I always enjoyed wonderful breakfasts and lunches and especially chatting with owner Fred Kaskowitz and his associate, Felix, who has been with him as long as I can remember. Woods End has been around nearly 20 years.
We always met neighbors during the week and on the weekends; the conversations among patrons were lively and interesting and Woods End remains a real anchor in the neighborhood. And it was a real pleasant surprise when I did some publicity work for the Klein Memorial in Bridgeport to learn that Fred catered the post-performance reception and his talented wife, Maureen Hamill, actress and singer, was the chairwoman of the board at the Klein.
Even though we moved away from our Brooklawn Avenue address more than four years ago, I have managed to get back to Woods End several times to see Fred and Felix. The last time was a summer afternoon nearly a year ago, when we brought our new grandson Lucas in just to say hello. It was a crazy lunch hour and Woods End was hopping, but both guys still took the time to say hello and wish us well.
Then, earlier this week, I couldn’t have been happier when I opened the Connecticut Post and saw a feature story about Fred’s new “catering and grab and go” venture in Fairfield, called Fred 06825 (fredsfoodct.com). I thought it was great that his Woods End talent was expanding to Fairfield in the spot where Swanson’s Fish Market had been. And much of the story focused on his signature mission for his new venture, identical to Woods End: staff and customers who greet you like a long-lost friend.
It was also nice to learn that Fred has more than 30 years of food industry experience and was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The reporter pointed out Fred had enjoyed being in the kitchen since high school.
What particularly impressed me about Fred’s goals for his new place, complete with its catchy ZIP Code title, was a statement in the news story that I believe really defines him. “We didn’t try to recreate the wheel,” he said. “We just want to greet each customer, be nice to each customer, treat them with respect and be kind to them and try to make them happy with the food and the rest will take care of itself.”
While I didn’t recognize the two chefs who will be working with Fred, I checked the new website and their credentials are very strong. Executive chef David Johnson, for instance, has a long culinary history and an excellent track record as a chef and as an owner of several Fairfield County restaurants. Sous chef Caitlin Rissman has been a professional chef for more than 11 years. She has worked in a variety of culinary settings, including ones requiring the creation of meals for people with dietary restrictions. She has created plates requiring Paleo, vegan and gluten-free recipes with great success. She has a passion for utilizing healthy, sustainable food products. Both will, I’m sure, create signature, “on the go” gourmet freshly made dinners, sandwiches, salads, prepared foods, tantalizing desserts and beautiful and delicious platters for all occasions.
Fred said he has spoken to his two colleagues about the importance of one-on-one contact and personalized service. That philosophy has served him well at Woods End and will surely endear his new venture to the Fairfield community.
I definitely plan to take my wife for a first visit to Fred 06825 very soon, and, of course, I wish Fred Kaskowitz years of success in his newest venture.
Fred 06825 is a full service catering company for corporate events, weddings, showers, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs and parties of all sizes for all occasions. It is open seven days a week: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.