Three Bristol restaurants making moves in the new year

Liquor license requests show a new steakhouse and brick oven pizza place, plus an old favorite looking to expand

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 1/8/21

Several liquor licenses were on the agenda at the Dec. 30 Town Council meeting, with requests ranging from upgrades to transfers, to the establishment of new licenses, and notably, the applications …

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Three Bristol restaurants making moves in the new year

Liquor license requests show a new steakhouse and brick oven pizza place, plus an old favorite looking to expand

Posted

Several liquor licenses were on the agenda at the Dec. 30 Town Council meeting, with requests ranging from upgrades to transfers, to the establishment of new licenses, and notably, the applications were from known entities in Bristol’s restaurant community.

The request from Greg Gatos of Bristol House of Pizza to upgrade from a limited (beer and wine only) to a full license was on its second reading and open to public comment. Mr. Gatos said a full liquor license would help his family business’s competitive edge and that they would be grateful for the opportunity. Nobody spoke in opposition, and the council, citing the Gatos family’s 40-year tenure in running their business, unanimously approved the request.

Gillary’s converted to a steakhouse

Also up for a second reading and public hearing was Aidan Graham, owner of Aidan’s Pub, doing business as Playa Avellanes, LLC, requesting a full liquor license for an establishment to be opened at the site of the former Gillary’s at 198 Thames St. Though nobody appeared to speak in favor or against the application, Council Chairman Nathan Calouro said that, needing some clarity on the application, he spoke with the applicant that day. He learned that the plan is for an upscale steakhouse with an 11:30 p.m. closing time.

The floor plan is expected to remain unchanged, with the possibility of reducing the size of the bar in favor of more seating down the road. According to Mr. Calouro, the applicant hopes to open in four to five months.

Though Mr. Graham was not reached for comment, a copy of his proposed menu was provided to the council. Going by the name “Bristol Steakhouse,” the offerings feature classic steakhouse selections including dry-aged steaks, seafood, and a la carte side dishes.

“It’s going to be good to see the lights back on there,” said Councilor Tim Sweeney.

“I agree,” said Mr. Calouro. “For the neighborhood, it’s reflective of a restaurant, not a bar, which is great … and I think a steakhouse in Bristol sounds fun, so I’m looking forward to it.” The motion passed unanimously.

A new brick oven pizza place

Finally, in an early indication that some of the work being done at “Unity Park,” the redevelopment of the Bristol Industrial Park at 500 Wood St., is nearing completion, a request for a full liquor license was submitted by Jordan Sawyer, owner of the Bristol Oyster Bar. Proposing a new restaurant, Brick Pizza Co., Mr. Sawyer described this new establishment in a letter to to the council as “an upscale new American restaurant specializing in artisan brick oven pizza while offering creative farm to table dishes using locally sourced ingredients.”

According to Mr. Sawyer’s letter, a full liquor license will “allow me to better cater to my target market while also attracting highly qualified servers and bartenders.” Planning to offer a craft cocktail program, he wrote, will deter those who intend on drinking irresponsibly, noting by way of comparison that “The Capitol Grille is not a restaurant where people go to do … rounds of shots.”

Speaking before the council, Mr. Sawyer said, “The newly redeveloped Unity Park is going to be a new area of town that is going to generate an influx of people from surrounding towns, and we will have one chance at a first impression. And we want to get off on the right foot.”

“Normally, we wouldn’t even consider a full BV license right off the bat, for a new restaurant,” said Mr. Calouro, before noting that, with the Oyster Bar, Mr. Sawyer has a proven, flawless track record as an existing license holder. Councilor Tony Teixeira moved that the council refer the matter to the Town Solicitor to create a new license. The motion passed unanimously, though the petition is sill subject to first and second readings, as well as public comment, at subsequent meetings.

“I’m super excited that you’re going to be putting another restaurant into town. I think it’s great,” said Mr. Sweeney.

“It’s outstanding. That’s an area of town that just continues to improve,” said Mr. Calouro.

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