By MARYELLEN FILLO, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
September 12, 2013
Burgers and fries have gotten a bad rap the last several decades, beaten down to on-the-go, fast-food fare with marginal taste and questionable nutrition.
But, oh, Connecticut, how lucky you are. Because a restaurant chain from Boston has found its way to Glastonbury, bringing fast-food convenience with burgers, fries and more made with the best ingredients possible.
In just a few short weeks, b. good, which recently opened its first Connecticut location at the Shops at Somerset Square, 160 Glastonbury Blvd., has given burgers and fries new stature as healthy, fresh and good-tasting "real.food.fast."
"B.good is different because the mission has always been to change fast-food by making it 'real'," said co-founder Jon Olinto, who with fellow co-founder Anthony Ackil, and a host of investors and mentors, including Ackil's Uncle Faris, opened the first b. good in Boston 10 years ago.
"From the start, we defined our success by being the opposite of the traditional fast-food we grew up on. For us, we think "real" food is made by people, not factories," he said. "That's why we source our beef from family farmers in New England. And it's why we grind that steak every day ourselves in our restaurants. We think that's real, and that's the philosophy behind our entire business and every product we serve."
A visit to the new restaurant, run by franchisees Dennis Pedra and Rob Brown, makes it clear that fresh is the priority. A small garden of tomatoes greets diners as they make their way to the front door. Huge posters on the wall acquaint diners with the farmers and the farms that provide the meat, dairy products, breads and produce used in the menu, which includes specialty burgers, salads, real milkshakes and fruit shakes and sandwiches. Part of the decor: a huge display of fresh vegetables and fruits brought in each day to use in menu items.
"We try to stay true to the criteria implicit in our definition of "real" food," said Olinto. "So, if it's made by a factory or has ingredients that are made in a laboratory, we don't think it should be in our kitchen, and whenever possible, we like to buy from people we can actually know." Seasonal produce so far has been purchased from Botticello Farms in Manchester, he said.
The restaurant is clean and neat. Diners order at one counter and pick up at another before sitting at one of the tables or booths that are comfortable and utilitarian, especially when dining with children. There is also a patio for seasonal dining. Besides natural beef burgers and baked fries, there are also turkey and veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, seasonal vegetables, chicken sandwiches and impressive fresh salads. Milkshakes are made with ice cream or frozen yogurt from Toscanini's in Cambridge, Mass., and fruit shakes offer a healthy alternative for those who want something naturally sweet and rich to drink. There are also seasonal shakes, fresh-squeezed lemonade and fresh brewed ice teas.
Specialty burgers, which start at $6.29, include such choices as the West Side with avocado, fresh salsa and chipotle puree; and the Adopted Luke, with mushrooms, caramelized onions, smoked gouda and barbecue sauce. Diners have the option of fresh vegetables instead of bread with their burgers or sandwiches, and there is also a gluten-free bun for those with allergies. Regular burgers are $5.99. Fries are $2.59, with other sides up to $4.29. Shakes are $3.99 and $4.99.
"The best thing our customers could say when they eat here is that they had a delicious meal," said Olinto. "And that they feel good about the food, how it's made and where it comes from."
>>B.good is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information: 860-633-1630 and bgood.com.
>>Max Fish, 110 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, hosts a Tiki Dinner and Pig Roast on Sept. 17, featuring summer cocktails paired with a five-course pig roast dinner. Tickets are $95. Information: 860-652-3474.
>>Matthew's Restaurant, 55 Mill St., Unionville, will host a Fall Jazz, Wine, Food and Dance Dinner on Sept. 26 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening includes poached lobster tail, baby beet salad, corn dusted fluke, elk tenderloin and caramel roasted figs paired with wines and cocktails. Cost is $75 a person. Music will be provided by Green Jazz Band. Reservations required: 860-673-7373.
>>Carbone's Ristorante, Franklin Ave., Hartford, holds its annual Cigar & Scotch Social on Sept. 19 beginning at 6 p.m., featuring fine wines, boutique beers, aged scotches, Carbone's cuisine and entertainment. Tickets are $125 a person. A portion of the proceeds benefit Carbone charities. Information: 860-296-9646.
>>Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana is expected to open in West Hartford by the end of the month. New Haven's landmark pizzeria, which has locations in Manchester Danbury, Fairfield , and Mohegan Sun, will be located at 1148 New Britain Ave.
>>Celebrate the Hartford Symphony Orchestra's 70th anniversary with a new brew. Back East Brewery, 1296A Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, has released a seasonal Bachtoberfest for the fall, with proceeds benefiting the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The German-style Octoberfest beer is on tap at several restaurants and bars in greater Hartford and New Haven, and also available for purchase in half-gallon growlers at the brewery. Bachtoberfest also will be available for purchase at the HSO's 70th anniversary opening night performances at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 11 and 12.Information: 860-242-1793 and backeastbrewing.com.
>>Mohegan Sun's annual Restaurant Week continues to Sept. 13 with special prix-fixe menus and meal deals at several of its restaurants. Information: mohegansun.com.
>>The Taste of the Suburbs also continues through Sept. 15, featuring $20.13 meal deals in east of the river towns of Glastonbury, Manchester, South Windsor and Vernon. Information and menus: ct.com/tasteofthesuburbs.
>>Vito's by the Water, 1936 Blue Hills Ave. Ext., Windsor, hosts a Beer-to-Bacon dinner Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. with Back East Brewery. The five-course dinner features pork, vegetables and cheeses, paired with selections from the Bloomfield brewery. Tickets are $45. Information: 860-244-2200 and vitosct.com.
>>Mohegan Sun hosts its second annual BrewFest Oct. 4 to 6. The event features more than 100 varieties of beer, food for purchase and a special Sunday BrewBrunch, sponsored by Goose Island. Tickets for the tasting sessions are $25; $75 for the brunch. Information and tickets: mohegansun.com.
>>The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is Sept. 20 to 22 at The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff. Highlights of the event including Saturday and Sunday Grand Tasting featuring hundreds of wines and foods from around the world, the Newport "After Dark" party, collectible wine dinner and cooking demonstrations and wine seminars. Among the celebrity guests are James Beard Award winner Michael Richard, Food Network's Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, "Top Chef Just Desserts" judge Johnny Iuzzini, Cooking Channel's Ben Sargent and author Anthony Giglio. Information: newportsmansionswineandfood.org
>>The 4th annual Connecticut Cheese & Wine Festival 2013, a celebration of local artisan made foods & wines will take place at Hopkins Vineyard, 25 Hopkins Road in New Preston on Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Organized by Artisan Made-Northeast and Hopkins Vineyard this event will feature locally made handcrafted cheeses, boutique wines and specialty foods and crafts from some of the Northeast's top producers. Festival goers will have the opportunity to sample and purchase wines from Hopkins Vineyard, Jones Winery, Walker Road Vineyard and Sunset Meadow Vineyards, award-winning cheeses, specialty foods and crafts from Cato Corner Farm, Beltane Farm, Artisan Made-Northeast, Thistle Hill Farm, Blue Ledge Farm, Woodcock Farm, Percy Thomson Meadow Farm, Le Petite France, Vulto Creamery, Green Mountain Blue Cheese, Wave Hill Breads, Savor Cookies, Winding Drive Jams & Jellies, Mariah's Chow Chow Relishes, Oak Leaf Dairy, Café Solar Organic Free Trade Coffee, Alba Flower Apiaries Honey, Woolen It Be Nice, Bella Alpacas Farm and more.
Certified Sommelier, Sally Camm will give a presentation on food and wine pairing and will demonstrate how to put together a cheese plate complete with condiments and wine pairings. All foods and wines will be for sale.
Live music will be provided by keyboardist, composer and Broadway performer Jerold Goldstein.
Admission to the festival is $20 purchased online until Oct. 18, at www.artisanmade-ne.com or hopkinsvineyard.com; and $23 at the gate. Information: 203-273-5821.
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