In its first eight months, Hartford’s Little River Restoratives has beguiled visitors with its bespoke cocktails and elegant atmosphere, coupled with cuisine by guest chefs. Now co-owners Chris Parrott and Patrick Miceli, who opened the establishment on Capitol Avenue in early November, have additional plans and expansion in the works.
First up is a new brunch, debuting Sunday, July 17. The menu is still under wraps, Parrott said, but comes courtesy of a familiar, James Beard-award nominated name: Millwright’s chef-owner Tyler Anderson.
“It’s going to be very approachable, and will have kind of his touch on it,” said Parrott, who served as bar manager at Anderson’s Simsbury restaurant before opening Little River. The tiny kitchen in Hartford necessitates a limited menu, but the offerings will change consistently.
Special brunch cocktails will feature ingredients like coffee, yerba mate and aloe vera juice, designed to aid hangovers and boost energy after late nights out. “We wanted to take the concept of 'restoratives' a little more seriously, to utilize them in a different part of the day when people might need a pick me up,” Parrott said.
Brunch will run from noon to about 3 p.m., with what Parrott calls a “darker, more evening-appropriate vibe” – drawn curtains and lights down low.
By the end of August, Little River will have a sibling next door: Parrott and Miceli have signed a lease to open a ramen spot at 399 Capitol Ave., which formerly housed Snack-It, a Jamaican restaurant.
The as-yet-unnamed project will feature several daily varieties of the traditional Japanese noodle soup and other items like steamed buns, featuring local ingredients and vegetarian and vegan options. The space will have somewhere between 25 and 40 seats, Parrott said, with beer, wine and sake.
"It’s a very small, but quickly revolving menu that we plan on doing,” he said. "It’ll be pretty approachable at first, then it’ll get a little more sophisticated as we all grow.” The eatery will serve lunch and dinner, with late-night hours.
The partners have also found success with occasional pop-up dinner nights, welcoming guest chefs for special collaboration events. Anderson and Jamie McDonald of Bear’s Smokehouse took over the kitchen to present a menu of barbecue-inspired tacos in April. In May, the Mercado food truck brought its Spanish-inspired tapas to the bar’s parking lot, followed by Yardbird & Co. in June with fried chicken sandwiches, salads and sides with local produce.
Yardbird & Co. is booked for a return engagement on July 19, and Mercado will park onsite again in August. Parrott said he’s been speaking with other trucks for future events.
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