The busy 2016 summer season at Rocky Hill's Shad Row had just wrapped, and co-owner Kathy Denisiewicz was tired. She was back making pierogis at her first restaurant, Glastonbury's Spicy Green Bean, when she was approached about yet another seasonal project.
Hazel and Mitch Lichatz were looking to add an outdoor restaurant to The Farm At Carter Hill, their multi-use Marlborough farm space that boasts a bed and breakfast, a general store and a restored vintage filling station at the entrance to the property on Route 66. The couple was focusing on booking special events in their on-site barn and pavilion and wanted an experienced restaurant team to handle food and ice cream sales.
Hazel Lichatz said they had searched for a restaurant operator among 10 or more candidates, and had fallen in love with Spicy Green Bean.
"I knew about the place, but I hadn't seen it," Denisiewicz said. The couple asked if she would come by and take a look, and that clinched the deal.
"As soon as we got here, we said 'Oh my God, we love it,'" Denisiewicz said. "I just had a feeling it was meant to be."
Denisiewicz and her team, including chef Dameon LeBrun, opened Goats N'Roses on Memorial Day weekend. The "edgy eatery" retains the funky, rock 'n' roll flair guests have come to expect from its two sibling restaurants — and yes, its name is a farm-themed nod to the Axl Rose-fronted hard rock band.
The casual outdoor dining space sits under a pergola, with reclaimed-wood tables adorned with simple flower vases and vintage tableware, and additional umbrella-shaded picnic tables overlook the farm's grounds. Deniesiewicz's niece, Juliette Denis, handled much of the outdoor design and serves as management/front of the house for the new restaurant.
Denisiewicz wanted to bring the original Spicy Green Bean vibe and energy to the new cash-only spot, filling the menu with "picnic fare" like burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. The Bean's signature veggie burger and a pulled pork Cubano ($12.95 each) have made it to Marlborough, along with "swanky melt" stylish grilled cheeses ($10.95) with fillings like prosciutto, fig jam, pesto chicken, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese and Peppadew peppers.
Other sandwiches ($12.95) feature fried green tomatoes, crispy eggplant cutlets, chicken salad and sauteed green beans, along with "Mitch's Monster Steak & Cheese," with mushrooms, caramelized onions and avocado. Hot dogs start at $4.25 and burgers start at $6, with assorted toppings, and house salads start at $9, with options to add grilled chicken, salmon or shrimp; a veggie burger or falafel balls for an additional $4 to $6.50.
The menu's "Farmer's Table" section ($8 to $23) highlights fresh flavors: sugar snap pea salad with prosciutto, radish and lemon vinaigrette; New England clam and crab chowder; farmstand frittata with vegetables, herbs and artisanal cheese; tomato and canteloupe salad; chicken paillard with dressed arugula and cherry tomatoes. There's also an eclectic selection of Asian and Latin-inspired dishes, like tostones with avocado pico de gallo and lime crema, a teriyaki chicken salad and sweet Asian glazed beef skewers with chilled peanut noodles.
Shareable "medium plates" are popular, like a trio of avocado toasts with tomato, bacon and goat cheese, and lobster crostini with scampi-poached meat, melted aged provolone and cheddar and Cajun aioli. Large plates feature steak and eggs with tricolor potatoes and chimichurri, and a Bean special of chicken francaise layered with crispy eggplant, prosciutto, asparagus and aged provolone simmered in sherry lemon butter with penne.
Specials pop up often, like tacos with ahi tuna and salmon and grilled scallops over corn and tomato salad, and the farm's Hog's Breath Tavern offers beer and wine that can be enjoyed outside with lunch or dinner.
Save room for dessert, too, as Goats N'Roses has also taken over the Hazy Mae's ice cream stand on site. Karoline Palin's sweet treats include scoops, sundaes, cones, banana splits, milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches with a variety of flavors and toppings. Prices range from $3.50 to $8.
The Farm at Carter Hill is a family-friendly gathering spot, with goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and peacocks roaming the grounds. Acoustic nights are planned for summer Fridays, and the farm features drive-in movies on Saturday evenings.
"You can visit the animals, parents can have a beer, kids can have ice cream, it's a win-win for everyone," Hazel Lichatz said. "That was our goal, was to get families out like that, to be together and in the outdoors. ... I think it'll really blow up this summer, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
Goats N'Roses, on The Farm at Carter Hill, is at 86 E. Hampton Road (Route 66) in Marlborough. The restaurant is open, weather permitting, Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ice cream is available daily, also weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hours may be extended as the season continues. Cash only; ATM on site. 860-295-1111; goatsnroses.com; facebook.com/goatsnrosesct.