Small Bites: dining news and events

Small Bites: dining news and events
Bear's Smokehouse introduces its new in-house brewery in New Haven.

Bear’s Smokehouse in New Haven officially opens its in-house brewery June 13, in partnership with Black Hog Brewing Co. The brewery features several beers for consumption on-site or to-go in 32-ounce crowlers, including two IPAs, a Citra-hopped American pale ale and a milk stout with Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, with a Helles lager in the works.

The restaurant at the DISTRICT innovation campus on James Street features a 6,000 square foot biergarten with outdoor games like cornhole, bocce and Jenga, and an ampitheatre on the property features a variety of live music this summer. A full schedule of programming will be announced over the coming weeks at


Max Restaurant Group’s Max Chef to Farm dinner series launches its schedule June 16, with its sixth annual Father’s Day Fest, a barbecue-themed event at Simsbury’s Rosedale Farms and Vineyards.

Most of Max Chef to Farm's events will be held at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury, with the exception of a Sept. 19 Oktoberfest dinner at Hartford's Hanging Hills Brewery. Other dinner themes include June 20's "Berries and Blossoms," "Maize: Corn and Tapas" on July 12, a "Sunflower and CT Wine" festival on July 21 with Savoy Pizza, a whiskey dinner with Max Downtown on July 26, a traditional oyster festival on Aug. 4, a "BBQ, Bluegrass and Brews" event on Aug. 9, a tacos and tequila cocktail dinner Aug. 15, "Ode to Tomatoes" Aug. 29, "The Vegetarian's Garden" Sept. 12, an annual lobster fest on Sept. 29 and Max's HOPtoberfest local beer festival Oct. 13.

Event tickets start at $59. Visit for more details.

Foxwoods Resort Casino hosts a three-day food and drink event, “Wonder of the Cocktail,” running June 19 to 21. The celebration features wine and spirits tastings, master class seminars, a chefs’ dine-around tasting, pop-up bars throughout the resort, a cocktail party by the Fox Tower pool and a grand tasting on June 21. Tickets for the 21+ events begin at $55. Visit for more information and a full schedule.

Billy Grant’s 2019 summer farm dinner series features four events at Rose’s Berry Farm in South Glastonbury on June 21, Aug. 9 and Sept. 20. Dinners feature multiple courses of locally inspired cuisine, with passed and stationed hors d’oeuvres, wine, craft beer and cocktails. Events are $120, plus tax and gratuity. All dinners start at 6:30 p.m. Buy tickets online at

Two Roads Brewing, 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, hosts its annual Road Jam music fest June 21 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and June 22 from 2 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 on Friday and $60 on Saturday, including admission to the concerts and your first pint of beer. A Road Jam Music Fest bundle, with access to both days, is $90. This is a 21+ event.

The Greater Hartford Food Truck Fest at The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor runs June 22 and 23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, with more than 20 food trucks, restaurant offerings, specialty food, live bands and family fun. Free admission and parking. The event takes place in Evergreen Walk Park near L.L.Bean.

Union Kitchen and McLadden’s Restaurant on LaSalle Road in West Hartford open at 9 a.m. June 23 for the Concorso Ferrari & Friends automobile event, offering food and beverage specials. Guests of the event will receive a special donation voucher to bring with them when they dine at either restaurant, which will donate 10 percent from their check to Connecticut Children’s Foundation.;

City Steam Brewery, 942 Main St., Hartford, hosts a “Fresh and Local” beer dinner June 26 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a meet and greet with brewer Jeff Pasquale and five courses paired with City Steam beers. The meal includes spring currant salad with burrata, seared sea scallops with beet reduction, tenderloin and bacon ravioli and vanilla bean ice cream with a blood orange float. Cost is $40. Tickets are available at

Porrón & Piña at the Goodwin Hotel, 1 Haynes St., Hartford, hosts an R. Lopez de Heredia Spanish wine dinner June 27 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a menu by the restaurant’s chef de cuisine Alejandro Leiva and Joel Gargano of Grano Arso in Chester. Cost is $95 plus tax and gratuity. 860-904-2101,

Mattabesett Canoe Club, 80 Harbor Drive, Middletown, hosts a summer BBQ buffet dinner June 29, with prime viewing for the Middletown fireworks. The menu features seafood appetizers, St. Louis pork ribs, barbecue chicken, lobster ravioli, penne a la vodka, a variety of sides and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Reservations start at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $65. 860-347-9999,

The Connecticut Taco Festival on June 29 from noon to 6 p.m. at Bloomfield’s Auerfarm features tacos from restaurants and food trucks, beverages (tequila, beer and margaritas); a taco-eating contest, Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling, Chihuahua picture contest, live music and kids’ activities. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free.

Oyster Club, Engine Room and Grass & Bone in Mystic host a schedule of summer events at its partner farm, Stone Acres, 393 N. Main St., Stonington.

A series of Thursday Night Bites events feature themed snacks and beverages from different chefs, running weekly from July 11 through Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Themes include Puerto Rican, Moroccan and Korean cuisine, New England seafood and cured items from Grass & Bone’s butcher. Tickets are $35 and include food; cocktails, beer and wine are priced a la carte.


In partnership with The United Theatre in Westerly, R.I., the farm also presents a series of films screened outdoors under the stars. On July 13 at 6 p.m. enjoy a dinner planned in tribute to chef and Mexican food expert Diana Kennedy and a screening of “Nothing Fancy,” a documentary about her culinary legacy. Cost is $150, with 100 percent of going to Una Mano Para Oaxaca, a nonprofit organization aiding victims of the 2018 earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico.

On July 18 at 6 p.m., Stone Acres hosts a clambake followed by a screening of "Jaws." Cost is $100, featuring food and drinks; $15 gets you a movie ticket, with chowder, lobster rolls and drinks available a la carte.


Other Stone Acres events include a taco fiesta Aug. 10 at 6 p.m.; tomato festival Aug. 24 at 4 p.m.; and an “oyster feed” Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $40.

DORO Restaurant Group hosts its 2019 Hadley + Occum farm dinner schedule at Sub Edge Farm in Farmington. The events begin with a Bastille Day festival hosted by Avert Brasserie July 13 at 2 p.m.; a dinner with Treva chefs Sept. 13; a Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen dinner Oct. 4; and a farm dinner with DORO chefs Oct. 18. The dinners are at 7 p.m. Tickets $45 to $99 at Eventbrite.

Bistro on Main, 867 Main St., Manchester, hosts its second annual Anthony Bourdain tribute dinner to benefit the Jordan Porco Foundation on July 14, with seatings at 4 and 7 p.m. The planned menu features ceviche, crispy quail, venison strip loin and brown butter cake, paired with selected wines, beers and spirits. Cost is $100, including tax and gratuity. 860-432-5267,

Billings Forge Community Works has introduced a new “Farm to Forge” series of dinners and special food events, with family-style meals prepared by its chefs and culinary trainees and held at each of its social enterprises. Locations include Firebox Restaurant, The Kitchen at Billings Forge and The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library.

The events continue through December, with a BBQ and clambake event July 15, a “Chef It Up!” experience Aug. 10 that’s described as “Iron Chef” meets “Chopped,” and a “farm to table redux” walkabout culinary tour on Sept. 12. An Oktoberfest event with pretzels and bratwurst is scheduled for Oct. 21, and the series wraps Dec. 2 with a traditional winter Provencal meal.

Pricing varies by event: $35 to $150.

Worth Tasting, a series of downtown culinary walking tours in New Haven, has begun its 2019 season. The four-hour tours, led by food columnist and hospitality professor Stephen Fries, include stops at eight or nine different restaurants and eateries in the Elm City. Tours depart at 10:40 a.m. from the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, where guests will receive a goody bag of Connecticut food products.

Upcoming tours will be held on July 20, Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Dec. 7. Tickets are $65 apiece, except for the December holiday tour, which is $76. Reservations are required: 203-415-3519,

Killam and Bassette Farmstead, 14 Tryon St., South Glastonbury, hosts two Fresh From the Farm Dinners this season. The summer harvest event with Spicy Green Bean is July 21 at 4 p.m. features a meal prepared with Killam and Bassette products, hayrides, wine tasting and live music, as does the farmstead’s Sept. 15 fall bounty dinner with Sayulita and 2Hopewell (starts at 3:30 p.m.). Tickets are $90 for each event; all proceeds will go to the Judy Lynch Memorial Scholarship Fund (in honor of Chris Bassette’s mother) which benefits Glastonbury High School students.

The annual Connecticut Wine Festival returns to the Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St. (Route 63), July 20 and 21. Tastings of Connecticut wines from several local wineries, samples of locally produced specialty foods, live music and craft displays. Food available for purchase. The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Early bird tickets available are $32 (Saturday) and $27 (Sunday) until July 14 at midnight, then the price goes up to $40 for Saturday and $35 for Sunday. 860-216-6439,

Dinners at the Farm has announced its 2019 schedule of events, to be held at Madison’s Barberry Hill Farm and East Lyme’s White Gate Farm. Barberry Hill hosts four dinners from July 24 to 27 and White Gate hosts four dinners from July 31 to Aug. 3. Menus, inspired by the availability and freshness of ingredients, are designed on the day of the event. Wine and beer are included with the meal. Tickets range from $125 to $150.

Michael Voight has returned to Vinted Wine Bar & Kitchen in West Hartford as executive chef and partner. Voight most recently worked for Max Downtown as chef de cuisine.

Foxwoods Resort Casino’s new Rainmaker Buffet is now open, featuring freshly prepared items for breakfast, lunch and dinner and seating for 300. Options include hand-tossed salads, pizzas, Asian noodle soups, roasted and slow-cooked meats like roast turkey, prime rib, slab bacon and rotisserie chicken and a New England seafood bar with crab, oysters, mussels and seafood salad. Dessert features ice cream and a chocolate fountain, and cocktails complement the meal, like Bloody Marys, mimosas, beers and wines by the glass.

The Rainmaker Buffet is open daily for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dinner hours are Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. Breakfast is $15; lunch is $25 and dinner is $29 for adults (pricing is $8; $14 and $16 for children 6 to 12.) Children 5 and under are free.

Brewery Legitimus, 283 Main St., New Hartford, announces its summer CSA program partnership with New Hartford’s Barden Farm. The 10-week “farm, beer and cheese share" runs July 11 to Sept. 12 and includes 64 ounces of Legitimus beer (a 64-ounce growler or two 32-ounce crowlers); a specially selected locally made cheese and a box of seasonal produce from Barden. Members also receive free recipes, $1 off any pint at the brewery on pickup days and first rights to limited-release Legitimus beers. Cost is $485 for the 10-week program. Pickup is Thursday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The deadline to order is July 5. Details and registration:

The KNOW GOOD Market, a street food festival in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood, has launched its 2019 season at 30 Bartholomew Ave. The event, featuring a rotating variety of food trucks and vendors, runs through November on the second Thursday of each month with a holiday bazaar planned in December.


Send restaurant or food news at least two weeks before publication to Leeanne Griffin at