There's a new fruit in town, at building No. 14 of Avon's Riverdale Farms plaza. Lime Bar & Grill has taken over the space formerly occupied by Bosc Kitchen & Wine Bar, and the new restaurant, bar and cocktail lounge, is adding new zest to the area with its fresh fare, signature drinks and comfortable atmosphere.
Owner Marc Reitze has a background in retail management, but learned the restaurant business from his in-laws, who own George's Pizza in the Unionville section of Farmington. He and his brother-in-law also opened the affiliated Olive Bar. (The "lime" in the new spot's name is also in homage to a drink garnish, Reitze says.)
After Bosc closed, Reitze noticed the empty property and started thinking about what the area needed. As a town resident and married father of two, he and his wife would go to
for dinner on rare nights out. They'd want to stay out for another drink, but options closer to home always closed up early, he says.
"We wanted something later-night…something this area was lacking. I've felt for a long time there's been a void in this area…for something as a bar concept with a casual feel to it."
And so he created it. He began renovating the space in August, and Lime opened in late November, bringing together the bar, eatery and lounge space. The menu, which he describes as "American with an Italian flair," is designed to work with the small kitchen.
"I have a lot of Italian items that I always wanted to have on my menu, without being a pizza place," he says. "We're trying to balance it — walk the fine line between being a bar/burger joint."
The food is familiar: jalapeno poppers, wings, nachos, salads, burgers, sandwiches. But Reitze points out that the kitchen is doing everything fresh. Fried mozzarella is hand-cut, as are the French fries and eggplant fries. The "bocce balls" – fried dough balls stuffed with sausage, peppers and ricotta and served with Reitze's own marinara recipe – are quickly becoming a signature starter, he says. They're inspired by a favorite dish of his from John's Pizza in Times Square.
Pulled pork is another highlight at Lime. It's slow-cooked in the oven for six hours "and the rest is a secret," Reitze says. The pork is served several ways: as a classic sandwich, atop nachos or a salad, mixed into macaroni and cheese and even crowns a specialty Southwest burger, with cheddar and cole slaw. Other creative burgers include the Italian-influenced Abruzzi (with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, onions and pesto), and the Vegas (topped with grilled shrimp, lettuce and hot chili spread.)
Among the most popular entrees are the 8-ounce grilled flatiron steak (with crispy potatoes, romesco, spinach and citrus aioli,) fish n'chips and a few pasta dishes, including penne alla vodka with a choice of chicken, shrimp or mussels. Entrée-sized salads are also big sellers, like the Heublein with baby spinach, tomatoes, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette
Weekly specials, like cod and shrimp cakes, feature the kitchen's skill and creativity. The staff is led by Colin Mercuri, formerly of
, and Jose Pagan. Reitze's thrilled with the kitchen's ability.
"They've surpassed what I even thought they could do, which is fantastic," he said.
The bar is a focus, with dozens of signature libations: flavored martinis and margaritas, mixed drinks, specialty champagne cocktails, affordably priced wines and beers both draft and bottled.
The Berry Melonita, with tequila, melon liqueur, lime juice and fresh mint, is popular, says Reitze. And a made-to-order "samba sangria," with raspberry vodka, Merlot, black currant juice, fresh berries and sparkling wine, will be featured this summer — perfect for the 55-seat outdoor patio. (Happy hour, weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m., is a big draw, with drink specials and discounted appetizers.)
So far, Reitze he's been happy with the feedback. Guests are starting to realize the Lime isn't just your average sports bar, he said.
"I think when people come here, they think it's just burgers, just bar food… I think the word is starting to get out that the food is more exceptional than they think it's going to be."
runs April 15 through 20, with 34 restaurants offering multi-course prix-fixe menus ($18 for lunch and $32 for dinner.) Menus will be posted at connecticutrestaurantweek.com.
opens Thursday, March 29 at 772 N. Main Street (Bishops Corner) in West Hartford. This is the second Connecticut location for the "better-burger" joint, which first opened in
Square food court last summer. MOOYAH is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Informaton: 860-206-4283 and mooyah.com.
opens Friday, March 30 in the
, 501 Evergreen Way,
. The frozen-yogurt chain also has stores in West Hartford, Fairfield and
. Pinkberry is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Information: 860-644-0288 abd pinkberry.com.
of Manchester was named as one of the
Foundation's 2012 "America's Classics." The award honors five American restaurants "with timeless appeal...that are beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community." The vintage restaurant has two locations at 840 East Middle Turnpike, 860-649-4245; and 360 West Middle Turnpike (Manchester Parkade), 860-643-0511.
>>Max's Oyster Bar,
Ave., West Hartford,
is preparing pickup meals for
. The menu includes homemade gefilte fish, braised beef brisket, chopped chicken liver, roasted Murray's chicken, roasted root vegetables and flourless chocolate cake. Orders must be placed by 6 p.m. on April 3, and can be picked up at the restaurant April 5 between noon and 6 p.m., or April 6 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Information: 860-236-6299, maxsoysterbar.com.
dinner April 8 from noon to 6 p.m. at its five locations in Avon, New Haven,
and Woodbury. The $39.95 buffet features slow-roasted prime rib, baked Virginia ham, crab cakes, baked stuffed shrimp and a variety of desserts. Children ages 5 to 12 are $19.95; children under 5 are free. Information: carmenanthony.com.
>>Bantam Bistro at the Litchfield Inn
, 432 Bantam Road, Litchfield, hosts a four-course Easter brunch April 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The menu features salad, antipasti, pasta selections, lamb top round, salt-crusted salmon, smoked ham and assorted desserts. Cost is $34.95 for adults; $20.95 for children ages 3 to 12. Information: 860-361-6764, bantambistroct.com.
>>Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
, 44 S. Main St., West Hartford, hosts a three-course Easter brunch April 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entrees include prime rib, filet mignon Benedict, New Orleans-style French toast, frittata and filet mignon Cobb salad. Cost is $34.95; $16.95 for children's meals age 12 and under. Information: 860-676-9463, flemingssteakhouse.com.
, 45 East Center St., Manchester, hosts a library wine dinner with rare vintages April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $110. Information: 860-643-2751 and caveysrestaurant.com.
>>Litchfield Saltwater Grille
, 26 Commons Drive, Litchfield, presents spring wine tastings with lunch through May 19. Three courses are paired with two wines for $32. Courses include starters of salad, shrimp cocktail or fried oysters and steak paillard, blackened catfish or baked macaroni and cheese for an entrée. (Lunch without wine is priced at $22.) Information: 860-567-4900, litchfieldsaltwatergrille.org.
, 606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton, hosts a "Sip and Savor" supper with a "Paris in April" theme April 20 at 6 p.m. The dinner features a tasting of French and French-style wines, followed by a family-style meal of French cuisine. Cost is $65. Register online at jonesfamilyfarms.com. Information: 203-929-8425.