Tag Archives: Garnish

Veteran Restaurateur To Open in “Garnish” Space

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garnishsilo_optCall it culinary karma.

A day after Bristol restaurateur J.R. Rusgrove announced he was closing his popular “Garnish” restaurant in the Forestville section of Bristol earlier this week, another well-known area restaurateur showed up at the door because it was just the kind of space he wanted for a new venture.

Gary Santorso, whose family owned the former Silo restaurant in Farmington for decades,  will  open a new restaurant in the space by spring.

“I have been looking for a new restaurant site since the Silo closed,” said Santorso whose family was synonymous with the Route 10 restaurant that closed last year. “J.R.’s landlord called me last Sunday and I went down to talk business. We have reached a deal.”

Santorso is still finalizing plans for his new place on Central Street, including a name.

“I was up at 3:30 this morning thinking about the menu and what we will be doing to the space,” said Santorso. “I am so excited about this.”


“Garnish” Closes in Bristol

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garnish A combination of economics, family obligations and competition has resulted in the closing of yet another popular restaurant.

“Garnish,” located in the Forestville section of Bristol, served dinner to the usual packed dining room Saturday night, but on Monday, announced via Facebook, it had closed for good.

“We upload this letter to let everyone know that we have decided to close “Garnish” effective Monday, Feb. 4, 2013,” wrote J.R. Rusgrove, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Leeanne. “Though we don’t feel we owe anyone an apology or explanation as to why we are closing, we have always felt pride in ourselves for being honest and hard working people who put the needs and wants of our customers first.”

In his Facebook message, Rusgrove notes that “rising costs associated with any small business in the state makes profitability almost impossible.” He also noted that his award-winning restaurant was in a location nestled too close to culinary epicenters like West Hartford and the Farmington Valley, and that operating two restaurants was leaving little time for the couple and their family.

The couple also owns Parkside Cafe in Bristol, a popular breakfast and lunch spot in Bristol’s Federal Hill District. It will remain open.

garnish2“Garnish” opened about two years ago, featuring gourmet dinners that were quickly noticed by area foodies. The restaurant immediately became an award winner with Rusgrove and his executive chef Anthony Pagano, developing daily menus and Sunday brunch that attracted a weekend following.

Rusgrove has had more than his share of challenges with the two places. “Garnish,” located across the street from the Pequabuck River, was flooded two weeks after opening when hurricane Irene drenched the state. Months before that, Parkside Café was closed after it was destroyed by a Valentine’s Day fire.

Rusgrove said Monday he is sad to close Garnish, but that the combination of factors made it the wise move to make for both professional and personal reasons.

“Thanks for all of your support over the last 2 years,” he writes on the Garnish Facebook page. “We have had a lot of fun, we have met some very wonderful people and have come to realize what an amazing little village Forestville is and how much it truly has to offer.”