Timing was everything for three restaurateurs in Ridgefield. A combination of leases being up and owners ready to move on to bigger, different, or brand-new opportunities and voila, there are three new places to enjoy a slice of Paris.
Casual, Yet Chic Dining
After nine years of running their restaurant Sucré Salé, Frank and Virginie Bonnaudet were ready to grow. “The restaurant business is part of me,” says Frank, who has run successful restaurants in Paris and New York. When the space formerly occupied by Yuan Restaurant opened up, they jumped at the opportunity, opening Brasserie Saint Germain this past spring. “We now have more space to accommodate our customers and add to our menu,” says Frank. Loyal Sucré Salé patrons will be pleased to know that the beloved mussels – in three different versions – will still be available. “We also now have a raw bar and dessert bar,” says Frank. Traditional French favorites such as steak frites, escargot, quiches and crepes are other popular choices.
Brasserie Saint Germain’s space is divided into two areas, offering something for everyone. The front is cosmopolitan chic, making one feel as if they’re in Paris. It features a bar, high top tables, and cozy gathering area. The most prominent feature is the wall mural, hand painted by local artists Gail Buggy and Andrea Rowan aka The Mural Mamas. “The mural depicts the Montmartre neighborhood in Paris where I grew up,” says Virginie. Golden curtains mark the entrance to the rear dining room, which is a bit more formal and can be reserved for larger gatherings. “We’re excited to be on Main Street and draw in more customers,” says Frank. Brasserie Saint Germain is open seven days a week, 11am – 10pm, except Sundays when they close at 5pm.
An Elegant Experience
The Benjamin Restaurant, located in the space vacated by Bernard’s, opened in June 2023 by well-known Norwalk restaurateurs Dave Studwell and Rob Moss of Washington Prime and BJ Lawless of BJ Ryan’s Restaurant Group. The restaurant is named after Benjamin Franklin, who was the first US Ambassador to France and who is credited with bringing French culture, wine, and food to the States. “One of the most charming qualities about Ridgefield is its rich history dating back to the 1700’s,” says Moss. The interior space, which was completely updated, plays to that colonial heritage while bringing in a modern aesthetic.
The menu at The Benjamin continues the tradition of elegant French dining but with an American twist. Classic French dishes such as seared foie gras, escargot tartine, pomme lyonnaise and crème brûlée are available alongside contemporary American dishes such as the Benjamin Burger, Roasted Half Chicken and Strawberry-Rhubarb Cheesecake. “The specialty cocktail menu is playful, with drinks named after Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments, such as The Printing Press, which is made with Aviation Gin, Campari, Carpano Antica and Ancho Chili Reyes,” says Studwell.
The owners also took over the six-bedroom residence behind the restaurant and plan to debut The Red Door @ The Benjamin on Oct 1st. “We’re thrilled to open our private event venue offering an ideal indoor/outdoor space to host weddings and parties of up to 250 guests,” says Lawless. The Benjamin is open from 5:00 – 8:30p Sunday – Wednesday, 5:00 – 9:00p Thursday, 5:00 – 9:30p Friday and Saturday. Lunch is served Wednesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 2:30p. Sunday brunch is 11:30a – 2:30p.
Elevated Take Home Food
For over 20 years, Sarah and Bernard Bouissou owned and operated Ridgefield’s iconic Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar. “Throughout the years, we’ve always savored our day off, when we can enjoy good food with our loved ones around our table at home. That’s what we want to bring to people now,” says Sarah. This past May, the talented husband-and-wife chef team opened À Table, a gourmet prepared food storefront in The Marketplace in Copps Hill Common, taking over the space formerly occupied by Sucré Salé. “I think we are a nice addition to the other stores located here,” says Sarah.
They completely renovated the space– taking down walls, creating an office, and reconfiguring the kitchen to accommodate their still thriving catering business. The result is bright and cheery – reminiscent of a French market – offering a wide variety of prepared meals, everything from their beloved chicken paillard and cassoulet to Bernard’s mother’s rice salad. A lovely new addition is a rotisserie which features cage-free, hormone-free, and humanely-raised chicken and duck. They also have a variety of pastries and desserts, as well as linens, flowers, sauces and stocks to elevate your home cooking. “There’s a huge need for what we are providing,” says Sarah.
While Bernard’s always offered take out, the Bouissou’s honed their prepared-food skills during the pandemic, giving them the basis for this new venture. “With À Table, we might still be making dinner for 200 people, but we aren’t plating and serving,” says Sarah.
À Table is open 10am to 6pm, Tuesday through Saturday, allowing the Bouissou’s time at their own table.