8 new Connecticut restaurants to try in July – Middletown Press

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A mix of dishes at Puente Pub, now open in the Unionville section of Farmington.
Pork sausage rolls,  as served at Isla & Co.
Spaghetti Boia at the new Cugine’s Italian in Stamford’s South End.
“The Philly” sandwich from Philly’s — A Taste of Philadelphia, which is about to open at 1008 Chapel St. in New Haven: ribeye steak, onions and Cheez Whiz.
Shem Adams, founder and owner of Philly’s — A Taste of Philadelphia, is photographed at his new Connecticut location on Chapel Street in New Haven on April 8, 2022.
Check out these new restaurants across Connecticut, from a unique Avon creamery with innovative ice cream flavors to an Australian-inspired eatery with staples from Down Under.
Pork sausage rolls,  as served at Isla & Co.
Isla & Co. opened in late June, featuring Australian-inspired cuisine. The restaurant is adjacent to the Sacred Heart University Community Theater, and will offer breakfast, brunch and coffee during the day, becoming “a cocktail-driven dinner destination” by night.
Chief strategy officer Tom Rowse said dishes at Isla & Co. are “very seasonally charged and colorful, lots of vegetable focus and high-quality meats.” Brunch offerings include seasonal smashed avocado with additions like sugar snap peas, cucumber and feta, and an egg scramble with chili sambal sauce, green harissa and parmesan with sourdough and choice of bacon or avocado. Veggie-focused dishes include a butter lettuce salad, mushroom toast, warm farro and mushroom salad and a grain bowl with chicken and vegetables.
Main courses at dinner feature plates like a grass-fed beef burger, fish and chips with yuzu kosho tartar sauce, braised short ribs, half-chicken, spicy shrimp vodka rigatoni and a Thai green vegetable curry.
The menu also features some Aussie staples, Rowse said, like pork sausage rolls with sweet chili sauce. Another breakfast item, the brekkie roll, is made with scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar, arugula and aioli on a toasted brioche bun.

11 Unquowa Road, 475-999-8530, @islaandco.
Spaghetti Boia at the new Cugine’s Italian in Stamford’s South End.
John and Morgan Nealon opened Cugine’s June 10 in the Harbor Point district, with what they call “alluring, well-plated Italian cuisine,” refined cocktails and an extensive wine list. The new upscale restaurant is next door to Taco Daddy, their casual and playful spot for tacos and whimsical drinks, but they’re looking forward to introducing something entirely different, they said.

Chef Rick O’Connor brings experience from Michelin-starred Marea in New York City, where he became proficient in crafting crudos. He brings that expertise to Cugine’s, with plates like tuna with shaved frozen foie gras and torched pickled strawberry, uni and anchovy butter on brioche toast and bay scallop ceviche with watermelon and mint.

Other shareable plates include meatballs, steamed clams with Calabrian chili butter, crostini with whipped ricotta and roasted grapes and fried calamari. Vegetable-forward dishes include shaved raw and grilled zucchini with mint salsa verde, mixed mushrooms with garlic and thyme, and Brussels sprouts with honey agrodolce and mint.
A variety of fresh, housemade pastas range from simply-prepared ricotta cavatelli pesto and spaghetti boia with tomatoes to wild boar gnocchi, baby octopus puttanesca and lumache with bay scallops, zucchini and guanciale. An entree of brick chicken tagliata features arugula salad with shaved parmesan, and petite shoulder tenderloin is served with potato-fontina croquettes, grilled lettuce, red wine jus and cauliflower puree. Grilled langoustines are paired with a fennel and citrus salad.
121 Towne Street, 203-276-9266, @cuginesitalian.
“The Philly” sandwich from Philly’s — A Taste of Philadelphia, which is about to open at 1008 Chapel St. in New Haven: ribeye steak, onions and Cheez Whiz.
Philadelphia native Shem Adams, who opened his first Philly’s restaurant in Norwich more than a decade ago, has expanded to New Haven. Philly’s offers a variety of authentic eats from the City of Brotherly Love, with cheesesteaks made from high-quality ribeye cuts and served on traditional Amoroso’s rolls with “wiz,” American or provolone cheese. Toppings include fried onions, mushrooms, peppers, bacon, pepperoni and other sauces and condiments. (Cheesesteaks are also available with chicken or vegan chicken.)
“Philly cutlet” sandwiches are made with crispy chicken cutlets, in varieties like chicken parmesan and honey teriyaki, and the restaurant also offers wings, nachos, loaded fries and even hot buttered lobster rolls. Seasonal “wooder ice” flavors are available for dessert, along with a “Phried Philly Bread” topped with ice cream and butterscotch.

1008 Chapel St., 203-208-7770, @phillysct.

Sonia Salazar and Sarah Cornelius soft-opened their 80 Proof American Kitchen & Bar on Crown Street May 31, with a focus on shareable plates and cocktails. The new location joins Barracuda Bistro and Bar, their Latin American restaurant on Chapel Street, and Te Amo Tequila Bar on Temple Street, but the menu is a departure from both.
Though 80 Proof is focusing on casual bar fare, guests can expect it to be a cut above the ordinary. Waffle fries are kicked up with jerk and Cajun seasoning, chipotle aioli and scallions, and fried shrimp are served with a mango habanero sauce. Other dishes include duck confit spring rolls, fried oyster mushrooms with lemon garlic aioli and broiled oysters, topped with a champagne cream sauce.

80 Proof also features wings, sliders and seafood dishes, like lobster cream mussels, fried calamari, fish and chips, a lobster roll and “wonton nachos” with tuna tartare, spicy mayo and wasabi sauce on fried wonton chips.
The new spot’s summer-ready libations are built mostly with vodka, gin, bourbon and muddled fresh fruits, like the blackberry smash with bourbon, berries and mint topped with prosecco, and a strawberry vodka lemonade.

196 Crown Street, 203-691-7320, @80proofkitchen.
A post shared by Dom’s Creamery (@domscreamery)
The team behind the European-style Dom’s Coffee recently opened a new creamery, with housemade ice cream in both classic and gourmet flavors. Traditional options include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio and coffee, but adventurous eaters will gravitate to ube (purple yam), charcoal, fig and parmesan, and honey latte. Dairy-free options are available as well, and Dom’s also serves other treats like ice cream sandwiches, Belgian waffles and sweet and savory crepes. 
16 West Main St., 860-404-5291, @domscreamery.
Chopt recently debuted its first location in Hartford County June 15. The eatery, which specializes in creative salads, offers both predesigned and customizable salads and bowls with warm grains or cauliflower rice, loaded with vegetables, proteins, legumes, nuts, seeds and a variety of dressings.
Chopt has locations in 10 states and Washington D.C. Its first Connecticut restaurant opened in Greenwich’s Riverside Commons in 2015, followed by a Stamford outpost in September. Another Chopt is planned for West Hartford’s Bishops Corner shopping center.
2520 Main Street., 860-968-6333, @choptsalad.
A former Cos Cob Starbucks has been transformed into a California-style rotisserie restaurant. Wildacre Rotisserie’s menu focuses on herbed chicken and slow-roasted cauliflower entrees, which are made in-house. 
Chicken is rubbed with bay leaf, oregano and fennel, and cauliflower is seasoned with Middle Eastern za’atar spice, and each come with sauces, with options like honey dijon, creamy tahini, salsa verde or chili vinegar. Meals are served with two sides, including choices like roti potatoes, fries, cucumber salad, roasted brussel sprouts and kale slaw. Wildacre also serves entree-style salads.
147 E. Putnam Avenue, @wildacrerotisserie
A mix of dishes at Puente Pub, now open in the Unionville section of Farmington.
Puente Pub is now open in the Unionville section of Farmington, bringing what owners Luis and Kerry Vazquez call “American-Latino” fare to the area. 
Puente offers a mix of Latin American cuisines, with dishes featuring Puerto Rican, Spanish, Mexican, Argentinian, Cuban and Venezuelan flavors. The menu will also have classic American preparations using Latin ingredients, and vice versa, Luis Vazquez said.
Look for a twist on chili fries, with yuca, picadillo, cheddar curds and pickled cherry peppers; and other plates like chicken tinga taquitos, octopus ceviche, chicken pot pie “croquetas,” choripan (Argentine sausage sliders) and provoleta, an Argentinian dish of molten provolone served with crostini and chimichurri. The “Papi Chulo” entree is Puente’s take on a Colombian paisa plate, with sirloin steak, grilled sausage, chicharron, rice, beans, sweet plantain and fried egg.

81 South Main Street, 860-404-2074, @puentepub.

Leeanne is the food and consumer reporter for Hearst Connecticut, handling coverage of restaurant openings and closings, trends, events and general news about CT food and beverage businesses.
She’s been working in Connecticut news for more than 15 years, most recently as the food and dining reporter for the Hartford Courant. A native of Worcester, Mass., she holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University.