“To me, food is as much about the moment, the occasion, the location and the company as it is about the taste.” ~Heston Blumenthal
You could say I am something of a foodie. As a former pastry chef, I appreciate great food. And living in one of the most diverse food cities in the world, I have had my pick of great restaurants and not so great restaurants. There is a lot that goes into a great restaurant, yes delicious food is a MUST, but it should also be unique. And beautiful presentation is a plus. In this day and age of being Instagrammable, ambiance is also a must, though I admit sometimes it is the hole in the walls, that have the most delicious food. Yes, with a pick of restaurants, being able to stand out amongst all of them is a reward in of itself. And the Market Hospitality Group based in Connecticut does just that.
Market Hospitality Group
Market Hospitality Group is the brain child behind Market Place Tavern, Market Place Kitchen and Bar, and Mercato Italian Kitchen and Bar. Each of these concepts have several locations and are expanding throughout Connecticut. I have been to several of the Market Place Tavern restaurants as well as Market Place Kitchen and Bar. And while they are different with in their offerings of yummy Americana and bar treats, there are many similarities, including incredible food, a unique menu, great ambiance and attentive as well as speedy service. They also offer many vegan and gluten free options which I love. While each location is special to the town they call home, you can tell that it is all the same company, with similar yet slightly different variations on menu staples.
Marketplace Tavern Litchfield
By far my favorite Marketplace, is the Marketplace Tavern located in Litchfield. It occupies an old jail that dates back to the early 1800’s and use to house British soldiers during the war of 1812, before turning into a county jail. As the oldest building in Litchfield, much of the original details are still intact which makes for an incredibly cool dining experience. The bar itself has cells overlooking it, and many of the windows still have metal bars on them. The mixture of metal and brick create an atmosphere, that is truly unique, mixing historical with a more hip vibe.
The food is as delicious as the venue is cool. Their menu is expansive, and everything on it looks good, even the meat options. Of course they also have an extensive list of vegetarian options as well, including the best vegan nachos I have had.
All of the Markets have a variation of these nachos, but Litchfield and Marketplace actually use Impossible meat which I love and just elevates the dish. Their cocktails also hit the spot, and having a drink in the bar while you wait for a table is no hardship with how cool the bar area is. In fact I would happily eat in there, it is such a great vibe.
Market Place Kitchen and Bar Woodbury
Market Place Kitchen and Bar in Woodbury is my second favorite location, and really does take me back to old school Connecticut. Located in an old renovated barn, with a large adjacent outdoor patio, it truly melds quintessential rustic Connecticut with a more modern, yet homey vibe. I love the wooden details mixed with the rod iron accents. And while it is always busy, it never feels crowded. Market Place Kitchen is a more relaxing, vibe though the attention to detail is there in spades.
The menu is similar to Litchfield’s, including having the Impossible Nachos, though they do put their own spin on it. Their drinks are also delicious, and change seasonally. They have just switched over to a fall menu, and their pumpkin espresso martini is delicious!
While some of the locations (Brookfield might be my least favorite location) don’t quite have the ambiance that Litchfield has (can you beat dining in a historical jail?) the food across the board is undeniably delicious. The attention to ingredients and how they mix and create flavors is second to none. I love that they change the menu seasonally, and when possible use fresh, local ingredients. The Market Hospitality Group has created a group of restaurants that not only have an amazing and unique menu selection, which includes vegan and gluten free options, but also a fun atmosphere that makes you want to dine out instead of in with family AND friends. You will never have a bad meal here. In fact you might just still be dreaming about the food for weeks and months to come. Those vegan nachos are seriously no joke friends! Happy eats!
Have you eaten at any of the Marketplace restaurants? Do you have a. similar restaurant like this near you?