BRISTOL - Prospective development and community involvement make it the opportune time to open a restaurant downtown, stated JR Rusgrove, owner of the soon-to-be Main Street Pint & Plate.
“We feel the momentum with everything happening downtown,” Rusgrove said, citing the forthcoming Bristol Hospital Ambulatory Care Center and anticipated development of Centre Square.
Main Street Pint & Plate will be the fourth restaurant that JR and his wife, Leanne Rusgrove, have opened. The couple owns Parkside Cafe, and owned the former restaurants Garnish and Cafe 2 North in Wolcott.
“I can’t think of a better fit for Main Street than JR and Leanne Rusgrove, who have a proven track record of high-quality dining and customer service,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “The closure of Barley Vine was more than a business loss, it was a blow to the hopes of the community that downtown had a fighting chance of being reborn.”
“The opening of Pint & Plate and the anticipated ground breaking of the hospital building are two concrete examples of good things happening, along with the T-Salon, Dynamite Deals and Biker’s Edge, the potential of the Memorial Boulevard School theater, as well as some new items that might be percolating soon,” Zoppo-Sassu continued.
JR and Leanne Rusgrove’s dedication to the community make them the perfect downtown tenants, according to Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority.
“We are lucky, honored and excited to be working with this family, which includes their staff,” Malley said. “A lot of what we have been working on for downtown is reaching out to people with a passion for Bristol. They have gone out of their ways to open this restaurant. They really care for the community, and I think the community feels the same way.”
The community’s involvement, commitment, response and excitement play an important role in the restaurant’s opening, JR Rusgrove pointed out.
He referenced the crowd funding website Kickstarter, that he and his wife started. The community quickly raised over $28,000 for the restaurant through that Kickstarter, and contributors were given a unique thank you gift in return, he explained.
“You wouldn’t think a restaurant or bar would mean so much to this community, but the project is more community involved than anything else we have ever done,” JR Rusgrove said. “The community is really embracing this, and so are we. We’ve put our whole lives into this.”
The restaurant will feature a diverse menu of culinary option that will be prepared by Chef Drew Osborn.
More than half of the restaurant, located at the former Barley Vine at 182 Main St., will be renovated before it is expected to open on April 1.
Renovations include new floors, a remodeled kitchen and an upgraded bar.
A prep kitchen is being built in the lower level of the restaurant, where JR Rusgrove hopes to install commercial gas and electric smokers.
He also aspires to one day use his 18-foot wood smoker outside the building.
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