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Small Plates Make Big Splash In Bridgeport's Black Rock

Owner Lou Montanari, at podium, is joined by his children Michael and Mia, and his wife and co-owner, Jennifer, right, and Mayor Joe Ganim, left, as he officially opens Hub and Spoke in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Bridgeport dignitaries cut the ribbon on Hub and Spoke. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The main dining room at Hub and Spoke Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The main dining room at Hub and Spoke features a stone fireplace. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — When the lease was up on the popular SoNo Brewhouse in Norwalk, Lou Montanari, who had run the business for about 20 years with his brother Bob, took his time finding a new location, eventually winding up in Bridgeport.

In fact, Montanari and his wife, Jennifer, spend about a year looking for the perfect spot. Then the Norwalk couple found the Black Rock section of Bridgeport.

“We were looking for a neighborhood,” Jennifer Montanari said. “We decided this was the place.”

On Tuesday, the couple and their children, Michael and Mia, officially cut the ribbon on Hub and Spoke, bringing their spin on American tapas to the Fairfield Avenue strip.

The restaurant’s menu is “similar but different” from the more entree-heavy selections at SoNo Brewhouse, Jennifer Montanari said.

“This is definitely more small plates,” she said. “You can get several small plates for the table to share.”

Among the offerings are a flat iron steak with chimichurri sauce, fresh burrata with tomato, arugula and a balsamic reduction, smoked chicken quesadillas and shrimp and grits. Salads feature beet and goat cheese, Cobb and crab cake varieties and there are several sandwiches, including burgers handmade from beef ground on the premises each day.

All pasta is house-made daily as well.

Craft beer lovers will appreciate the bar’s 24 draft lines, featuring at least 20 beers made within 200 miles of Hub and Spoke, Montanari said. The current menu features Brooklyn’s Evil Twin, Stratford’s Two Roads and Von Trapp Helles Lager from Stowe, Vt.

The restaurant, which had a soft launch in September, also offers an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet with bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys for $33.

Hub and Spoke’s location at the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Gilman Street has been home to many restaurants over the years, including Arizona Flats, The Field and Paddy Mac’s.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim welcomed the new owners, noting he likes the vibe of the new establishment.

“This is by far the most welcoming, comfortable and beautiful atmosphere … I’ve seen in decades,” he said.

State Sen. Bob Duff, who represents Norwalk and Darien, stopped by to congratulate the Montanaris on their new digs.

“It’s not too far from Norwalk,” he said.

Lou Montanari said he will miss his former restaurant, but he is already enjoying the new location.

“We hope to have another 20 years here,” he said.

For more information on the restaurant, catering and private parties, visit www.hubandspokect.com .

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