Given its rustic yet elegant appearance and good review in the New York Times, you may think of Tavern 1757 at 318 Roosevelt Drive in Seymour as an upscale place to celebrate the most special occasions.
It is — but the (relatively) new owners also want diners to consider grabbing casual weekday meals there.
“A lot of people are still under the impression that we’re some fancy restaurant,” general manager Joseph Meagher said of the restaurant, which is next to wedding venue Villa Bianca. “A lot of people don’t look at us as a place they could go out to on a Tuesday night and just grab a burger and a pizza.”
The restaurant has undergone a few incarnations, head chefs, and owners since opening in 2012.
But Larry and Carla Erickson have stabilized the business since buying it in September 2014.
They didn’t buy the restaurant on a lark.
The husband and wife, along with Carla’s family, also have been the driving force behind Jesse Camille’s Restaurant at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck for 20 years.
“The feedback’s been great,” Larry Erickson said. “(Diners) love the food, they love our service. The atmosphere is very cozy.”
Keeping a bar-restaurant alive in the lower Valley can be challenging.
About seven taverns have closed in Ansonia, Seymour and Derby since 2009, including Trestle Tavern, Dewey’s Pub (both in Seymour), Lanza’s, Mustang Sally’s (both in Ansonia), Tailgators and Whiskey’s (both in Derby).
Tavern 1757 is trying to make it by appealing to the widest demographic possible. So the menu ranges from filet mignons to bar burgers.
“We want people to know we’re more than just a place to spend their anniversary,” Meagher said.
Typically, the weekday crowd consists of locals, he said, but diners travel from towns such as Prospect, Newtown, Monroe and Trumbull on weeknights.
And despite a highly publicized plan by the property’s owner, Tony Mavuli, to “give away” the site, Erickson said Tavern 1757 will remain.
In September, Mavuli announced a contest in which he will give away the neighboring inn, banquet facility, chapel, his 4,000-square-foot home and $100,000 so he can retire.
The property he is giving away in the contest — which has a $1,000 entry fee — includes the building in which Tavern 1757 is located, but Erickson said the restaurant’s lease will remain in place.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said.
Tavern 1757 opens at noon Tuesdays through Saturdays (dinner menu begins at 5 p.m.) and holds a $20-per-person buffet brunch Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.