Editor's note: In anticipation of The Redding Roadhouse opening this week, we are publishing this story by Joanne Hudson again. It won't be long now!
Since purchasing the property in late October, the Easton CT couple has been juggling renovations, raising their two children and running Shawn’s three Manhattan restaurant businesses: a sandwich and beer concept, a Korean rice bowl concept called, Bliss Bowl and another sandwich shop inside the Renaissance Marriot Hotel in midtown (where he does their room service in a high end, greener, low carbon footprint type of room service as well as parties). The eco-friendly ethos will be carried on in Redding where they will treat the dishware in a low flow washer using eco-chemical options that will be friendly going back out to the environment.
I spoke to Erin and Shawn in December in a cozy booth as saws buzzed in the background. “Wherever we can make better choices for the environment, we will,” said Erin. The town has been very welcoming, very supportive, “There are a couple of inspections left to do, but I don’t foresee any issues,” stated Shawn.
Shawn, a chef by trade, is looking for a chef to collaborate with on the new menu which will be “easy and approachable New England pub fare” that, he says, will change somewhat by the season. There will also be some vegetarian options like Erin’s favorite creation (a la Shawn), his, black bean veggie burger. "We’re going to try to have fun with it and keep some of the old Redding Roadhouse traditions (Oktoberfest) while adding some new ones, a (possible) Taco Tuesday and a Sunday Brunch," Shawn explained. Although the hours have not yet been set, Erin said, “We plan to be open a lot at first.” They want to let it evolve and see what the community needs. “The town is kid-oriented, and so are we, so we want to appeal to that aspect and to the idea that it’s important to gather together,” said Shawn. They also plan a Saint Patrick’s day menu, along with a special band for that occasion.
Music is important for the Roadhouse vibe, so Erin and Shawn plan to utilize a lot of the bands who have played the venue in the past. “Many bands are reaching out,” said Erin. Bands will play in the corner of the bar area. There is also an event/private party space upstairs with a pool table and lounge. Kids parties, bat mitzvahs, office parties can all take place upstairs. The Redding PTA has already booked the space for their silent auction fundraiser which will take place later this month.
“The challenge, though not really a challenge, has been to maintain the history of the Roadhouse facilities while updating it to make it easy to maintain and run," stated Erin. We constantly think about our responsibility to the building - what to update and what to keep the same," she added.
Maintaining the history of the place while adding their own touches (there is a lot more light) is important to the Reillys. Along with the refinished pub tables, they are keeping (and repairing) the taxidermy, the mural over the bar, and the fabulous fox chandeliers.
Soon we will all be able to gather, once again “where all roads meet in the middle of nowhere” at the intersection of Routes 107 and 53 in Redding CT.