FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Daneen Grabe has one goal in mind for each of her Little Pub restaurants — to make people happy.
“It’s cute when you hear laughter,” the Fairfield resident said with a wide smile. “It means people are having a good time.”
And it’s been a recipe for success for Grabe and her husband, Doug, who recently christened their fourth location on busy Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. The newest Little Pub joins outposts in Greenwich, Wilton and Ridgefield, where their eatery odyssey began seven years ago.
The couple had been in manufacturing previously, creating battery-powered light-up novelties until business slowed in the recession, Doug Grabe said. Though they had no restaurant experience, the Grabes felt they were savvy enough businesspeople to translate their experience over to the culinary realm.
“We like to cook. We like to eat. We live in Fairfield. And we thought this would be a great location,” he said.
The location is well known to restaurant lovers in Fairfield: For 66 years, it was home to the Angus Steakhouse, a town landmark that closed after changing hands several times in recent years, Grabe said.
Like the other Little Pub locations, the menu borrows from several different cuisines, meaning there’s something for every taste, said Executive Chef Tim Passaro Jr., who trained at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport and boasts 25 years experience in area restaurants.
“They’re foods I like to eat,” said Passaro who is especially fond of the queso fundido.
Hungry diners will also find Maryland crab cakes, pork and kimchi dumplings, hummus and flatbreads, a Cubano wrap and food truck-style fish tacos to whet their appetites. The burger menu features a dozen varieties, from spicy Sriracha Ace to French Onion to Going to Graceland, a nod to Elvis Presley that spotlights smoked bacon, cheddar, grilled bananas and Thai peanut sauce.
The Grabes completely renovated the space, opening walls and adding reclaimed barn beams and chandeliers found in New Orleans to create spacious and welcoming dining rooms. Daneen Grabe said she’s looking forward to lighting the first fire in the new open stone fireplace once the temperatures dip this fall.
Operations manager Lars Anderson credits Little Pub’s success to the restaurant’s homey and happy ambiance and smart business decisions.
“It’s a very affordable product for everybody and it’s very consistent,” he said. “And there are a lot of great servers. It’s just a fun place to be.”
Little Pub is at 2133 Black Rock Turnpike. For more information visit the Little Pub Facebook page.
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