BANTAM — Mockingbird Kitchen & Bar owner/chef Samantha (Sam) Tilley, who originally housed her restaurant at the Tollgate Inn in Litchfield, recently explained the unusual name she chose for her business at a special once a month restaurant opening. “Northern mockingbirds can learn as many as 200 songs and I took that as my inspiration to express our culinary voice. The menu is always changing, drawing from cuisines from around the globe, although we always include a Mexican infusion.”
The restaurant at the Tollgate In may have closed, but Tillou found a new home at a familiar spot, the old Bantam Inn, across town, and rebranded as the Mockingbird. Recently, she began her Two Roads Taco Tuesday began as a thank you to regular patrons by opening on one weekday a month when the restaurant is usually closed. It was expected that this low-key event would pull a small crowd but as it turned out, Tilley and her bartender were kept busy throughout the two-hour affair. Bartender Kate Berenberg said she whipped up a new drink at the last minute just for the event — A Pina Colada Margarita that was an instant hit.
Michael Kovalchik and Susan Vontell of Deer Island in Morris took a seat at the bar and tried the Cruise Control Lager and a glass of Sangria. Regulars at the Mockingbird, they shared the excitement about the 300-year anniversary for the town of Litchfield that will include a special historic Open House Tour on July 12 and 13.
Tom and Lisa Weik, joined by friends Rick and Carla Hamel, all of Morris, were greeted by Tilley who also teaches a spin class at Litchfield Athletic Club that Tom Weik joins every week. He said, “Sam’s idea for this event is perfect for people who want to meet out once-a-month and have a conversation in a place that isn’t overcrowded and has great food and drinks. She has transformed the Bantam Inn into a beautiful, welcoming destination.”
Tim Phelps, Sales Manager for Two Roads Brewery, the restaurant’s craft brewer from Stratford, shared that the Brewery’s name was inspired by the Robert Frost poem. One of their most popular draft beers is a Lager named Cruise Control described on the special menu as a refreshing golden lager built for kicking back and taking it easy down the “Road Less Traveled.” He said, “Our brewery is in a vintage 100,000-square-foot factory that formerly housed machinery to make buttons for Levi’s clothing. We recently added a second area for barrel-aged beer to add subtle nuances to the flavor and we are proud to be the craft brewer for Mockingbird.”
Mockingbird Kitchen & Bar is located at 810 Bantam Road (Route 202) in Bantam, and can be contacted at 860-361-6730 or www.mockingbirdkitchen
andbar.com. The restaurant is available for private events and catering. The next Taco Tuesday will be May 28 from 5 to 7 p.m.