SOUTHINGTON — A new restaurant and bar run by a former J. Timothy’s manager hopes to add unique menu items like beer-brined chicken breast and Thai curry mussels, as well as more craft beer to the downtown dining scene.
Sherman’s Taphouse opened at 25 Center Street this month after extensive renovation of the former frozen yogurt location.
Owners Sean and Leigh Sherman of Burlington liked the town and the downtown location.
“I love Center Street, this was always my first choice,” Sean Sherman said.
His restaurant will offer American comfort food along with craft beer from local breweries such as Witchdoctor Brewing down the street.
The couple owned Sherman’s Taproom Restaurant in Derby, which they opened in 2017. Sean Sherman said a redevelopment project in that town had been delayed and that it was difficult to do business with so many empty storefronts nearby.
Much of his menu is similar to that offered in Derby and he’ll retain best sellers such as the tacos. Before opening, Sean Sherman and his chef took a look at menus from surrounding restaurants to come up with items that weren’t being offered elsewhere.
“There were some things that were very similar that we took off and replaced them with something a little more unique,” he said.
Dishes he’s most proud of include beer-brined chicken breast, steak and potatoes, chicken wings and Thai curry mussels.
“We want people to know us for our food,” Sean Sherman said. “We hope people will work their way through the menu and settle on their favorites.”
He worked as a server on and off at J. Timothy’s for several years before taking a full-time manager position in 2016. He worked there for nearly year and a half and described it as the best-run restaurant he’s experienced. Sean Sherman adopted many of that company’s systems and training at his own restaurant.
Dawn Miceli, Southington Chamber of Commerce board chairwoman and a Town Council member, met with Sean Sherman and enjoyed the restaurant.
“He will be a natural in this town. He gets it. He wants to be a part of the community, he’s already learning about our community,” Miceli said.
The addition of another business downtown showed town economic development efforts are working, Miceli said.
“Even people who don’t live in our community see the value in Southington,” Miceli said. “As a result, most of our storefronts are filled.”
The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
“There’s enough traffic going by here, I think there’s enough businesses to support a nice lunch crowd,” Sean Sherman said.
Sean Sherman started his career as a restaurant manager in Oklahoma City but later left the industry for sales. He’s always missed it and five years ago again took a full-time restaurant manager job.
“As chaotic as it can be, I love the industry,” he said. “I love talking to everyone.”