Two guys in their teens get their big break in the hospitality industry bussing tables at their neighborhood restaurants. Eighteen years later, they are preparing to open their own restaurant, Washington Prime, at 141 Washington Street, South Norwalk, CT. Still at the ready to bus tables, wash dishes or whatever it takes, the team behind the new Washington Prime, Eating + Drinking Well in South Norwalk will employ a simple philosophy; quality food and drink presented by an attentive staff, set within a vibrant, comfortable space. No gimmicks – just honesty and creativity in their offerings and genuine hospitality at the forefront.
Washington Prime has the privilege of framing the corner of SoNo’s newest structure at Washington Street and Water Street. Adding to this historic and hipster waterside community, the concept for this highly anticipated Eating + Drinking Well is the collective vision of Rob Moss and restaurateur Marco Siguenza. In addition, they have added Executive Chef Jared Falco to the team. No stranger to high energy restaurants, this talented trio has both the front and back of the house covered…and that is putting it mildly.
Originally set on a course in the business and finance field out of college, New Canaanite Rob Moss found himself interjected into the restaurant scene, yet again, this time managing South Norwalk’s, then, up and coming, Match restaurant. Rob’s business savvy and enthusiasm for the restaurant biz got him noticed by restaurant developer Jody Pennette of the cutting edge cb5 Restaurant Group. Rob took on the General Manager role of Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar in Greenwich, CT in 2009. Soon after, as Vice President of Operations for the company, Rob went on to help create a myriad of high-concept establishments including; Red Lulu in SoNo and Salem, MA; more Lolita’s in Boston and South Beach, FL; Chinawhite in Greenwich and Purchase, NY; 30 Boltwood in Amherst, MA; and OAK Longbar & Kitchen at the Fairmont Copley in Boston, MA, awarded Zagat’s “7th most stunning restaurant design in the U.S.” for 2013.
Marco Siguenza is Ecuadorian born, but one might say he was raised in the restaurant business. A well-known member of the service team at Match for over 7 years, Marco was instrumental in obtaining the many “best of” awards and online accolades for the restaurant. Marco proceeded to join his cousins and help open the popular Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar 55 Degrees in Fairfield, CT and then invested and created Scena in Darien, CT. True to form, he created quite a following, always at the helm managing customer relations, staff training and a flawless dining room floor and beverage program.
Jared Falco, while growing up on the shores of Northport, Long Island, was shown the ropes of this crazy business by Italian restaurant owner Mike Maroni of Maroni Cuisine. While still in high school, this young aspiring chef was already pulling his weight behind a busy kitchen line and even grabbing extra shifts at nearby restaurants, learning from such great local chefs as James Tchinnis from Swallow East in Montauk. In 2007 Jared pursued his formal training at the French Culinary Institute in New York and was later accepted to a coveted internship under Daniel Boulud at his 3-star Michelin restaurant Daniel in NYC. Post internship, Jared was recruited by Chef Craig Attwood from Hampton Point Inn and 1770 House in East Hampton, working summers on the Island and winters back at Daniel. After a stint at Wiley Dufresne’s WD50 in the city and an internship at Noma in the Netherlands (rated #1 in the world 2010-12, and again in 2014), Jared rounded out his mad kitchen skills with front of the house training under the direction of Rob at the cb5 Restaurant Group, working with their local restaurant concepts.
And the rest is history, as these restaurant powerhouses get ready to introduce Washington Prime to this thriving coastline locale. The menu is a bit of Americana with cross-cultural influences, the space is multi-dimensional and the attitude is left at the door. Here, we eat, we drink and we join in the fun and relaxation that can be seen as you round the corner of Washington and Water and peer into the large glass windows framed by a stately brick façade.
“The Connecticut coastline, our combined experience, the cultural backgrounds and the desire to offer some culinary excitement to our customers is what you will see on the menu,” beams Rob. New England seafood dishes, bold comfort foods, small plates with big flavor, hearty salads, killer prime steaks, raw bar, and robust side dishes that have a southern twang to them set the tone for Washington Prime’s adventurous menu. Oh, and not to mention, the menu is almost all gluten free and noted for customer ease.
Executive Chef Jared Falco combines progressive thinking with simple fresh ingredients. His Long Island roots shine through in such oceanic dishes as; “Knuckle & Claw” with Long Island lobster, Tennessee blue grits, lobster sauce, smoked butter and tobiko; Mussels in House made sausage, preserved green peppers, white beans, and uni butter; Shrimp A La Linda (named after a local loyal customer’s favorite dish) with chili flakes, parsley and cognac cream sauce; Little Necks Clams with smoked tomato, olives, chillies and shaved fennel- butter; and even Lobster Casino, Oyster Rockerfeller and Broiled giant cold water Australian lobster tails in butter..
All the Steaks are USDA Prime Certified and aged before being placed in a 900 degree specialized broiler, allowing for that true Chicago steakhouse char.
The beverage program embraces today’s classic cocktail culture, craft beer and a versatile wine list, which will feature a well thought out selection of spirits and varietals which the team has enjoyed and seen success with throughout their years of liquid refreshment experience. In addition, the team has created the Prime Martini service that will come with a side of the guests’ choice of house made items; Blue cheese or anchovy stuffed olives, pickled pearl onions, segmented rosemary clementine, queso stuffed jalapeños, and other offerings. The martini comes with a backup refill of your gin or vodka in a chilled and non-diluted carafe, resting in an iced bath bucket at the table.
Washington Prime will seat 95 in the main dining areas, 14+ in the private dining room, and 18 seats at the bar. Outdoor lounge / dining will accommodate up to 40 people. The private dining room can be rented out for corporate events, presentations (A/V and Smart ready), private parties, or just to watch a sports game.
Guests began their experience with the energy of the bar framed by a natural stone front and white Carrera marble counter top, wrapped in a green ivy backsplash and reclaimed timber shelving with wooden trellis beams above that allow clustered globes of light to dangle sporadically throughout the canopy. High-top seating throughout the bar and front dining area gives way to a second dining space “around the corner”. Here, traditional dining tables are crafted from dark walnut wood and dressed with pop art colored placemats, European flatware, and black napkins. Added warmth from the floor-to-ceiling ivy wall hedge, half-moon banquettes with burgundy vintage leather, and mosaic wood panels above evoke a coast to coast clubhouse feel. Polished cement flooring throughout, radiant reddish-orange iron beams above, concrete columns and whimsical lighting throughout speaks to the space’s urban footprint of the old Ironworks building.
Rob, Marco and Jared have a mid-late July opening in the works and are eager to introduce Washington Prime to those who are looking to have fun and eat and drink well.