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Riverdale Farms Welcomes The Local Grill to the Neighborhood

The restaurant, coming soon to Avon, is co-owned by Mark Resnisky, of Farmington, and Butch Tougas, of Newington.

Farmington resident Mark Resnisky ran the popular Back Porch Bistro in West Hartford Center for eight years before selling it to Barcelona about a year and a half ago due to concerns about Blue Back Square.

Recently, someone asked him if he was planning on opening another restaurant.

As a matter of fact, he is.

The Local Grill is moving into the space previously occupied by Papacelle and Trattoria Il Trullo in Avon's Riverdale Farms Shopping Center this fall. Resnisky and his business partner and head chef, Butch Tougas, of Newington, are setting out to make the restaurant a place with affordable and delectable dining where people can socialize and have a good time.

"We want to hear the laughter," Resnisky said.

Resnisky said that he is aware of the struggle the two previous restaurants had at the location, which is set back from Route 10 (Simsbury Road). While location, location, location is certainly a factor in making a restaurant successful, Resnisky is confident that his business will strive there through word of mouth.

"We're going to be doing stuff that's outside the box for our area," Resnisky said. "We're not going to be stuffy."

For starters, that includes offering 15 starter appetizers and 15 entrees, each $20 and under, which he said was something you couldn't get before. Whenever possible, he said the ingredients used will be organic.

A changing wine list and menu will also be unique of the future local hub. The wine list will be on large chalkboards mounted on the walls, so that the restaurant can keep the wine list updated. Resnisky will be tracking the popularity of the meals and apps. Come November, he'll identify the 15 most popular items and sub out the others with new selections.

"It's up to us to have wow factor," Resnisky said.

Resnisky said that he and Tougas go back more than 25 years and that he's not only one of the most talented Chet's he's met, but also a great teacher of the culinary arts.

"Butch can take somebody who has passion and make them much better," said Resnisky, who will also cook upon occasion.

Resnisky and Tougas will welcome recipe suggestions from their staff.

The kids menu will have "fun" options for under $5 that are "unique" and " healthy." Resnisky is listening to his daughter, who said, "Dad, don't insult kids anymore" with the same old standard kids menu items.

Free parking is a major perk to the new location, he said. Resnisky is fond of the building and likes the openness of the dining room. 

"This is the best structure I've ever taken over as far as the layout," Resnisky said.

He wants the bar side to have a pub feel with happy hour specials and two TVs. The bar will have a unique draft system with eight taps, featuring Connecticut brews.

When asked if the restaurant would be competitive with Lyme Grill, he said "the more the merrier" and that all the restaurants in the plaza offer something different. He envisions some people coming to the area to hit a couple bars within walking distance, so the restaurants may compliment each other.

"We plan on being good neighbors," he said. "We want to have both Avon and Simsbury embrace us as part of their communities and as part of their restaurant scene."

The Local Grill isn't open yet, but when it does, its hours will run from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. You can also find the restaurant on Facebook under The Local Grill.

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