About Stone Row

Acclaimed Connecticut Restaurant Relaunches With a New Vision For Hospitality in the Pandemic Era

Willimantic, Conn. (June 24) — To mark their 10th anniversary, the culinary team behind Cafémantic got creative, using the months they were closed because of COVID-19 to reimagine the destination restaurant.

Now as they welcome guests back for socially distanced dining, founder Andy Gütt is ready to unveil a new name, Stone Row, and a fresh concept inspired by its tenement neighborhood along the Willimantic River. 

It represents a sustainable vision for how restaurateurs can help write the next chapter for New England’s hospitality industry — doubling down on commitments to community wellbeing, livable wages and sourcing from regional producers.

As a part of the relaunch, the Stone Row crew debuts a new look, a new bar, expanded outdoor dining and a new patio level “dedicated to boozing and schmoozing,” as Gütt puts it. Returning for the first time since stay-at-home restrictions went into effect, guests will enter a more spacious yet still intimate dining room, where the team has taken extra precautions with everyone’s wellness in mind.

Once seated, guests will enjoy a streamlined front-of-house service, which Gütt dubs the “brigade” since every player has a hand in elevating the experience — even the chef will make the rounds. Complementing the all-hands-on-deck approach, Stone Row also rolls out a more equitable hospitality-included model, which fairly compensates the whole team, from busser to bartender, for their contributions.

“We want to bring diners closer than ever to our kitchen culture, so we are rethinking the entire dining style,” says Gütt, who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He opened Cafémantic amid the financial crisis, growing it from a coffee shop into a full-service restaurant that The New York Times has raved about. He opens Stone Row in the midst of a global pandemic. “Stone Row’s menu is a launching point to start anew while tipping our hat to the past.”

Executive Chef Tyler May collaborated with Sous Chef TJ Bonomo and Gütt to create an “approachable but elevated workingman’s menu,” with a sense of Yankee ingenuity. “It’s homegrown food that’s driven by intentionality,” says May, who took the helm last September. “Our menu starts with the seeds before they go in the ground,” adds Bonomo, noting that Stone Row works closely with regional farmers, foragers and fishers. Menu highlights include the Duck Fat Fingerling Potatoes (with everything bagel vinaigrette), Grilled Asparagus “Benedict” (lacto-fermented asparagus, prosciutto, egg yolk, bacon powder and sherry-Calabrian jam) and Grass Roots Burger (fermented ketchup, Cato Corner Dutch Farmstead, Kindred Crossings beef, turmeric pickles and greens on a Zest Pastry Potato brioche roll).

“The idea of Stone Row is recognizing the humanity of hospitality and the humanity of food,” says Gütt. “Like our neighborhood, it’s comfortable and well worn. We reinvented the neighborhood with Cafémantic and we’re tenacious enough to do that again with Stone Row. It’s time.”