has become a fixture in Ridgefield, serving fine french cuisine for 12 years. But by 2008 Sarah Bouissou, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband Bernard, noticed a trend in dining habits.
“We saw a move away from fine dining toward a more casual approach,” said Bouissou.
Their solution: transform the upstairs space and voila! was born.
“Customers say they have their two favorite restaurants under one roof,” Bouissou said.
Bernard (who is French) serves classic cuisine at his self-named restaurant. The menu changes not just seasonally, but almost daily. Bouissou notes their commitment to local food -- they recently cultivated a vegetable garden on the grounds of the restaurant. However there are some perennials, such as the foie gras, which remain a Bernard’s standard.
Sarah’s Wine Bar takes a more bistro-like approach to dining.
“It was a combination of the economy and that more relaxed approach to dining that led to our opening,” Bouissou notes.
Both restaurants feature a children’s menu and the age of the clients at both establishments run the gamut, although Bernard's taking the fancier approach.
“Bernard’s obviously gets more special occasions and is generally a longer dining experience but we want customers to feel comfortable at both restaurants.” She reports that business has been on the upswing – noting that there are a good number of restaurants in Ridgefield and she is appreciative for her customer base. “We try to keep up with what our customers ask for and run special events such as tasting menus or cooking classes.”
At Sarah’s, the hamburger is a perennial favorite, as well as the reasonably-priced selection of wines both by the glass and bottle. There’s music at Sarah’s Wednesday through Saturday and some Sundays.
The Bouissous moved to Ridgefield from Norwalk in 2000 with their four young daughters. When not in either of the restaurants, or busy with her now grown children (three in college and one in high school) Mrs. Bouissou is busy with her catering business, biking or ballroom dancing.
“Bernard was the executive chef at La Panetiere in Rye and I had a catering business,” she said. They wanted to stay in Connecticut and found the ideal restaurant property with a house on the grounds. “We fell in love with Ridgefield – it has great schools, is very walkable and there’s a real sense of community,” Bouissou said.
Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar are located at 20 West Lane, (203) 438-8282, www.bernardsridgefield.com.
Have you dined at either restaurant? Tell us about your experience in the comments.