Zaragoza, new to New Milford’s dining scene, features tapas, handmade cocktails
NEW MILFORD — Zaragoza, a new restaurant that opened in late April at 31 Bank St., offers tapas and handmade cocktails with materials from local vendors and farms.
Tapas, or small bites, are appetizer-sized foods that are meant to be shared.
Praino has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years in New York and Connecticut. He owned gourmet delis and a catering business in New York, but has closed them to focus on his first restaurant.
“The restaurant business is in my genes,” Praino said. “I’ve worked in this business since I was 16. It’s always been the plan to open a restaurant.”
Praino said feedback has been very positive since he opened about a month ago.
“The weekends have been crazy,” he said. “It’s great to see people so welcoming toward us. People have told us that New Milford needed this.”
Praino pointed out the German, Italian and pub- style restaurants in the neighborhood, and said his restaurant fits into the area as the only tapas restaurant.
“I think people think the atmosphere and vibe is different from other restaurants,” Praino said. “Customers are surprised and happy when they walk in for a drink and end up staying three hours.”
The restaurant, named after a city in northeastern Spain, offers traditional tapas, including empanadas, ceviche and cubano sliders, along with more modern options, such as short ribs, salmon and gnocchi bolognese.
It also offers specialty cocktails including a strawberry mojito, IPA margarita and Litchfield mule, along with local craft beer and wine.
The most popular items on the menu include the stuffed artichoke hearts and the sweet and spicy watermelon calamari. Customers also enjoy the cucumber martini, watermelon rum refresher and the IPA margarita.
Cardenas has been a chef at the Foundry Kitchen and Tavern in Newtown and the Village Social Kitchen and Bar in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Zaragoza occupies the space that once housed Salsa, a restaurant that closed in January.
The restaurant will soon offer a Sunday brunch, weekday lunch, happy hour, live band and outdoor patio space.
The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. More information can be found at zaragozarestaurant.com.