May 24, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Friday, 06 January 2012 10:25
It was a big business change for restaurateurs Roger and Alice Manter, owners of an Italian restaurant, Del Franco, in Sorrento, Fla., who moved back to Danbury to "launch their culinary dream" in their hometown. They recently opened the Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tap Room in downtown Danbury, offering more diversity in the city's dining district.
The Manters' son, Michael, a chef, continues to operate the Florida restaurant.
The official grand opening of The Mad Hatter & Tap Room took place Oct. 22 with tastings of the large and reasonably priced menu.
During an interview, Alice Manter said, "This is a family restaurant in the truest sense of the word. Our son Bill, painted the large tea party mural in the meeting room, and our daughter, Maria, travels from New Jersey on weekends to help out." Mad Hatter chef is Johnson and Wales graduate Jennifer Reynolds.
Alice Manter, who said she has been cooking since she was nine years old, is also providing traditional favorite family recipes.
Among the dishes attracting families are pizzas ($6.50 to $16.50) strombolis ($6); and calzones ($7).
Also a big hit are chicken wings (10 for $6.99; 20 for $11.99; 50 for $27.99), any style you like them: hot, medium and mild, with honey mustard, garlic-sesame, or General Tso's sauce, served with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.
Prices on the Mad Hatter menu are a pleasant surprise. Signature appetizers ($4.95 to $7.95) are fried shrimp with a spicy-sweet chili sauce and fried mozzarella with a house made marinara sauce.
Soups ($3.95 to $4.95) available every day are French onion and Italian wedding, plus a daily special.
Salads, $4.95 for a house salad to $6.95 for antipasto and classic Caesar, are served with house-made salad dressings and garlic knots.
All sandwiches ($8.95), are served with hand-cut fries and cole slaw.
Popular choices are smoked turkey, brie, arugula and orange marmalade on a baguette; southern-style pulled pork piled high in a tangy BBQ sauce; Chicago roast beef dip au jus; and grilled vegetable pita and parmesan cheese with a small salad.
Build-your-own burgers, The Top Hat, Stetson, Bowler, and Fedora, (all $8.95), named in honor of the former Hat City industry, are also attention-getters. Other burgers also available are Beanie, Fez; Sombrero, and Cowboy Hat.
Can't beat the entrée prices, $14.95 to $18.95, that include rosemary-crusted baby lamb chops with port wine reduction served with rosti potatoes; double-stuffed pork chops; filet mignon served with a wild mushroom risotto; and pappardelle in a hearty meat sauce. A creamy seasonal vegetarian dish is also available.
Dessert prices, from $3 to $4.50 will make you simile. Choices are cannoli cupcake, cheese cake topped with seasonal fruit or pineapple compote, tiramisu and crème brûlée.
You'll enjoy stepping back in time for a history lesson and affordable dining experience at The Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tap Room.
One Ives Street on the Green Danbury, 203-917-4453 Continuous serving lunch and dinner, weekdays from from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; Happy Hour every day from 5 to 7 with drink discounts; late-night bar snack food ($4.95 to $8) available. Reservations accepted; wheelchair-accessible; family-friendly, major credit cards; wine (mostly domestic); and draft beers. American bistro menu; take-out; off-premises catering; casual dress; private functions up to 100; birthday pizza parties; seasonal outdoor dining; entertainment; Karaoke, 9 to midnight Thursday; municipal garage and street parking.
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