The last word you would use to describe a restaurant that’s been in business for 21 years — an absolute eternity in an industry that breeds far more failure than success — is “new.” But the Spicy Green Bean in Glastonbury has a new location, this time with a full bar, and a new seasonal menu from the quirky, creative minds of aunt-and-niece team Kasha Denisiewicz and Juliette Denis.
“On my end of it, it was time,” says Denisiewicz, SGB’s owner and executive chef. “My niece here, who’s also my goddaughter, told me to get out of my own way, basically. It’s time to change, it’s time to bump it up another notch, even though I was terrified. She did all the decor, and it’s absolutely stunning in here.”
There’s more parking outside and more seating inside, and Denisiewicz is dead-on about the decor. There’s black silverware, blue mason jars, teal chairs, mismatched plates and refurbished tables that were sanded, stenciled and painted by friends and family members who worked in unison to shape Denis’ vision for the late January reopening.
Denis, the general manager, says they believe in putting a little bit of muscle into everything they do, but she wanted the new location to be light and bright. “I wanted to keep the amazing, funky, eclectic and unique vibe that my aunt initially created at her original location,” Denis says. “But I definitely took a lot of inspiration from my design at the farm, at Goats N’ Roses. And I tried to integrate both together into this one location.”
Fans of Marlborough’s Goats N’ Roses — where Denisiewicz and Denis played the roles of Axl and Slash — will need to lean on the Bean to get their fix this summer. The popular outdoor eatery is taking the year off with hopes of securing a new farm venue for 2020.
The old Bean was BYOB, but at the new Bean you don’t need to BYO anything. “The cocktails we’re crafting, people are already raving, saying ‘oh my god, Glastonbury needed this,’ ” Denisiewicz says. The summer cocktail program ($13 each) includes a refreshing pack of mules (cherry basil, peach coconut, blueberry watermelon), a delightful prickly pear lemon drop, and the unique Buff-Aloe Soldier made with tequila, lime juice, housemade honey syrup and aloe vera juice.
While the creative craft cocktails and more-than-sufficient beer and wine lists are great additions, the Spicy Green Bean has been around for more than two decades because of the food. The short pour ($6) — tomato basil bisque with mini grilled cheese “croutons” — could start every meal for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t get bored. SGB’s namesake side dish is a generous helping of thick-coated, crispy green beans ($6) served with Cajun aioli that reheats surprisingly well at home, so save some for a doggy bag. And the tasty falafel sandwich ($14) on warm naan bread gets a spicy kick from their “sassy red sauce.”
The lighter-fare, warm-weather menu will feature an Endless Summer Salad ($16) with blackened salmon, mango, blueberries and goat cheese, SGB’s Loco Coconut Shrimp ($14), and a lobster roll recipe pilfered from Rocky Hill’s Shad Row, another Denisiewicz eatery she owns with niece Jenna Rosella. (“Sorry, Jenna” is in the description on the menu.)
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek (and taste) of a few of the new items. And if the ahi tuna endive tacos ($14), loaded avocado toast with shrimp ($12), and cauliflower tater tots ($6) are any indication, the Spicy Green Bean will never grow old.
The Spicy Green Bean
103 New London Tpke., Glastonbury
Hours: Tue. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Mon.