Gallo Family Restaurant opens in Danbury, serving Italian cuisine

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DANBURY – Restaurateur Raffaele Gallo and his longtime business partner Giuseppe Castellano have decided to bring their decades of experience in Italian gastronomy to Hat City.

Their new restaurant – the Gallo Family Restaurant – opened Tuesday on Newtown Road next door to the La Quinta Inn & Suites, which the Outback Steakhouse occupied before its closure in 2020. The restaurant is located off Interstate 84 Westbound at Exit 8.

Chief marketing officer and business partner Pat Dagle said the Danbury restaurant is a sister restaurant to Gallo Ristorante in Ridgefield, which Gallo and Castellano also own.

“We came together as a larger partnership to do some cooler things and branch out of the Ridgefield locale,” Dagle said.

Contemporary Italian cuisine can be found at both, but the Gallo Family Restaurant offers a more casual dining experience than the Gallo Ristorante.

“Gallo in Ridgefield offers a more upscale, buttoned environment, and we wanted to bring something to Danbury that was more accessible to families,” Dagle said. “It has the high quality Italian food and white tablecloth experience that Ridgefield folks are familiar with, but just a little more relaxed.”

Dagle said the new restaurant’s design was inspired by life on the island of Capri in Italy, where Gallo’s family is from.

“We went farm-style at Gallo Ristorante – but with this one we were very nautical and lemon-inspired,” he said, noting that Capri is known for lemons.

In addition to “bold lemon wallpaper with aqua stripes,” Dagle said, diners will find vintage framed photos of the restaurant staff and their families.

“We filled the room with about 50 photos of all the families,” he said. “We’re playing nostalgia.”

Not only is the interior design of the Danbury restaurant different from that in Ridgefield, but the menu is also larger.

“We have everything you can think of in terms of traditional Italian and Italian-American food — from pasta and pizza to meat and desserts,” Dagle said. “It will be difficult to find something that is not on the menu. There is something for everyone and the quality of the food is not downplayed.”

Castellano — who grew up in Naples, Italy with a family in the restaurant industry — is the Executive Chef at Gallo Family Restaurant.

Gallo Express

The space at 116 Newtown Road will serve as the outlet for a new food delivery and retail concept called Gallo Express, according to Dagle.

“We put a lot of effort into packaged meals – an idea that grew out of the pandemic,” he said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants to close their doors in 2020, Gallo Ristorante began offering take-out meals, according to Dagle.

“We really tried to bring the Gallo experience into people’s homes and it’s been a hit. We sold out every day,” he said. “They came in nicely designed boxes with a bottle of wine and dessert along with food offerings just like you might get at the restaurant.”

Dagle said it was so successful that they decided to turn it into a retail concept and acquired the space on Newtown Road in Danbury to use as a ‘ghost kitchen’ for Gallo Express.

With more space than needed to operate Gallo Express, Dagle said they would consider additional uses for the site, and that’s how the idea for the Gallo Family Restaurant was born.

“It will be a delivery/collection location for Gallo Express, which will begin accepting online orders next month, with some retail spaces opening across Connecticut shortly thereafter,” he said.

In addition to opening the Gallo Family Restaurant, working on the Gallo Express and operating other restaurants such as the Lantern Bar and Gastropub in Ridgefield, the Gallo Group has other projects underway – including the expansion of its Gran Gusto Trattoria restaurant chain. The original Gran Gusto opened 14 years ago in Cambridge, Mass.

Now restaurateurs are working to bring Gran Gusto to New Haven and West Hartford, where the new location is under construction.

Visit gallofamilyrestaurant.com for more information.

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