It’s not always easy to reconcile comfort food with healthy food, but a new restaurant in Wilton is taking on the challenge.
Oliver’s Restaurant, on Route 101 in the space that was formerly Gary’s Harvest Restaurant, is now open, with a breakfast and lunch menu featuring hearty, comfort food-style dishes prepared with healthier and organic ingredient alternatives that don’t sacrifice flavor.
Owners Ed and Maggie Goss had never owned a restaurant before, but when Ed Goss was laid off from his job a couple years ago they saw it as an opportunity to take on a new venture. The concept behind Oliver’s is simple: make everyone feel welcome. The restaurant is named in honor of the Goss’ family dog, who Ed Goss said exemplified the spirit of friendliness that he wants to bring to his customers.
“It was so nice to be greeted by Oliver. No matter what kind of day you had, his tail would start wagging and he was so excited to see you,” he said. “We want people to feel the same way when they come in the restaurant. On good days, bad days, they can come here and relax, have a good meal and feel like they belong.”
The idea for a menu of healthy comfort food, Goss said, came simply from talking with people in the area and asking them what they’d like to see in a new restaurant. He found that many people are becoming more health-conscious and are looking for ways to make the food they love a little healthier.
“You can make a meatloaf using beef with antibiotics and hormones, or you can make it using a high-quality, naturally raised beef,” Goss said. “Is it still beef? Yeah. But all we’re trying to do is use ingredients that are healthier alternatives, and I think that’s something unique that we bring to the market.”
The menu features traditional comfort food items like eggs, bacon and sausage, special Benedicts and other specials for breakfast; and sandwiches, meatloaf and other hearty dishes for lunch. There are also some comfort-food dishes with a twist, inspired by various regional cuisines or using unique flavor combinations.
Goss said some of the menu is inspired by his upbringing in a food-loving Italian-Polish family, particularly by the recipes he developed and cooked with his mother and grandmother when he was young.
One such recipe that made it onto the menu is Nina’s stuffing sandwich, which is Italian sausage stuffing with homemade croutons, garlic, sage and a special seasoning on a sandwich.
“It’s kind of like bringing back the spices and flavors from my mother’s kitchen,” he said. “I think as we move forward with the menu you’ll see more of those influences from what you’d find in an Italian household, like garlic and polenta.”
There are menu items inspired by other regional cuisines, too, like a Mexican-style dish featuring a sliced half of an avocado with an egg in the pit, which is baked and placed on polenta with scallions and cilantro. Goss said he’s also offering unique vegan and vegetarian alternatives to the typical salad, such as chickpea fries and vegetable-based lentil soup.
Oliver’s serves coffee to-go and homemade baked goods like banana bread, muffin tops and scones, too.
Dinner service will be offered starting around the beginning of March, and an ice cream takeout window in late spring.