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B.J. Ryan's in Norwalk, CT

WendyBinCT Oct 13, 2007 02:38 PM

Had lunch with a good friend Thursday at a wonderful new bar and restaurant in Norwalk, CT: B.J. Ryan's, 57 Main Street, a couple of blocks south of the Post Road (U.S. 1). Full disclosure: one of the owners, Buckley Ryan, is the son-in-law of that good friend. Buckley and his partner B.J. Lawless, two talented young guys, gutted an old empty warehouse and have distilled their experience at other venues into a high-energy pub with a very appealing menu. The place opened about a month ago, and when I went back with my DH for dinner Friday night, we found it gratifyingly crowded (and quite noisy). I generally pass on bread, but downed several slices of chewy baguette with yummy garlic herb butter. Tried the Bang Bang Shrimp (scrumptious spicy appetizer), Las Vegas Chopped Salad (very good teriyaki chicken, iceberg lettuce, tomato, scallions, fried onion strings, Asian glaze), Chop Chop Cobb Salad (even better turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, hardboiled egg, gorgonzola, mesclun, vinaigrette). DH had a Pub Burger (good) and potato wedges (cooked as intended, they were a bit too salty and overcooked for his taste; he would try a different starch next time). Very nice house chardonnay. Generous portions, reasonable prices. Parking available on the street and in a few nearby lots -- no problem at lunch, somewhat harder to find in the evening. Go! Enjoy!

  1. e
    Elizzie Oct 15, 2007 07:49 AM

    Glad to hear another positive review of this place; however, that building housed another (terrible) restaurant called the Brass Rail for many many years so, if the talented young guys are claiming to have gutted an old warehouse, that's simply not true.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elizzie
      WendyBinCT Oct 16, 2007 07:32 AM

      Yes, the building now occupied by B.J. Ryan's was once the Brass Rail, so it was inaccurate of me to describe it as a "warehouse." That's the word my friend used to describe the space her son-in-law Buckley Ryan and his friend B.J. Lawless took over -- it was an empty shell, with only perimeter walls, since the former establishment had been abandoned. They spent many months on renovation, including the addition of a second floor. B.J.'s father, Bob, an architect, designed the gorgeous new interior.

    2. m
      Mopsik Oct 27, 2007 02:34 PM

      Checked out BJ Ryan's for lunch - great burgers, sandwiches, fries, etc. Great neighborhoody addition to the area. With the plasmas, imagine this would also be a good place to have some beers and watch a game. We'll be back......

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mopsik
        Elizzie Oct 28, 2007 06:20 PM

        It's definitely on my "to try" list.

      2. c
        CT Chowman Nov 5, 2007 07:34 AM

        The wife and I checked out B.J.Ryans in Norwalk on Saturday for Dinner.
        The food was rock solid, fairly priced and a great selection and variety. I had a tough time selecting what to order.
        Everything that passed by us on the waiter’s trays looked really good and generous portions.
        It has a very homey pub feeling to it, and the big screen TV’s allowed you to keep up with all the games scores.
        I would definitely recommend this place, they have done an excellent job in building this place, can’t wait to go back again. It gets really busy there on a Saturday night, so consider going a little early to get a good spot.

        1. e
          Elizzie Nov 20, 2007 12:25 PM

          Just had lunch at B.J. Ryan's -- just as good (if not better) than I anticipated based on the feedback here. One complaint though -- no one mentioned that they serve marrow bones as an appetizer! Didn't have time for them this time, but the tuna nicoise salad I had and my friend's burger were really very good. Definitely going to be making this a regular choice!
          WendyBinCT, tell your friend that her son-in-law has done a very good thing!

          1. m
            mrbeachy Nov 20, 2007 05:51 PM

            2 questions- can you post the phone # and any other info?

            i cant figure out what "DH" means.

            7 Replies
            1. re: mrbeachy
              vegas Nov 21, 2007 05:44 AM


              1. re: vegas
                Foodie Fairfield Nov 21, 2007 06:21 AM

                Great place, good bartenders. Bang Bang Shrimp is awesome.

              2. re: mrbeachy
                shellyesq Nov 21, 2007 01:55 PM

                Unless she had a designated hitter with her, DH is internet-speak for "dear husband."

                1. re: shellyesq
                  WendyBinCT Nov 29, 2007 03:41 PM

                  Yes, shellyesq, exactly so!

                  Revisiting the board after a while offline during my holiday crunch -- delighted to find so many enthusiastic reviews! My DH and I have eaten at B.J. Ryan's three times so far, once with our son. He has returned with his friends, and recommends the fried calamari with Bayou remoulade, and the steak sandwich. Sunday brunch was a special treat, with gnarly baguette-based French toast, and tasty variations on Eggs Benedict. Just love this place -- great food, good value, friendly staff, comfortable setting, congenial ambience.

                  B.J. Ryan's was mentioned this evening on the sports radio network WFAN, by Chris Russo, a broadcaster who lives in New Canaan.

                  1. re: WendyBinCT
                    Foodie Fairfield Nov 30, 2007 05:25 AM

                    How are the Bloody Mary's? Coffee? I've been looking for a good brunch place.

                    1. re: Foodie Fairfield
                      WendyBinCT Nov 30, 2007 01:24 PM

                      I can't vouch for the Bloody Mary, since I'm not into mixed drinks, but friends who are seem very happy with the offerings from the bar. The coffee is a bit strong for my taste, but lots of people like it that way.

                      1. re: Foodie Fairfield
                        kiwijane Mar 11, 2008 02:45 PM

                        Brunch items on menu and specials on Saturdays and Sundays.

                2. c
                  Conny Feb 29, 2008 05:35 AM

                  Visited BJ Ryan's on many occasions myself! Food is excellent (bang bang shrimp and wild mushroom truffle w/ pizza outstanding)and has remained that way since day one. The interior is indeed beautiful and very metropolitan for the 'burbs. I find the atmosphere very loud and fraternity like in the bar area, often with the owner leading the antics. Sorry to say that the friendly easy going wait staff that was there at the beginning has been replaced with wiatresses who look like deer in the headlights and do not have the finesse to provide quality service.

                  1. v
                    vegas Feb 29, 2008 09:04 AM

                    2 words - Jello Shots!!!!!!!!!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: vegas
                      Fairfield.Foody Feb 29, 2008 09:06 AM

                      2 more words...HELL YEAH

                    2. WendyBinCT May 2, 2008 05:09 PM

                      Had one of the best meals of my life this evening at B.J. Ryan's. Decided to order one of the specials, which were heavily tilted toward seafood on a Friday, including linguine with white clam sauce and pan-seared scallops. I went for the monkfish, and was served three tender medallions, perfectly sautéed, with chunks of lobster in a creamy sauce, over mashed potatoes, with a side of snow peas and baby carrots, all for $16.95. Insanely delicious and an extraordinary value.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: WendyBinCT
                        amex Feb 22, 2009 03:32 PM

                        Interior design tastefully done for a pub.
                        Noise level on the high side; it's a pub.
                        The menu very ambitious but they do follow through. The portion sizes are insane. Half of each would still be plenty. Quality really good for the location and the price. Food is better than the Ginger Man and 3 Bear Grill in SoNo.
                        Service very attentive.
                        Will be back.

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