BEACON FALLS — Local dignitaries and residents packed the town’s newest restaurant last Friday night as chef Gang Guo prepared meals for everyone. Although the opening had not been advertised, the restaurant was completely full by 7 p.m.
New Harvest, located at 57 South Main St. in the space formerly occupied by Full Harvest Bar & Grill, opened its doors to give patrons a sneak preview of what the restaurant. The restaurant, which is owned by Guo, officially opened its doors on Saturday.
Although he was busy Guo took a moment to greet two customers at a nearby table, welcoming them to the restaurant.
“Each time they walked by they always said hi and wanted to know when’s my first day,” Guo said of the two patrons. “They said, ‘I’ve got to be there.’ Well, here they are. They made it,” Guo said.
Guo bought the restaurant in September shortly after moving to Bethany from Pittsburgh, Pa. He plans to start off by opening for dinner Mondays through Saturdays.
Although New Harvest is the first restaurant he has owned, Guo, who is originally from China, has been working in kitchens since he moved to America in 2002.
“My first job in the United States was in a kitchen. Obviously it was a Chinese kitchen,” Guo said. “I like to cook. I like to talk to people about food.”
Guo has worked in more than 10 restaurants since moving to America, learning a wide variety of cooking styles along the way. Guo said he has learned how to cook Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, German, Korean and Mexican cuisine.
Although he can cook many different kinds of food, Guo said, he wants to get to know what people in the area like before setting his menu.
“I know the food in the Pittsburgh area, how they like their food. Here I will set out standard food in the beginning, just seafood and steak. Nothing can go wrong with that. Then I will build my menu as I get to know the people’s taste, what they like,” Guo said.
Guo’s current menu includes items such as seared scallops, New York Strip steak and empanadas.
“The empanada is a pretty popular appetizer, so why not make it here,” Guo said.
While he doesn’t know the town’s tastes yet, he has become familiar with the town’s character.
“People are so friendly and so nice. Everyone going by walking or biking or even in their car, they saw me in front of the door and they just stopped to say hi. It’s a very friendly town,” Guo said. “If you just stand by the door and just look outside the people will start asking you, ‘Hi, what’s going on here? Are you going to be doing something?’ That’s the small town.”
Among the crowd last Friday night was Economic Development Commission Chairman Jeremy Rodorigo. He said having the restaurant open will benefit the town in several ways.
“It means a lot to the town because we need this, we need anchors to bring people downtown and when businesses are successful downtown more businesses will come,” Rodorigo said.
Rodorigo said the commission has heard from the manufacturing businesses in town that they need a place to bring potential clients. Rodorigo said New Harvest fits the bill.
“It feels like home and it feels like the kind of place where we want people to come and experience Beacon Falls. People from outside of Beacon Falls come into this place and it’s kind of a little snapshot of what Beacon Falls is all about,” Rodorigo said.