Restaurateurs/Hoteliers Saad Akhtar and Shelly Nichani have been involved with the city of Stamford’s latest project, The Mill River Collaborative, since taking ownership and refurbishing The Hampton Inn & Suites in 2006. Situated on Mill River Street, directly across from the main park landscape of the newly developed Mill River Park, their 100 + room hotel is also home to Shelly’s on the River, a stunning restaurant, bar, and lounge featuring a diverse menu, jazz décor, and special event space.
Akhtar and Nichani own one of the only hotels and restaurants in the shadow of the park. “We have been looking forward to this since we purchased the property in 2006,” says Akhtar, “We’ve seen the progress and there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel.”
While the hotel is 90% complete, there are a few more property enhancements in the works. The restaurant was renovated in 2007 and had a short stint as “Rulu’s”, which was owned and operated by an outside restaurateur. In 2009 Akhtar and Nichani took over the restaurant, with a clear vision of what the restaurant should offer and how the future park will affect both the restaurant and the hotel. Shelly’s on the River will have its official launch this May.
Shelly’s on the River has many layers to it and is poised to become a popular dining, gathering and event destination. Executive Chef Gabriel Brandi and Sous Chef Tim Depelteau have created a menu that pulls from various global influences, while positioning itself as an American Bistro. Menu highlights include; tarragon lump crab cakes, grilled asparagus with roasted tomato ratatouille and a poached egg, wild mushroom ravioli with wilted spinach and sherry cream, hickory smoked bbq baby back ribs, herb crusted filet of beef with grilled polenta and wild mushroom ragout, crispy panko chicken with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, and for dessert; Belgian truffle brownie obsession with espresso ice cream, and classic bananas Foster.
The feel of Shelly’s on the River is that of a New Orleans jazz club. Vibrant artwork, bold colors, and the use of multiple textiles and plush furnishings lend to the energy of the space and welcoming air to the bar and lounge. The main dining rooms are more elegant, filled with softer tones, wood flooring on one side and soft carpeting on the other, all with a panoramic view of the park. A large focus will be on utilizing the space for special events. Due to the layout, it will be possible to execute normal lunch and dinner service while other parts of the restaurant host private parties. The outdoor patio is currently being landscaped and will, no doubt, be a city hot spot for dining al fresco.
BEFORE YOU GO:
Dress-code: Business Casual
Reservations: Accepted and recommended for parties for 6 and over
Type of Cuisine: American To-go/Catering: Yes
Entrée Price ranges: Dinner: $15.00-$28.00 Lunch: $7.00-$18.00 Brunch: $30.00
Beverage Specialties: Martinis/Cocktails $9.00
Happy Hour: Mon, Tues, Thurs, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Wed, Sat, Sun, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Hours of Operation: Dinner: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Lunch: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Brunch: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
The above article is a release from Linda Kavanagh of Maxexposure. La Buena Vida has teamed up with Maxexposure to bring the latest in Fairfield County dining.