Want to know details behind The Chelsea? Chef and Partner Matt Storch sat down with That’s SO Jenn for a Q & A about his latest establishment:
Your restaurant Match in SoNo has been so successful. Why branch out to Fairfield?
Each town is getting their own little hot spots now. We want a piece of the pie everywhere. I live in Fairfield and I love the area. Kevin [McHugh] has had huge success in Southport and Westport, while Scott [Beck] and I have done well in SoNo. Fairfield needed us.
Tell me about the name, The Chelsea.
It’s definitely a gastropub and the first one is in the Chelsea part of London. We thought it was an appropriate, catchy, fun name.
How long has it been in the works for?
From the second we signed the lease it took us three months until we opened it in July. The concept built itself in the meetings we had. All three of us had our minds set on what we wanted and we meshed well together.
You’ve teamed up with two very successful restauranteurs, Scott Beck and Kevin McHugh. How have each of you contributed a piece of yourselves to this new spot?
We’re all very interesting individuals so we work well together. Kevin is very eccentric and creative. He was the design aspect with help from Architect and Designer Rick Hogue. I’m more structured so I handle the kitchen and staff training on the floor. Scott is extremely organized and meticulous so he handles the business. We all stick to our departments, but there’s certainly an overlap at times.
How is The Chelsea different from the style you use at Match?
You’ll see hints of Match, but what we try to do at The Chelsea is more casual. Its plays on bar and pub food for classic, homey dishes. I wanted people to pick up the menu and say, ‘Wow there’s really something for me to eat here.‘ It’s not farm to table, it’s not those trends. It’s the trend of really good food for a really affordable price that you can go to at least once a week and always have something new to choose from or your favorite to choose from. The idea is to create dishes that really catch you and get you to crave them.
Do you have a favorite so far?
That’s too tough, they’re all my babies. Some things sell well and you think they will be the best thing since sliced bread, and other times you come up with something else and that’s the best thing.
You just switched over to your fall menu. Any items that will remain a constant throughout the seasons?
There are definitely mainstays there such as the tuna crudo, the burger, and the lobster roll which are slowly becoming a classic that people love, and I think they’ll love year round. The calamari is fun and so is the fried chicken and handmade poppers. Those are certainly already developed and will stay as well as the summer lemonades.
What autumn inspired dishes have you added to your selection?
We just added the sheep’s milk ricotta, pigs in a blanket with chili and mustard, squash pasta with poached egg, which is basically a squash ravioli meets carbonara, steak frites and an ahi tuna entrée with whipped parsnips, charred brussels sprouts and a port glaze.
Your new location has been two different restaurants in the past two and a half years. What gives The Chelsea that magic touch for longevity?
For all of us, it’s not the first time we’ve done this so we know what we’re doing. We’re on top of everything, and know we have to be organized and stay structured.
Tell me about the décor.
It’s definitely a nod to the London area. We were going for a cottagy feel in the greenhouse area with the Edison bulbs and exposed lighting.
What can we look forward to when dining at The Chelsea?
You can look forward to having a good time. Just come in and play with the whimsical aspect of it. We’re trying not to be too pretentious and upscale. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we just want to have fun. The food at Match is my creative outlet while the food at The Chelsea is really classic recipes done really, really well. We’re trying to be an everyday place for everybody. That’s the goal.