STRATFORD, Conn. — Dan Rizzo has a mind for marketing. Chris Hey has years of experience in finance. Brian Kearney is a seasoned bartender and manager. And Dan Kardos makes award-winning pub grub.
Add these four talented Stratford residents together and what do you get? Liberty Rock Tavern, the popular eatery they opened just over the Milford border in Devon in October.
“It’s a good mix with the four of us,” said Hey. “It was a unique opportunity.”
Hey started his journey from keeping books to opening bars last year when two friends asked him to help develop a plan to take over the former Kings Court Bar & Grill, a Bridgeport Avenue restaurant he frequented.
Hey came on board, and the next thing he knew, he was a partner in the business, bringing along Kardos to captain the back of the house.
Kardos has a long resumé, including stints with the SBC restaurants and as culinary director for Westport’s Bartaco and tapas haven Barcelona.
And Hey says he’s bringing his best game at Liberty Rock Tavern, which boasts a small but tasty menu named Best Pub Grub on the Connecticut Magazine 2017 Best Restaurants list. The eatery also scored as the runner-up for Best Fried Chicken on the magazine’s reader’s poll.
Offerings also include a Hummel Brothers “Freedom Pup,” a whole belly clam roll, crab and avocado toast and burrata.
The beers on tap and in cans and bottles feature Black Hog Granola Brown, Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine and Stratford’s own Two Roads Honeypot IPA.
The menu has about five to 10 dishes that rotate from time to time, but items such as the Southern fried chicken sandwich are always available.
“I would consider it upscale bar food,” Hey said. “We are technically a bar first and a restaurant second.”
The Devon neighborhood is enjoying a steady revitalization, and the four partners wanted to be part of that, Hey said.
“We really wanted to bring a comfortable and rejuvenated place to the area,” he said. “This has been wildly successful for us.”
Liberty Rock Tavern is located at 229 Bridgeport Ave. The hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays; noon to 2 a.m. Saturdays; and noon to 1 a.m. Sundays. For more information, visit libertyrocktavern.com .