The wood-fired artisan pizza and bourbon bar whose frontage is sculpted like a Japanese pagoda — with a black, red and pale wood facade — is finally ready for its soft opening.
At 4 p.m., , in the North of Rapallo Avenue section (or NoRA) of Middletown's North End, will open its doors, joining Eli Cannon's Tap Room, NoRA Cupcake Co., Tesoro art and Iva's Closet gifts.
Already, friends and family of the shop lovingly crafted by co-owners Rich Garcia and Kevin Wirtes, "love the cocktails, love the whiskey, love the food," Wirtes says.
Garcia, a Cheshire High School graduate, lives in Middletown and Wirtes, a Farmington High School graduate, lives in Harwinton.
These are traditional neopolitan-style pizza, Wirtes says, with a crispy crust and chewy interior. Specials include the Brussles: fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, roasted Brussel sprouts and roasted onion; the Honeymoon: San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pancetta, pineapple, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt; and the Sunny Side with pancetta and fried egg; or you can make your own — red or white (see attached menu).
For dessert, there is Nutella dessert pie with fresh strawberries, Wirtes says and NoRA Cupcake Co. creations which change daily.
Already customers are raving about the food.
"In a city with a vibrant restaurant scene, I think Krust has the potential to carve out its own niche," says Anthony Pioppi, who stopped by last week's private party. "The vast selection of bourbons is truly astounding. It reminds me of some of the great single malt establishments I've visited in Scotland. Kevin took us on a guided tour of many of the bottles and his knowledge and enthusiasm of what he poured really added to the experience."
Pioppi, who lives in Middletown, has done his share of traveling — and dining — as a freelance golf writer, and author of two books.
"I thought the pizza was wonderful, fitting somewhere comfortably between thin and thick crust. Rich's sauce, as it should, complimented the fresh ingredients. I think his creations can hold their own against some very good local competition," he says.
"In an age where so many restaurants seem to think the more TVs the better and blaring music inside and outside of the establishment is hip, Krust's laid-back atmosphere is a welcome respite. To me, the uncluttered, rustic decor conjures the image of a classy speakeasy, albeit one with a brick pizza oven," Pioppi says.
Check out Middletown Patch's September interview: Krust Starts Work on Artisan Pizza / Bourbon Bar
Krust will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to bar close. For information, see krustpizzabar.com.