Newtown: Burgerittoville Puts a New Twist on an Old Favorite

Managing Partner Joseph Rebecco is happy to show off the newly expanded space at Burgerittoville, 57 Church Hill Rd., Newtown, where friends and family can enjoy the famous treat and more. (Zukauskas photo)

NEWTOWN — Burgerittoville, 57 Church Hill Rd., has fulfilled a 14-year mission by expanding from a small space known for good lunches to a full restaurant. Managing partner Joseph Rebecco told Voices, “This has always been the plan and it’s finally here.” Cave Comics, which had formerly occupied the space next door, moved to a new building on the same site and the restaurant remodeled the interior of the town’s original train station.

“We had some setbacks. Our contractor, who was also my godfather, passed away and the microburst in May [2018] ripped off the roof.”

Mr. Rebecco added, “But, finally, we’re here and we’re open!”

Loyal customers have expressed their happiness with the expansion and have been spreading the word.

“When people come here for the first time, they tell us how nice it looks but I can’t take credit. The building itself is cool.”

Respecting the history and integrity of the train station’s design, he hired the local company R. Botsford Custom Woodworking to recycle the wood removed and use the material to create a new bar, tables and booths.

“I think they did a fantastic job of fitting in with a building from the 1800s.”

In addition to an attractive and expanded atmosphere, Burgerittoville is now offering an expanded menu.

“We still have our original items but, after 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, there is a new dinner menu. It’s nothing fancy but these are fork and knife meals and not sandwiches.”

Dishes like the warm queso dip were the result of many trials, but Mr. Rebecco feels the work was well worth the effort. 

“It’s really good on the chips that we get from Mexicali Rose in town. We make almost everything from scratch, like the hummus, tzatziki, and sauce for the spicy shrimp.”

The popularity of the French fries inspired the kitchen to create a steak frite dish and, while Mr. Rebecco leaves the cooking to his wife, Amy Rebecco, his partner Paul Ruzbarsky, and Elizabeth Payola, he relies on his own training as a butcher to prepare the steaks.

“The food is really good. I don’t cook it but I eat it and it’s awesome, even the salads. I’ve lost 7 pounds in three months because I’m ordering them. They look and taste that good.”

The most popular dish remains the Burgeritto, a dish invented by necessity.

“I had a bar in Fairfield and was making burgers one night when I realized we were out of buns. I grabbed a tortilla and rolled the burger, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ketchup.”

He said that the tortilla and arrangement of ingredients in it allow for all flavors to blend well, unlike a bun, where a bite might miss a bit of bacon or tomato.

What had started as a quick fix caught on. “Within days, people were coming in and asking, ‘Will you make me one of those?’ We were getting takeout orders for 18 to 20 at a time and selling so many that the buns were going stale.”

He switched to making Burgerittos exclusively and now offers a variety, including chili, Buffalo, Veggieritto, and club.

For Mr. Rebecco, making customers happy is about finding the right flavors. He tried 50 brands of hot dog before selecting the dog he now describes as one of the best he’s ever eaten.

The shakes and malts are made to order, with a vanilla ice cream base mixed to create a wide variety of delights such as fresh banana or strawberry, Nutella, the Elvis with peanut butter and banana, and Funfetti, which is a drinkable take on the popular cake flavor.

“We make our own caramel for the Banana Foster shake. Though, obviously, we don’t flame it.”

The restaurant is casual and welcomes families and friends. “We have a bar but this place is more than a bar. I’m getting older and I want a restaurant that can offer a good beer with my Burgeritto or shepherd’s pie.”

There are 86 beers and ciders and 40 wines available.

Mr. Rebecco said, “From the time I was a little kid, I’d stare into the bar when we were out to dinner and I’d wonder what was going on in there. 

“I got older and got a job in a kitchen, working my way to the floor and bar. I loved it and just kept doing it, getting more experience at different restaurants and learning everything I could.

Now, he lends his experience to present some unique cocktails at Burgerittoville.

“The Bee’s Knees is one of our best-selling drinks. It’s an old recipe, from the early 1900s and uses Barr Hill gin, which works perfectly with honey and lemon.”

He likes the idea of pouring both old and new recipes and happy hour runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with half price beers on Tuesdays and discounts on wine on Wednesdays.

Saturday and Sunday are described as Sparkling Weekend, with a discount on Prosecco and Champagne drinks.

Burgerittoville is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 

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