Owner David Gulak, left, is set to open Meridians: The Bar at 166 Main St. in downtown Fairfield on June 21. Gulak is shown above with Wesley Osterhout, who has been named the eatery’s manager. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

FAIRFIELD — A farm-to-table restaurant and its wine and cheese shop, both of which closed in January in downtown Fairfield, are set to reopen June 21 under a new model.

Meridians Kitchen & Bar at 166 Main St. has been renamed Meridians: The Bar, and its shop, which was across the street at the old Gerald Hotel building, has been moved to the restaurant building in what used to be the lounge.

Instead of an appetizer-entrée-dessert model, Meridians will offer a variety of “boards,” including a charcuterie board, pickled vegetables board, cheese and fruit board, cured seafood board, grilled board, fried board and dessert board, according to owner David Gulak.

“People can come in, get some food to share,” Gulak said Tuesday. “There are still lots of choices, but it’s more informal.”

Meridians will initially be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays as it tests the new model to see who dines at the restaurant, when they come in and what they prefer, Gulak said.

The restaurant opened in 2019, and Gulak decided to close it in late January so he could pause and reflect during a time when the restaurant industry was being upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Faced with staffing shortages and high costs, restaurateurs had to figure new ways to operate and be sustainable, Gulak said, and many eateries experienced high stress, low profits and long hours.

Many restaurants are now testing new models as the labor market continues to be tight and most costs have increased, according to Gulak, who owns the building in which Meridians is located. He will be the main chef and is looking for someone to work with him in the kitchen — not a professional chef, but someone who is creative and wants to learn, he said.

Wesley Osterhout, who was a bartender at Meridians Kitchen & Bar, has been named manager of Meridians: The Bar. She expects to do some bartending at the reopened restaurant, too.

Gulak said he expects the eatery will employ one or two part-time workers.

He noted that Meridians is reopening on the first day of summer — and on a full moon.

“I’m psyched to have people in there again, and have the energy and the joy,” he said.


Gulak grows all of the vegetables served at Meridians at his Benton farm.

“We do carrots, lettuce, broccoli, a variety of peppers, beets, potatoes — pretty much all the vegetables,” Osterhout said. “We do all our own pickling and and sauces.”

Osterhout said Meridians works with small farms to purchase meat and dairy products.

“We try to keep it as local as possible,” she said. “All our vegetables, we grow with our own hands.”

Manager Wesley Osterhout, left, and owner David Gulak stand in the entrance Wednesday to Meridians: The Bar at 166 Main St. in downtown Fairfield. The eatery is set to open June 21. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Gulak and Osterhout said people with whom they have spoken are excited about the return of Meridians.

“Anybody I mention it to is just ecstatic,” Osterhout said.


Meridians is a beautiful space where people can come for any occasion and feel at home, whether dressed up or wearing blue jeans and a ball cap, Osterhout said.

“I really like that David (Gulak) wants to offer something a little different that you can’t find at other places,” she said. “We have that in common: Create a space that we would like to go to.”

The dining room can accommodate about 55 guests and the bar has 10 seats.

The shop is to have the same hours as the restaurant, except on the opening Friday and Saturday (June 21 and 22), when the shop will be closed. It is scheduled to open June 28.

The shop, which opened in 2014, is named Meridians: The Shop. It is to feature a variety of wine, cheese, craft beer, sake, cider and meat, crackers and other charcuterie items.

Reservations will be required June 21 and 22. They can be made by calling 207-742-0036. After that, reservations will be available, but not required.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story