Get to know… Sheila McGinnity and Nathan Kramer
NEW CANAAN — A downtown landmark, Gates Restaurant is under new management, chef included.
Manager Sheila McGinnity and Chef Nathan Kramer joined the New Canaan restaurant at 10 Forest St. in the past few months and are planning to bring new things to this traditional locale.
“People have always known Gates as a staple of town and we want to bring those values back,” McGinnity said.
In 2016, Gates was sold to a private restaurant group, was remodeled and reopened shortly after.
Both McGinnity and Kramer have been, in a way, self-taught, garnering experience throughout their years in the industry from mentors and different roles.
To learn more about Gates Restaurant, visit: https://www.gatesrestaurant.com/
Showing love for Local Heroes:
Gates Restaurant will take 20% off all regularly priced food purchases (including take-out) for Fire Fighters, Police Officers, EMS, Veterans, Military Personnel, Board of Education and Town Employees. Must have valid ID.
McGinnity, who has been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years, started working when she was only 13 at a neighbor’s pizza parlor and liquor store.
“I started working there and loved it,” McGinnity, the Stamford native, recalled. “My staff is like my family — it’s a hard business and I try to make it fun and make sure other people enjoy it.”
Originally from Long Island, Kramer knew he wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to being a chef when he was around 17 years old. Though he started out in some small restaurants in Long Island, he owes his learning to another chef, Glenn Thomas, while he was in Avon, Conn.
“It was this place with 90 seats, very upscale and with fine dining,” Kramer said. “I learned how to butcher and we grew our own vegetables. Thomas really taught me the bones of cooking.”
During his time there, Kramer realized that he could handle the pressure of the job including putting out orders and keeping tabs of different dishes all at one time.
“I was trained years ago in a classical French technique and I’ve built upon that,” Kramer said. “My cuisine specialty is more like eclectic, modern American or American with twist.”
For Kramer’s new stint in New Canaan, it’s about keeping classic dishes on the menu but also innovating and experimenting.
“Here I want to focus more on the local stuff like with dairy farms, local meat purveyors and butchers in town,” Kramer said. “We do have things on the menu that people love here at Gates and now it’s a bit different and reimagined and we’re trying to build on that and branch out and incorporate different products.”
McGinnity and Kramer said they were looking forward to the coming weeks, pointing out the restaurant was more of a fall and winter season establishment.
McGinnity said she was excited for a new opportunity in New Canaan and that though it’s a tough industry, there’s always something to experiment with and innovate.
“It’s a lot of hard work. You need to have people who care about others and have a personality,” McGinnity said. “You need to be able to have that patience.”
Kramer, from the kitchen side, agreed.
“In this business, you definitely can’t just sit still, you have to be aggressive and try different things,” Kramer said.