Press Burger To Welcome Guests Back Inside Its New Canaan Dining Room

NEW CANAAN, CT — Back in 2020, Press Burger was forced to shut down the dining room at its New Canaan restaurant in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Since then, co-owners Seth Leifer and John Gallagher mainly focused on takeout at their South Avenue restaurant as they worked on opening a second location in Wilton.

This month, Press Burger will finally reopen its New Canaan dining room, along with some enhancements and even a few new menu items.

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“We just want to get seating in there because the community has been asking us for that,” Leifer said to Patch. “It’s kind of tough to just always take things to go if you’re with your kids and stuff, sometimes you just want to hang out, so we want to have our New Canaan community hanging out in our shop again, listening to music and just relaxing with us.”

Leifer emphasized the new reopened dining area will not offer the same seating customers were provided before 2020, rather it will emphasize an experiential atmosphere that is comfortable for guests as they enjoy their meal.

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“It’s going to be nicer,” Leifer said. “It’s going to be a vibe…and we’re going to do a nice paint job, so it’s the whole experience, but it always starts with the food.”

While no official date has been announced for the enhanced dining room to open, the owners hope to have everything mostly set by mid-July.

According to Leifer, the enhanced dining area will evoke the “fine fast casual” vibe the pair has been bringing to the menu for a number of years now. Though the restaurant opened in New Canaan in 2010, the owners rebranded and restructured the business into Press Burger in 2017, which involved changing their recipes, investing more in their ingredients and making more items in-house.

“New Canaan has had an idea of us over the past 13 years,” Leifer said, “but we’ve evolved. It’s a different concept and I just can’t wait for the community to see it.”

Press Burger uses all grass-fed and pasture raised beef, as well as all natural beef hot dogs with no added nitrites or nitrates. Even their milkshakes are hormone and antibiotic-free, according to Leifer.

When Leifer and Gallagher opened the Wilton location earlier this year, it came with a blessing of space. While the New Canaan restaurant is a smaller spot, measuring around 900 square feet, the Wilton restaurant is about double that size.

This allowed the pair to build two kitchens in Wilton, one in front for customers and one in back for online deliveries and to use as a test kitchen for their various homemade sauces and newer menu items.

“Before, we would bring in honey mustard,” Leifer said. “Now we’re migrating over to doing our own honey mustard, our own barbecue aioli. We’re actually starting to bottle those, and we’re going to be selling those in New Canaan as well. It’s so cool what we’re doing with all the new recipes.”

The pair has also made a concentrated effort to develop lighter, more health-conscious recipes and different ways of doing things, including using sunflower oil for frying instead of canola oil and not using butter on their buns.

“It’s a lot cleaner,” Leifer said. “You won’t feel as weighed down.”

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In addition to the burgers, hot dogs and fries customers have been enjoying for over a decade, the owners plan to introduce new fried and grilled chicken sandwiches, as well as a vegan carrot dog with a smoky hot dog-like taste topped with pickled red onions and a dill aioli.

While all the new enhancements have both owners excited, what they’re looking forward to the most is showing love to the customers in New Canaan who have supported them for over a decade.

“We’re just super excited for New Canaan to really know how we’ve evolved as a concept and what we’ve been building since rebranding in 2017,” Leifer said, “because it is very different from the original that opened up in 2010. We just want them to know that it is the fine fast casual, it is all these ingredients, it is all these homemade recipes.”

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