philosophy

Passion, love and innovation fuel our vision to bring a full spectrum experience to our guests. We value the foundation of fine dining: from classic French technique to reverence for ingredients.

The Essex marks the transition between old New England charm and upscale elegance; a time that calls for refreshment and rejuvenation. Steeped in the rich heritage of the Connecticut River Valley, the land infuses our culinary vision with the freshest locally-sourced products available from farm and sea.

At the same time, we call on traditions from around the world, as well as the avant-garde to represent both the nostalgic and the modern through progressive interpretations of timeless dishes.  

 

We removed the walls from the dining room to showcase the art of cooking in our open kitchen to pay homage to the food, wine, spirits and hospitality that is at the essence of everything!

We offer a variety of restoratives and invite you to imbibe in an atmosphere of satisfying food, spirits and good cheer.

 

 

 
 
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Colt Taylor, chef & co-owner

Just down the street at the original Saybrook Fish House, and later at Dock and Dine on The Connecticut River, Colt Taylor began his cooking career while still in high school.

Thus began a lifelong passion for the culinary world which led him, after graduating from UVM with a degree in small business entrepreneurship, to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America.

After graduating, Colt spent time traveling through Europe, and upon his return back to the US, worked as a professional chef in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Through this expansive culinary journey, he continually sharpened not only his cooking techniques but also his perspectives on food, wine, and the essence of what it means to be a restaurateur.

Also on his travels, Colt scouted places that he would eventually desire to one day open a restaurant. A trip back home to the Connecticut River Valley and contemplating the bountiful harvest it offered, led him to finally put down permanent roots in his hometown of Essex.

As an outdoorsman and lover of the land, Colt works closely with his purveyors: the farmers, fishermen and foragers who dot the surrounding landscape , ever searching for the most pristine bounty to bring to his kitchen.

 
 
 
 
 
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Michael Hannifan, co-owner

Michael Hannifan stands tall and proud in the background of this elegant venture.

From growing up on Bushnell Street in Hartford to his days of being a corrections officer in New Haven, Michael has built a life of perseverance, honor and diligent work ethic to uplift those around him. Thirty years ago, he began his pallet manufacturing business in New Britain Connecticut and, now, is bringing his experience from years of travel and dining to help reinvest in his home of Essex Connecticut.

 
 
 
 

Producers 

Terra Firma Farms, North Stonington CT - LINK
Arethusa Farm, Bantam, CT - LINK
Seacoast Mushrooms,  Mystic, CT. - LINK
Niantic Bay Shellfish Co.,  Niantic, CT. - LINK
Burnsy Homegrown Fresh Produce, Deep River, CT - LINK

 
 
 
 

FRIENDS & FAMILY

Melissa Barbieri, Essex, CT - LINK
Katey Wallker, Essex, CT - LINK
Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor, NY - LINK
Beacon, Sag Harbor, NY -  LINK
Fresno, Sag Harbor, NY - LINK