A little more than a year ago, a lifelong foodie from West Hartford turned to Instagram to showcase her love of Connecticut’s best eats. Little did Alycia Chrosniak know that she was planting the seeds for one of Connecticut’s top up-and-coming lifestyle and leisure brands.
Today, CT Eats Out has more than 28,000 followers on Instagram, a newly launched website, and some serious street cred for being the authority on Connecticut’s culinary world. We caught up with Alycia to learn more on how CT Eats Out came to be, and (of course) get her tips on where we should be eating these days.
I started the Instagram account a year ago, and at the time I was feeling extremely lost in terms of what I wanted to do with my life. I had recently assisted on a cookbook photo shoot for a family friend, and I really enjoyed it. I started pondering ways to immerse myself in the food world. My background is in marketing and public relations, so it made sense to do something along those lines. My initial thought was that this could could lead me to a position at a food publication. But then the account started doing really well, and was fulfilling this niche that really interested people, so it seemed silly to just abandon it. I kept building it and just recently expanded into a full website as well.
Now that you’ve gone beyond just Instagram and launched a dedicated website, what’s your vision for CT Eats Out?
I want CT Eats Out to be your comprehensive guide to food in Connecticut. You can come to us for recommendations on where to eat and to learn more about the local farmers, cheesemongers, and the chefs behind your favorite restaurants. Need a recipe? We’ve got you covered. Want to know if there are any pop-up or wine dinners this week? Well, good news, we have event listings.
Your blog covers all of Connecticut. What kind of trends have you observed in the food (or foodie) scene across the state in recent years?
Incorporating local ingredients has become much more of the norm across the state. It’s gone from being, “Ooh a farm to table restaurant!” to most restaurants that I frequent featuring local farms and purveyors in some way. To see the names of local farms, cheesemongers, and fishermen popping up more and more is a really great thing.
What are the most popular dishes among your followers these days?
People LOVE gluttonous food. I don’t know if it’s the “treat yo’ self” mentality or what, but the more decadent or ridiculous something is the better. Since it’s currently the summer, lobster rolls and ice cream are very popular, and a year-round obsession seems to be s’mores. Seriously, any variation a restaurant can do on a s’more people will literally (and figuratively) eat right up.
What’s your favorite restaurant right now?
I honestly can’t choose just one. But here are a few of my current favorites:
- The Treehouse at The Oyster Club in Mystic for their decadent lobster roll and of course, oysters
- The Cook and The Bear Pop Up Dinner Series in Simsbury at Millwright’s Restaurant with Bear’s Smokehouse for the wings and the smoked beets
- Kawa Ni in Westport for the kani crab salad, creamy spicy hamachi, and pork and garlic ramen
- Shu in West Hartford for the chengdu dumplings and eggplant in garlic sauce
- Firebox Restaurant in Hartford for their shishito peppers and tavern burger
What does your typical day look like?
The best part about this job is that there is no typical day. Some days I’m working on our marketing strategy or writing and brainstorming content. Others I’m meeting with chefs, shooting videos for the site with our filmmaker Jeremy, or driving the coast and eating, like, 5 lobster rolls in one day for our guides (tough life, I know).
What’s the most common Uber trip you take?
I live in the Hartford area, where we have a great restaurant and bar scene, so Uber is super helpful on the weekends. My most common trip is definitely either coming home from one of the great happy hours in the area or after a long, wine-filled dinner. It doesn’t hurt that you just lowered prices, either!
What’s in store for CT Eats Out for the rest of August and through the Fall?
Each month we choose a CT county and feature a tastemaker (a local influencer that is killing it in their field) and a chef. August is Litchfield County, so we have some cool pieces coming out about our tastemaker, Cornwall Soap Co., and Chef Marcell Davidsen of Community Table. And next month we’ll be moving on to New Haven County, which is beloved for its food scene, so that should be fun as well. Other than that we have some great food and beer guides coming out, we’re increasing our event coverage, and will be showcasing more recipes from everyone’s favorite restaurants.
Photos by Tricia Flasphaler