Michael McCormic, Jr.
RIDGEFIELD — Stuart Rowe and Mark Moore are two very different men who share one common goal: to bring quality food and positive community involvement to the city of Ridgefield.
What began as a mutual interest in food service for Rowe and Moore has morphed into a growing community gathering place off of Pioneer and Main in downtown Ridgefield (112 S. Main Ave.). Started in 2015 as a food truck venture, Buckets has evolved greatly over their past two years in business.
Rowe explains that the original vision for Buckets was to create something out of the ordinary. As such, the mission became to sell foods that could be served in a bucket. The idea served as the branding inspiration of the business, hence the name.
“We named it Buckets because we were going to be doing soups, chilis, rice dishes, pasta dishes, anything that can be in a bucket,” says Rowe.
Originally, the Buckets business model was to provide their food to area residents by means of a fleet of food trucks, with one commissary kitchen serving as “home base.” However, as Buckets began to get off the ground, Rowe and Moore reached a conclusion that would prove to be a game-changer for their growing business.
“Once we got started and we formed our kitchen, then we started serving out of the kitchen as more of a restaurant,” Rowe recalls. “We decided that both of us enjoyed that side of it more than the food truck side of it. So we are now pursuing more of the brick-and-mortar type locations for Buckets.”
Now, two years after opening, Buckets has expanded in more ways than one. While they continue to offer dishes that can be served in a bucket, the menu’s focus has shifted to sandwiches and barbecue items, each with their own special Buckets twist.
“We have a full line of sandwiches,” says Rowe. “We have added barbecue, so we have a smoker. We do chicken, smoked meatloaf, smoked brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and all kinds of things.”
In addition to the menu expansion, Buckets also opened up their new dine-in seating area on July 4. After the other half of the building in which the kitchen currently operates became available, Rowe and Moore jumped on the opportunity to create a place where members of the Ridgefield community could come and gather in larger numbers. The addition made it possible to offer approximately 30 new seats, larger tables, and a new public restroom.
New customers should expect to encounter three characteristics that make Buckets a local favorite: high-quality dishes, a friendly, community-oriented spirit, and frequent references to the 1987 film The Princess Bride. They should not, on the other hand, expect to find anything ordinary; the restaurant has put its own unique spin on many classic favorites. To Rowe, that is part of what makes Buckets alluring to much of its current clientele.
“Some of our all-time favorites are the Grandpa Bud sandwich, which is a toasted sandwich that has peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. It sounds weird, but people love it,” Rowe explains. “We’ve got a man from the community — Dr. Steve Roth — who is a chemist. He comes in and helps us design food sometimes. We created the Dr. Rothinator, which is a really strange sounding grilled sandwich. It’s got kimchi, peanut butter, pulled pork, and wasabi sauce in it.”
The personality behind the counter is just as unique as the personality on the plate. The staff at Buckets is always friendly, with a bit of spunk and a plenty of wit.
Rowe says that it is all by design, stating, “We really encourage upbeat, positive, friendly people to be working here and to contribute to the atmosphere.”
Even with the unique and exciting dining experience, Rowe believes that the most important factor in the Buckets’ success is the relationship they have built with the Ridgefield community.
“We feel that Ridgefield has embraced us and we feel a connection with Ridgefield. It’s really cool to have that community feel, to be involved in people’s lives, to know them on a first name basis, and to kind of have a huge extended family here in the town that can come in and share food with us and share the business.” Rowe notes.
In terms of the future, Rowe claims that the plan is to open 10 more locations within the next six years. While it is ambitious, the goal speaks volumes on the personality of the business; a personality that is sure to attract a loyal following wherever Buckets opens its next set of doors.
For more information, visit Buckets on Facebook.