‘We Know the Value That They Have’: Tequila Mockingbird’s New Owners To Keep High-Quality Staff, Upbeat Vibe

The new owners of Tequila Mockingbird say they’re eager to continue the iconic Forest Street restaurant’s strong 25-year run and that means maintaining not only high-quality Mexican food but also great service. “We know the value of the people that have worked there for so many years,” said New Canaan resident Paul Tully, part of the ownership group at Tequila Mockingbird. “We now the relationships that they have with the people in town and that, quite honestly is part of the purchase. We hoped—because we could not guarantee that all team members stayed—because in the back of my mind, they’re part of what makes it so great.”

Tully and his partners acquired half of Tequila Mockingbird in the spring of 2015, when the group purchased Gates Restaurant next door, and bought the other half at the end of 2016. The restaurant’s original owner, Paul Mauk of New Canaan, continued as proprietor at Tequila through a transition period that ended last month, Tully said.

Tequila Mockingbird on Forest Street Is Sold; Chef-Owner Paul Mauk To Leave at Summer’s End

Paul Mauk had been working as a professional artist, painter and teacher of fine arts when he left his native Colorado in 1981 for Brooklyn, N.Y.

He hated living in New York City, and after about one year Mauk heard about an opportunity some 50 miles north. “Somebody knew [former Gates owner] Billy [Auer] and these guys, and said, ‘I’ve got some friends out in New Canaan—they’ll give you a job,’ ” Mauk recalled on a recent afternoon as pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic passed by the familiar, colorful exterior of Tequila Mockingbird. Mauk jumped at the chance. Arriving, Mauk moved in upstairs at 10 Forest St. (or, as the formal tax records now variously have it, 18 Forest St.

Did You Hear … ?

2016 Cyclocross National Champion David Thompson Junior Men 9-10

Uploaded by Cyclocross Magazine on 2016-01-09.

Congratulations to New Canaan’s David Thompson, who last weekend earned the title 2016 Cyclocross National Champion in the Junior Men 9-10 division (see video above). We hear that David is a 9-year-old who attends the fourth grade at West School, and local cycling guru Lou Kozar of New Canaan Bicycles informs us (dryly) that David’s accomplishment is “kind of a big deal.”

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After impounding and multiple roaming dogs that all had invisible fence collars on them, New Canaan Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm is urging residents to double-check the batteries on those devices as well as their systems at home. A golden retriever on Skyview Lane, Labradoodle on Jelliff Mill Road and a pair of dogs on Oenoke Lane—a German shepherd and pit bull—all were collected by the New Canaan Police Department Animal Control section in recent days. ***

We’ve got the details on New Canaanite and “What’s Up With Wendy” radio show host Wendy Lowy Sloane’s sixth anniversary broadcast at 11 a.m. on 1490 AM-WGCH and online at WGCH.com. Her guests include actress Monica Potter, NBC Sports broadcaster Leigh Diffey and Bob Leary, founder of Trimino.

New Canaan Restaurants Prep for Al Fresco Dining Season

Despite rainy days forecast for the week ahead, New Canaan received true, prolonged tastes of spring with picture-perfect weather the past two weekends. With Spring at long last arrived in earnest, local restaurateurs such as Henry Rosenbaum of Boulevard 18 began preparation for the resulting demand for outdoor dining. “We are thrilled,” Rosenbaum said on a recent evening at Boulevard 18, also a top-5 most romantic New Canaan restaurants selection. “We had people out on Friday and Saturday night on the patio, which was the sign for spring.”

In addition to the idyllic al fresco dining on Main Street at Boulevard 18, New Canaan’s “Restaurant Row” has several options, including Cava, Tequila Mockingbird and the soon-to-be-reopened Farmer’s Table where chef Robert Ubaldo and partner Lucia Leone are working nonstop to get the former Bistro Bonne Nuit space ready for business. NewCanaanite.com received an impromptu peek at the new Farmer’s Table space, which will feature an open kitchen and rustic design in addition to the sidewalk patio.