New Owner of Gates on Plan for Restaurant: ‘Best of the Old and Best of the New’

The “new” Gates will offer classic and new American food, featuring a wood-fired oven and rotisserie as well as an open kitchen, with the overarching goal of restoring the iconic downtown restaurant to its place as the go-to family destination in New Canaan, the business’s new owner said. The restaurant will undergo extensive interior renovation through this summer with an eye on opening in early September, though the “basic locations of everything in restaurant are going to remain the same—they’re just going to get updated,” said Jay Luther, a town resident since 2003. “My objective is to keep it as Gates, it’s a great name—it has a lot of history and lot of awareness—and to contemporize the concept a bit,” Luther said. “Our objective is to create a cool environment that is very welcoming and that is contemporary—the best of the old and best of the new.”

Scores of current and former New Canaanites were reeling with the news last week that Gates, a Forest Street fixture since 1979, had been sold and would close. Owners Billy Auer and Jeb Swift thanked the community for its support as they moved toward their own retirement, and the Gates bar and restaurant were packed on a final night this past Sunday.

SLIDESHOW: Last Call at Gates

Sunday, April 26, 2015 marked the end of an era in New Canaan as Gates Restaurant—a fixture in town since 1979—served up its last meals. “What a wonderful town,” Gates owner Billy Auer told during the final Sunday brunch. “We are very lucky to have had a restaurant in it.” “I’ve been crying all week long” co-owner Ceal Swift said. “When I lock the door for the last time, and say goodnight to Frank’s picture in the urinal, then I’ll know it’s over.”