The Russell’s new daytime option is adding new flavor and spice to Pratt Street’s lunch hour.
Hugh Russell, who’s owned and operated his eponymous Hartford Caribbean restaurant and bar for 13 years, opened The Russell Grab and Go next door at 101 Pratt St. on July 10. The quick-service restaurant features salads, sandwiches, Jamaican and Caribbean entrees and snacks like beef patties, jerk wings and coco bread.
Russell served lunch at his first restaurant for a few years, he says, but found that diners didn’t always have time to sit and eat, or wait for made-to-order meals. He decided to focus on dinner, with plans to revisit lunch in the future.
“I said, I’m just going to revamp, and hope that one day I’ll be able to do exactly what people want, which is grab and go.”
After about a year and a half of planning, Russell debuted his new concept, representing his Jamaican heritage with authentic dishes like oxtail, curry goat, jerk chicken and pork and pepper steak. Lunch entrees are pre-prepared and served hot, in two portion sizes (small, $8 to $10 and medium, $10 to $12) and come with choice of sides (rice and peas or white rice) and veggies (steamed or fresh mixed.) Fridays bring two specialty dishes: stew peas with salt pork and pepper shrimp.
The menu also offers two salads ($7), with the option to add jerk chicken; jerk and curry chicken sandwiches ($8 and $9) and sides ($2 to $8), like ackee and salt fish, fried dumpling, festival, escovitch fish and fried plantain. “Quick bites,” like beef, chicken, lentil and callaloo patties; soup of the day and mac and cheese, are $2.50 to $7. Beverages include Jamaican sodas and juices.
“I felt downtown was missing that flavor,” Russell says. “I wanted it to be an authentic experience.”
The grab-and-go space has about 25 seats, and guests have also chosen to dine in, Russell says. It also helps The Russell transition to its evening hours, as much of the furniture is on wheels and can be moved easily to prepare the area to accommodate the dinner and bar crowd.
“The bar at night is so busy, I wanted to build something that was movable,” Russell says.
The Russell Grab and Go is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Russell says he’ll examine the hours in the future if customer demand dictates. Delivery is available through UberEATS and GrubHub. 860-727-4014 and therussellct.com/grab-and-go.