Agora offers new gathering place in Brookfield
BROOKFIELD — It didn’t take long for Julio Cevallos to find himself back in a kitchen.
A former partner at Julliano’s in Bethel, Cevallos is now part owner and chef at Agora Restaurant & Bar, which opened earlier this month at 834 Federal Road.
“My priority is to make sure people are getting good quality. They need to get what they pay for,” said Cevallos, a chef for 15 years. “I always use the freshest stuff and like to use local and organic ingredients. I don’t like anything out of a can. It has to be fresh.”
Cevallos said Julliano’s was successful and people enjoyed the food, but it closed after a year in business because he and his business partner did not agree on which direction to take the Italian restaurant. At Agora, Cevallos is teamed with restaurateur Sammy Halim.
“He’s mainly in the front of the house and I’m in the kitchen,” Cevallos said of his new business partnership. “We are working together well. We want to bring a different and unique restaurant to Brookfield.”
Halim said he jumped at the chance to work with Cevallos when he heard about Julliano’s closure.
“I’ve known him for a long time and he’s one of the best chefs around,” Halim said. “When I found out he closed his business I reached out and brought him here.”
Agora offers an eclectic menu with many dishes based on the Mediterranean style of cooking. Dinner options vary from burgers, build your own pasta and specialty pizzas to meat and seafood entrees such as steak au poivre and Tuscan salmon.
Cevallos’s style of cooking instantly hooked New Milford resident Kendra Cimmino, who counts herself as a regular at Agora.
“This is already my favorite place. It’s high quality and the prices are fair, especially for what you get,” Cimmino said. “I travel a lot and recently had shrimp and grits in San Francisco. It was a joke compared to the shrimp and grits here.”
Agora seats 160 people, but offers an intimate atmosphere with its four separate dining rooms — most with their own fireplace. It also has a separate bar area and outdoor patio. Cevallos hopes to add a second patio to the restaurant.
Agora features live piano music four days a week with George Marmaras playing Fridays and Saturdays, and Hank Milligan on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and has take-out and catering services.
Agora, at the former site of Alexander’s, is well north of the busy, four-lane section of Federal Road and is just beyond Four Corners. Cevallos is excited about the Brookfield Village development project underway at Four Corners.
“That will bring in a lot of business,” he said. “It’s a short walk away.”
Cevallos and Halim said they want Agora to be an active member of the Brookfield business community. Cevallos has spoken to and done cooking demonstrations for Brookfield High School students interested in culinary arts. They also plan to hold children’s cooking classes at Agora.
Agora is named for a Greek word meaning a place to gather.
“We call it Agora of Brookfield,” Halim said. “It’s a gathering of Brookfield. We want to take it to that next level for Brookfield.”
To reach Agora, call 203-740-1000.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-731-3338