DARIEN, Conn. When Bill Ferguson opened the Behind the Net Snack Bar at the Darien Ice Rink , he did something that most concession stands don't do. He got people to come to the ice rink strictly for the food.
Even though hockey season is over and the rink has been closed for maintenance, "We still see 50 percent of our market here on weekends," said Ferguson, a Darien resident. He attributes it to running it like a real restaurant, not just a concession stand.
In addition to snacks and drinks you find at any snack bar, Behind the Net sells New Haven-style thin crust pizza, homemade baked goods, soups and salads.
Ferguson, who has been in the bar and restaurant business for more than 20 years, didn't think there was anything wrong with the old concession stand, but he felt like it could use a facelift. He brought in chef Derek Furino, who worked for 10 years at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven to make the pizza.
"He has perfected the art of making a pizza," said Ferguson, who was familiar with the rink because his two children are involved in the Darien Youth Hockey Association . "I thought it was just a great opportunity to service not only the hockey league but also the community."
In this economic climate it can be difficult to open up a new restaurant, but it already has many repeat customers in the short time it has been open. "The ratio of failure to success in the restaurant business isn't favorable, but with the right product, staff and location, it works for the right recipe," he said.
Paintings by Darien High School graduate Joe Macarone hang on the walls, featuring hockey scenes from the rink and other skating locations around town.
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