Monday afternoon Joseph Ganim and Joseph Kustra embraced beefalicious all over again. Fifteen years ago Ganim, sometimes with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa at his side, traversed to the Tollgate Steakhouse in Mamaroneck NY to schmooze restaurant maven Kustra to open a New York-style steakhouse in Connecticut’s largest city. Ganim’s power of persuasion prevailed and Kustra, a Monroe resident, opened his high-end steakhouse Downtown on Fairfield Avenue. Ganim’s campaign team used the venue as an example of Ganim’s business recruitment and also to assuage concerns that business investment would dry up more than Kustra’s dry aged beef if Ganim returns to office.
One by one, small business owners Kustra, Michael Nunes, Juan Hernandez, Steve Eaton, Pedro Segarra, Yvette Gonzalez and others took turns praising a Ganim return to City Hall more than 12 years after he was sidelined by a conviction on federal corruption charges.
“He’s the only one who really attracted business,” said Kustra who put out a king-fest spread of ribs, chops and thick cuts of bacon for about 50 guests supporting Ganim’s comeback. It was not a fundraiser, but a media event.
In this campaign season Ganim is trying to turn lemon into lemonade, praising business owners who had publicly soured of his comeback but now that he’s the Democratic nominee, need to cover their butts, including Robert Christoph, developer of Steelpointe Harbor featuring anchor tenant Bass Pro Shops. Ganim cleared the East Side peninsula for development before he left office, but Mayor Bill Finch made it a linchpin of his redevelopment efforts with cranes in the air, albeit a losing effort to Ganim.
Christoph was not at at Joseph’s Steakhouse but Ganim referred to him as his “friend” with whom he has had conversations about the East Side development.
Ganim said government must be “sensitive and accommodating to businesses for expansion” opportunities, highlighting the little things that mean a lot such as quality of life issues, addressing crime and being an ear for concerns.
Kustra provided a lighter moment proclaiming all kinds come to his restaurant … “Jews, Gentiles, Democrats, Republicans and mobsters … as long as they come.”
“This town needs a doer,” Kustra said, “He’s a doer.”
Kustra’s declaration is not new. He had regaled Ganim even in the years a comeback was a lonely thought for the ex mayor.
One by one the small business owners said high taxes are crippling businesses.
Town Chair Mario Testa was on hand beaming for the days back in the 1990s when the economy was roaring. He lamented the lack of private investment, asserting most development in the city is as a result of taxpayer-funded giveaways that won’t produce revenue for “40 years.”
Yvette Gonzalez, who owns Beyond Homecare Staffing Services, announced she was forced to move her business out of the city because of high taxes but promised if Ganim returns to city hall she will return.
Ganim hopes leveraging the might of small business owners in Joseph’s Steakhouse is protein for the final weeks of the campaign.
Saying business owners will shy away because of Ganim is total B.S. The opposition scare tactics are not working and after Nov 3rd the big winners will be us, the city residents and taxpayers.
BR, Right On!
That was a great restaurant to go Downtown and very popular. However, I have never been there, though I have been to Capital Grille on many occasions, seems to be our Thanksgiving hangout.
Since Joe is using Joseph’s as a claim to fame, I’d like to address the issue others seem to address when attacking the Steelpointe Billion dollar project and all their new eateries opened downtown. Do any Bridgeport residents work at Joseph’s? One? Jim Fox, go there often? Hang with BPT REBEL? Have you ever seen the inside? Doubt it.
I do know one thing for sure, the people who live in the East End and Trumbull Gardens and those who pray for Ganim’s speedy return to City Hall have never been there and most likely would not be welcomed there. I could be wrong. I am not!
You are correct, Mr. Steve. Most of Ganim’s supporters in the East End can’t afford a glass of beer at Joseph’s, let alone a steak.
Stevie, I like Joseph’s (Steak for two)!
I like Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse the best!
I use to like Victoria Station before they went bankrupt. Peter Luger is one of my favorites but it’s in Brooklyn!
Stevie, once in a while I’ll get a good steak at my club (BRYC) on Grovers Ave. The seafood is pretty good too.
Sonny, aren’t you going to invite us?
Sure, we’ll do the OIB party there!
Lugers uses huge amounts of butter on their steaks!
Some people think Ganim supporters have steak-fed enthusiasm. He faces a fragmented electorate and until things change, victory appears easy. But never has an upcoming election seemed so far away. Others think putting your arm around Joe Ganim is like hugging a porcupine.
HOW MARY-JANE FOSTER CAN TURN HEADS IN A POSITIVE WAY!!!
On Wednesday, when announcing she’s going to run for mayor, she should say the following, “Mayor Bill Finch is 100% behind us and honestly, NO THANK YOU BILL, WE’LL TAKE IT FROM HERE.”
I’m not saying Bill wouldn’t help, but if she were to make a comment like that, she’d turn a lot of heads and gain a LOT of votes!
You are kidding, right? 1100 votes and a lot of pissed-off Finch supporters. Lol. You almost sound like one of Foster’s advisers.
My most reliable city spies (deep ears, nose and throat) say Foster will vacate her seat at the table for Finch!
Finch needs two more years for a city pension, then wants to run for Governor!
Jimfox, please take your meds.
Jim, pure bullshit.
So that’s his payoff, a city job for two years.
MJF cannot give her place on the ballot to Finch.
It is hypocrisy for MJF and Finch to be teaming up.
I do not see Finch and his inner circle’s conduct in handling his campaign over the past few weeks as a asset.
What S. Wilk call hypocrisy, others call politics.
Where do these things happen?
Answer: Only in Bridgeport.
Because MJF had run her campaign beyond amazing!
Joseph Kustra never met a Bill he didn’t like. A Dollar Bill!!!
What are the Unions going to do?
Very good letter to the editor today by Jeff Kohut skewering the Editorial Bored of the CT
I think BPT REBEL is a Sue Dough Nymph who used to be a Piranha!
This was a show event.
Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake.”
Joe Ganim says “Let them eat steak; at Joseph’s, MY favorite steak house in Bridgeport. Tell them Joey G sent you. You’ll get a good seat.”