Birchwoods at Oak Lane opened to the public in January 2015 and the restaurant, wedding and party venue has quickly taken off. First Selectman Ellen Scalettar recently visited the restaurant located at the Oak Lane golf course.
Scalettar has been visiting local businesses to highlight them as part of the “Shop Woodbridge, Dine Woodbridge, Try Woodbridge” campaign. Additionally, the Town’s Economic Development Commission has been inviting new and expanding businesses to its monthly meetings in order to learn about those businesses and why they chose Woodbridge.
Birchwoods rents the upper floor of the clubhouse from the golf course. During the active golf season the restaurant (and the golf course) is open to the public. Birchwoods hosts weddings, private parties, and events throughout the year such as dance parties, paint nights, comedy shows and celebrations such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Shared Holiday Parties.
Danielle Lavorante always knew she would be a business owner, but didn’t know she’d own three. She and her husband Pasquale own Russell’s Photography Studio and Photobooth Junction. Because of their work the couple is very familiar with the event industry. In 2014 Danielle called the former restaurant owner at the Oak Lane golf course and learned that the restaurant was closing. Disappointed, she told her husband who suggested they buy the business.
The business is a family affair. The Lavorantes partnered with Danielle’s sister and brother-in-law Trish and Victor Calabrese. Together, they came up with the name Birchwoods after noticing all the birch trees on the grounds. The name had further significance since Danielle and Trish grew up on Birchwood Road in Seymour.
Danielle’s parents frequently help out and the menu features many of her grandmother’s recipes from Italy. “My family feels like people are celebrating their intimate gatherings in our home,” Danielle said. “This is something we always wanted to do.”
“It shows in your personal touch and attention to detail,” Scalettar told her during a tour of the grand ballroom and bridal dressing room. During Birchwoods’ first year of operation they hosted over 100 events. There are already 50 events scheduled for 2016.
Pictured: First Selectman Ellen Scalettar and Danielle Lavorante.