-The Team at
"Nice bathrooms. People really appreciate a nice, clean, bathroom."
"Definitely. I'll write that down."
The year was 2011. Having the day off from their job on State Street where they met while attending college, sitting on capitol hill, was Ariya and Trisha, who are now currently the two owners of 51 South. Amidst a stack of business textbooks and notebooks, they were working on their first business plan. Admittedly, this first plan didn't get very far, as being around the age of 21, Madison sunshine and patio beers were slightly more alluring.
It wasn't until a few years later, while Trisha was living in Colorado and Ariya was living in Stoughton, that they decided to get serious. After several discussions on relocation, it became apparent that if they were ever going to go into business together, they should be living in the same town. After much consideration, it was agreed that Trisha would join Ariya in the beautiful river community of Stoughton. Ariya bought a plane ticket that week, and together, they drove Trisha's beat up Bronco across the country to make the move.
Within a few months, after realizing that there were no late night food options in town, they started their first small business together, Stoughton Snacks, a late night "convenience store on wheels". It wasn't until New Year's Eve the next year, en route to a delivery, that they became aware of a newly vacant building. It was on that night the concept of 51 South was born. Within days, that vacant space was theirs. After about four months of long days and late nights, it was lovingly curated through a series of completely D.I.Y. renovations into a comfortable and creatively inviting space.
Still, they knew a project this big couldn't be done with just the two of them. They needed to form a team. So, another discussion was had, and another plane ticket was bought. This time, it was to move Chef Chris, longtime friend and former co-worker, from his current home in California to his former home of Stoughton. His attention to detail that other Chef's may overlook- from the perfectly brined chicken to the well thought out presentation- make our menu what it is.
A lot of people ask where the name 51 South came from and what it means. Being a restaurant on Main Street which also doubles as Highway 51, the answer seems obvious- a nod to Stoughton's iconic Main Street and Highway, a road that has been ingrained in the town's history... But it is so much more than that. Thought of while on our way home, travelling through New Mexico along a forested street, passing highway sign after highway sign, our name is a representation- of the paths we take and the road less traveled. How the journey is just as important as the destination. Whether you're coming or going, walking down Main Street or passing through along the highway, we invite you to come to our small restaurant, and hope you leave with optimism about where you're going next.