Terra Ristorante, a Northern Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Greenwich, is opening its second location in Danbury, CT, the eighth restaurant for the Z Hospitality Group. Over twenty-five years ago, founder and owner, Ramze Zakka, opened Terra in Greenwich, the first of his eight eateries, to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant that serves simple and delicious food in a more relaxed alternative to the already existing white glove and fast casual restaurants. Terra was a bistro that introduced authentic Northern Italian food where guests would feel like they were transported to Florence for a genuine dining experience. Everything from food and beverages to Italian music has been carefully curated to achieve this goal.
Entries in Italian (101)
More exciting Westport deli news from WestportNow.
Westport’s iconic Art’s Deli at 13 Post Road West, near the intersection of Riverside Avenue, is under new ownership.
Art’s Deli, 13, Post Road West, will become Winfield Street Italian Deli.
Breno Donatti, the new owner, also owns Norwalk’s Winfield Italian Deli, 69 Winfield St., and, since February, Winfield Street Espresso & Panini Bar, 4 Railroad Place, across from the Westport Metro-North Railroad Station in Saugatuck.
He said the name of the Post Road West business will be renamed Winfield Street Italian Deli once all town-required permits are approved and issued.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw CTbites’ review of my deli and wanted to express my thanks to them and give their readers an inside view of the deli and my desire to purchase it and transform it into my vision.
In 2015, after years of working late nights at high end spots such as Lambs Club, J House, Barcelona Wine Bar and my own Bistro Seven, I decided I wanted a break from the tiring and often showy restaurant scene. I wanted to serve good food and have a real connection with my patrons, staff, vendors and neighbors, without all the drama in a fine dining restaurant. I wanted something simple where I could be really myself with customers and staff. I heard of Winfield Deli and how a great chef, Pietro Scotti, served amazing sandwiches for over 20 years in this tucked-in spot, and had a blast at it. I wanted that too. I was no fan of delis because they were often dirty with an over-crowded menu, but I thought I could make my own version of a deli and elevate the deli concept to something closer to the Salumerias of Italy. Without pretension, I took over the little spot and gave a small face lift, keeping historic signs and equipment intact.
As Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump anxiously rehearsed their talking points and many huddled around their television screens in anticipation of the final Presidential debate, I was… sipping rose on the outdoor patio of Vine Wine Room in Westport. Despite the fact that it was mid-October, temperatures soared into the upper eighties and the sun shone gloriously. Ignoring any political tensions, a friend and I decided to take full advantage of the Indian Summer and headed over to Vine Wine Room, a restaurant-meets-lounge on Westport’s Main Street. One week prior, Vine hired acclaimed local chef Toni Sapienza to reimagine their menu and infuse new energy into the restaurant. They had invited us down to check out the lounge and we were eager to give Toni’s cuisine a try.
I have an affinity for those underexplored sweet spots that are slightly off the beaten path, tucked away, or unheard of. For whatever reason, Taberna, a Mediterranean tapas and wine bar located in the Brick Walk in downtown Fairfield hasn’t been widely discovered. Although I hadn’t heard of it many have, and those who have sing its praises.
Some of you might be familiar with the name, thinking it’s not in Fairfield, it’s in Bridgeport! And you would be correct, sort of... Prior to opening the Fairfield location, Chef Daniel Lopez and his brother Jaime owned and operated the Bridgeport restaurant for 8 years. Upon hearing that it was closing, longtime diners were happy to follow to the new larger venue with light-filled dining area, large bar and outdoor patio.
I was able to sit down and chat with Chef Lopez who was born and raised in Ecuador who revealed to me that he had been enamored with the flavors and cuisines of the Mediterranean since he was a child. In 1994 he and his brother emigrated to the states and immediately began working in the restaurant industry - for many well-known Fairfield County favorites.
Many residents of New Canaan have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Spiga Ristorante in the space that formerly housed Barolo restaurant on Main Street. The wait is almost over. In the next two weeks, Spiga will unveil its newly revamped interior, offering a wide variety of Italian cuisine in a relaxed environment. CTbites was invited for a sneak peek and discuss the vision of the restaurant with two of the owners, Dan Camporeale and Rose Dionne. This is the first restaurant for Rose and the fourth restaurant for Dan, who is also one of the owners of Pizzeria Molto in Fairfield. Spiga will be his group’s first restaurant in New Canaan. When I asked Dan why he chose New Canaan he mentioned, “There is no true Italian restaurant in New Canaan. The space has a lot of positives and there is plenty of parking directly across the street.”
Unless you’re a resident of Ridgefield you might not be familiar with TerraSole, a small Italian eatery in the heart of Ridgefield. But I feel it is my job to extol the virtues of this sleepy little gem that has been part of the town’s landscape since 2007, and is poised to enter its second decade with quiet confidence. I was invited to join a group of writers and editors to visit TerraSole and nearly declined. Am I ever glad I went!
When the weather is nice, diners can now sit outside in the newly completed terrace. The pale blue interior is simple yet charming. It is the food that takes center stage and rightly steals the show. While locals are avid fans, non-locals should take note. This charming yet understated destination is well worth the drive.
Owner Pietro Polini, who hails from Puglia and moved to the states in 1999, infuses the region’s flavors into his dishes.
The newest addition to the Glenbrook neighborhood is Tavern 489, located at 489 Glenbrook Road, sharing the building with the newly relocated and reopened Tawa Restaurant (reviewed here). The building has a long history in the neighborhood, it originally housed the Moosehead Bar decades ago (thank you “Hey Stamford”).
The brainchild of owners Eric Monte and Partner/Executive Chef Regis Saget, Tavern 489 offers an eclectic menu, paired with various beer and wine selections in a rustic environment. The fully redesigned interior emphasizes wood and stone to create an setting reminiscent of an Adirondack mountain lodge, complete with exposed M-Trusses, a canoe dangling from the ceiling, a full front-to-back 18-seat wooden bar, additional wooden high-top tables plus a large wooden “picnic” table, all drawing focus to the imposing floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the rear. The walls are adorned with photos of Ernest Hemingway who, in addition to winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, was, according to Monte, the ultimate outdoorsman, a true man’s man, and his photos fit the rustic, outdoorsy feel that he was striving to achieve.
High atop a hill, near Newtown’s historic flagpole, lies the intersection of Church Hill Road and Main Street. And there, you’ll find an entirely different type of intersection—one where British and Italian cuisines meet. The concept was inspired by the original Dere Street, an ancient Roman road in Northern England, built in the first century A.D. To honor this historic place where British and Roman cultures intersect, the two cuisines are now celebrated at Dere Street in Newtown.
Past the 1800s building facade, it’s contemporary, whimsical and positively humming with other diners and imbibers. Home to 28 different gins, an abundant “British wine list” of single malts, beer and a selection of cocktails so unique, you’d be wise to arrive thirsty. Bring your appetite, as well as an open mind. If you’re a gin lover, this is the closest spot to heaven on earth you’ll find anywhere near here. And if you’re a vodka drinker? Well, they do have one brand, just in case they can’t convert you. Keeping with the British theme, it’s Broken Shed from New Zealand, a former colony. But they’d sure love to try to turn you on to gin.
Most people look forward to taking it easy and traveling in their 60s. But at age 62, Andy and Louise DiFiore had a different retirement plan in mind. They opened DiFiore Ravioli Shop on Franklin Avenue, in Hartford’s Little Italy back in 1982.
Their son Don explains, “My parents were always the home gourmet types. Back in those days, they weren’t called foodies, but they had a lifelong love of food. My dad had been an executive in the office machine world almost his whole life in sales and marketing. And he was probably looking at this more as being a retirement thing for income. Just like a little boutique store. But they stayed with it. My dad would be in the store until he was in his late 80s. And my mom stayed in the store till she was 90. She’s 95 now.”
Then, about five years ago, Don’s father was in a nursing home and his mother was getting too old to run the store any longer. They were going to close it. Then Don’s eldest sister came back home from Chicago to help. “She threw the option at me—do you want to do something with it? Geez, I don’t know.”