Recently some members of The CTBites team and I had the opportunity to revisit and sit together at Sugar and Olives in Norwalk to try out the new springtime menu. For those of you who have not yet visited (what are you waiting for?!) Sugar and Olives was established by Westport resident, Jennifer Balin, in 2008. Her goal was, and remains, to educate diners and cultivate the relationship between farms and families. She is committed to serving local food, and nearly all the items on the generous menu come from within the state, including milk, cheese, eggs, fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, poultry and fish, as well as wine, beer and spirits. This three star Certified Green Restaurant serves brunch five days a week and dinner three nights a week.
Entries in Norwalk (190)
After opening the highly successful Mama’s Boy and Jax & Co. in SoNo, Greer Fredericks’ new project, Peaches on the Waterfront, opens this Thursday on Wall Street in Norwalk. The new bar is located directly above Apricot Bar and Grill and will offer a much different vibe than her previous restaurants, plus a large deck that overlooks the water.
Greer told CTbites in an exclusive interview that the idea has been in her back pocket for years and when the opportunity for the “pop-up” was presented, she jumped at the opportunity. She enlisted a few of her favorite employees from Mama’s Boy, started the redesign of the space and developed the opening menu for cocktails and music.
Bob LeRose, co-owner of Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ & Grill in Westport and Bobby Q’s Pit Stop in Greenwich, today announced that their newest venture will be opening this summer in Norwalk at the new Waypointe District, located at 11 Merwin Street. The new 4,300 square foot location, which will accommodate 80-100 diners and include an outdoor dining area, will feature a new twist on old favorites from the Westport location.
“We’re excited to launch this new venture in this vibrant, up-and-coming area of Norwalk and make friends in our new community,” said LeRose. “While we are still working on the name of the restaurant and our menu, expect to continue enjoying our ‘pit to plate’ promise of the freshest BBQ, cooked daily, including traditional big plates of BBQ meats and sides, as well as some fresh dishes and new concepts. This will be in addition to an innovative cocktail menu, expanded craft beer offerings and a great line-up of bands to continue our commitment to offering the best local, live music in Fairfield County.”
MECHA in Sono is launching their Late Night Menu served Thu 10pm-12pm, Fri and Sat 10pm-1am.
The Late Night Menu will feature special snacks and Ramen as well as cocktails you can only get after hours. To celebrate, they will be introducing the menu and hosting a PARTY Thursday, February 11th at 10PM. Enjoy some special treats from the kitchen (even some complimentary chicken sandwiches) and some amazing cocktails from their late night market menu.
A few highlights from the Late Night Menu include: THIT BO KHO beef brisket jerky, SHOYU BREAKFAST RAMEN w/ brown butter, bacon, egg, and cheese; WONTON MI RAMEN w/ fried shallots, sesame, greens, pork & shrimp wontons $10.
Remember, slurping in encouraged.
Basso Café exudes an easy intimacy that comes with a chef-owned restaurant whose reassuring presence is felt both in and out of the kitchen. Chef Renato Donzelli has built a loyal following of customers at his Norwalk restaurant who come for both his creative Italian-meets-South American dishes, as well as his charming hospitality and boundless energy. And now, they are coming for a newly added bar menu and cocktail list.
During a recent renovation, Basso Café invested in a new bar area with seating for about twelve, and a special menu of cocktails and snacks, thanks to a hard-won liquor license after eight years in business. Although you can still BYOB, Chef Donzelli has crafted a happy hour menu that can be enjoyed Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm, as well as a mini happy hour from 11 to 12 noon each day for lunch.
A self-described “hot blooded Italian” who grew up in Venezuela, Donzelli focuses his creative energy on a menu that blurs the lines between dishes from those two countries, creating his own unique cuisine. “I start from the back,” is how Chef Donzelli explains his approach to his menu. The new cocktail and wine list are meant to compliment the food, and long-time diners will be rewarded with a solid selection of shaken and stirred, classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as wine and beer.
Washington Street, the epicenter of South Norwalk and a resurging dining scene, welcomes another new dining experience worth exploring. Cask Republic is a modern take on the communal tavern, now open at 99 Washington Street, formerly occupied by The Gingerman. The new restaurant delivers on its tavern promises with chef-driven comfort food and drink – American at its culinary core with an abundance of global influences.
Barcelona’s Wine Bar's South Norwalk location has become a landmark in the neighborhood. Situated on the corner of North Main Street, it seems to welcome people into SoNo as they exit I-95 and head downtown.
Now, after 20 years, Barcelona’s Norwalk location is moving to a new space. The restaurant and wine bar’s next chapter will unfold up the street at Waypointe. The exact timeframe has not yet been announced, but they plan to reopen sometime this summer.
Barcelona invites its fans to a “last call” at the old location on Saturday January 30. Between 5pm and 2am, they’ll thank guests with surprise guests, delicious food, and wine. Founders Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer will be there to express their gratitude in person.
“A lot of love in that food,” I texted to Stephanie, my CTbites partner and frequent dining companion, within an hour of our departure from the new Mecha Noodle Bar in South Norwalk during one of their training nights.
“That’s the deal. He’s a special guy. It all means something to him. It’s not just the cooking. It’s nostalgia. Family. Friends. Community,” she texted back within moments.
Following that repartee, I realized whatever I wrote about our first impression of the new Mecha would pale in comparison to that observation. Love and community is the essence of what Mecha’s food is all about, and Chef Tony Pham along with partner Richard Reyes (Mézon), is at its Asian comfort food core.
When I hear “sports bar,” I think lots of big screen TVs, beers, burgers, wings, nachos, anything to go with my Jets or Giants jersey. The Blind Rhino, recently opened in South Norwalk on Main Street just north of Washington, is undoubtedly a sports bar, with 27 big screen TVs, shuffleboard, darts, and jerseys adorning the walls. At the same time, it has elevated the cuisine with impressive menu items, an array of craft beers and a variety of whiskeys. Many sports bar staples are still on the menu, but with a twist!
Owner /Chef Jamie Pantanella oversees the cuisine. He has worked in restaurants and catering all over New England for the past 22 years. His most recent restaurant experience includes The Brewhouse and Gingerman SoNo. At The Blind Rhino, Pantanella hones his years of experience to offer his “highlight reel.”
The menu is not large, but each item is thoughtful and flavorful. “While having sections like wings, appetizers, soups, and sandwiches seem to be par for the course, having items like Togareshi Dry Rub Wings, Cider Braised Pork Belly Sliders, and a Sliced Ribeye Cheese Steak is exactly how we want to take the dining experience to the next level,” says manager Casey Dohme.
Several years ago CTbites visited Basso Café Restaurant on New Canaan Avenue in Norwalk and was very impressed with many of the dishes created by Owner / Chef Renato Donzelli. Since that time Chef Renato has maintained his vision of creating a wine bar to complement the food, and that is now a reality as Basso Café Restaurant is now Basso Café Restaurant Wine Bar.
The interior has been updated with large, vibrant paintings along one wall, smaller modern pieces along the other wall overseeing the 60 seat dining area. The lighting is soft and inviting and acoustical tiles have been installed to reduce the noise level. After the recent receipt of a full liquor license, guests can now benefit from Chef Renato’s pairing of wines to balance the vibrant flavors of his cuisine and the rear of the restaurant now showcases the bar area with a selection of personally selected spirits, including organic vodkas.