Azuca and Gastro Bar Open Tonight in Stamford

CTbites Team

The Grand Opening and celebration of the two newest additions to downtown Stamford occurs tonight as Azuca and Gastro Bar open their doors to the public at 5:30 pm with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony Mayor David Martin.

The brainchildren of Mario Lopez, a co-owner of Wilton's Bianco Rosso, his wife Cristina Ramirez and several brothers, the side-by-side restaurants, Azuca and Gastro Bar are located at 78 West Park Place. The celebration begins at 5:30 pm; reservations for the Grand Opening are not necessary and admission is free.

The four Lopez brothers relocated to Connecticut from Ecuador two decades ago and worked their way up the ranks in the restaurant trade, most recently managing the sleek, Italian-style Bianco Rosso, which opened in 2012 and received a "Very Good" rating from the New York Times. With the success of Bianco Rosso, the brothers decided to expand into Stamford. Azuca and Gastro Bar will be managed by two of the brothers, Alejandro and Carlos, while siblings Mario and Jaime will continue to oversee the Wilton operation.

Mr. Lopez oversaw the stylish design for both of the new restaurants but added, "My wife, my brothers and I...we are a team -- in every aspect of this venture," said Lopez. Cristina developed a fresh, urban look for Azuca and Gastro Bar to complement their eclectic menus. Both offer affordable fine dining amid a “smart casual” dress code, “We aimed to create an inviting atmosphere coupled with unique menus.”

Azuca will be a Latin American Bistro with a specialty cocktail menu. Its cozy bar highlights drinks with an island feel using an array of rums, tequilas, piscos, cachacas and mezcals.

“We offer mojitos, margaritas and other exotic drinks mixed with surprising ingredients for an interesting spin,” said Mr. Lopez. The menu will menu feature arepas, with desserts including flan, tres leches, and churros. Gastro Bar will be a wine bar showcasing Mediterranean tapas with Spanish, Italian and French influences. The small-plate appetizers will include bistecca tartar, albondigas, paella and a variety of flatbreads. Mr. Lopez described Gastro Bar as “the ultimate wine and tapas destination.” Both restaurants will feature exciting menus developed by Lopez and his family, in conjunction with Executive Chef, Vincent Ricciardelli, who joins the team from Manhattan’s Grape & Vine restaurant.

Azuca and Gastro Bar will be open daily and will feature pre-fixe business offerings, Sunday brunch and take out service. For more information or future reservations, call Azuca at (203) 817-0189 and Gastro Bar at (203) 817-0190.