According to Robert Koch of The Hour, Chick-fil-A is planning to open a restaurant at 467 Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk. The space will include a drive-thru if you need your chicken sandwich with pickle fix fast or you could sit down to a 126 seat spot. Koch does share that this isn’t a done deal, though, as the Norwalk Zoning Commission’s Plan Review Committee still needs to meet to discuss this on January 14. Let’s hope the fast food gods are in their favor. Continue reading
Update: Hoodoo Brown BBQ is now open! Click here for our review.
Call us jaded, but when we heard about a new bbq joint opening up here in CT we were a little skeptical. See, despite our undying hope, we’ve only found one spot (Bear’s in Hartford) that has both really good meats and really good sides. The rest of BBQ joints we’ve tried here in CT have had maybe one or two really good meats or sides, but never the whole package, ya know? Well, not to get ahead of ourselves, but we suspect things ’bout to change ’round these parts with the opening of Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield on May 22 at 5:30 pm. We can say pretty confidently, based Dan’s recent tasting at an exclusive preview, that Hoodoo Brown BBQ has the potential to be the best in the state, if not the surrounding states. Wooooh, demm fighting words! Okay, let us explain:
As you get out of your car, savory smoke fills the air and you get that pain in your gut that blurts out, “FEED ME NOOOOOWWWW!” As you enter, the first thing you see is a giant glass window in back of the main dining room that gives you a nice view of the smoker in action. Oh, and that smoker? She’s a 108 inch Lang smoker that owners Cody Sperry and Nestor Laracuente (also Pitmaster) brought up from Georgia. They keep it on all day long at a nice and toasty 225º. Nestor is very proud of that view, saying that it helped bring a transparency to the bbq and experience at Hoodoo Brown. “We’re not taking any shortcuts here. It’s always low, it’s always slow. We’re only using wood here to smoke . . . no gas to speed things up like many places do.”
UPDATE: Gerard announced today that they will have 85 brews on tap, actually. 85. That pushes Coalhouse Pizza over the edge for the most beers on tap in not only Fairfield County, but also the entire state of Connecticut! Get those growlers ready!
Did you just wet yourself a little?
Yeah, we did too when Gerard Robertson told us the news a few months back. After some back and forth, Gerard (the owner, pizzaiola, and all around good guy) had his plans for another expansion approved and is all ready to go. You might remember the original Coalhouse as being only the main room where the bar and pizza oven is now. Then the room next door was available, so Gerard hopped on it, tore down those walls, installed more seating, and a game room. And so begins the next chapter in Coalhouse Pizza history: the brand new beer and bourbon bar!
Bubble Tea and ramen. They are pretty rare things when it comes to living here in Fairfield County. The only places we’ve seen Bubble Tea is NYC, Port Chester, and New Haven. So, to have a local shop in Stamford that’s pouring this cult concoction is pretty awesome. Bubble Tea is served cold and is made with iced tea, sweetened milk, different flavorings, and has “pearls” or bubbles made from tapioca. We’ve never had it before, so we can’t wait to try it out at the brand-new opened The First Kitchen.
While you might not recognize the name The First Kitchen, you might remember the location. Just a few months ago Saigon Cafe had opened in that spot on 80 Atlantic, offering Stamford some authentic Vietnamese. Unfortunately, we waited too long to try it out, and now it’s gone, but we have First Kitchen in its place.
Update: Zaza is now open and here’s our review!
A few months ago, we had a chance to talk with Nick Racanelli Jr., co-owner of the soon to be opening Zaza Italian Gastrobar on 122 Broad Street in Downtown Stamford. We’ve been watching the progress of this new spot on Facebook and by doing some drive bys–no, not the violent kind. Apparently sensing our anticipation, Nick so kindly invited us to get a sneak peak before they open! YAY!
So, if you were at the old place in this spot, 122 Pizza Bistro, then your impression is probably that this spot is dark and dreary. But thankfully this is sooooo not the case anymore! What a refreshing change Nick (and Nick) have made to this place!
First, before you even walk in, you’re attracted to the sleek, clean look of the exterior. A custom white marble tile mosaic runs up and down the building, with black tiles spelling out the restaurant’s name near the door. An industrial steel riveted sign that lights up from behind, reminiscent of signs in NYC’s meat-packing district. Custom white planter boxes to break up the space between the restaurant’s outdoor seating on the sidewalk and the road. Specially designed glass “doors” which are supposedly not even available in the U.S., seamlessly open up and tuck away in this cool little contraption to the right to invite people to come on in for some drinks and small plates of yumminess.
The sleek and clean look doesn’t end at the front door either. On the inside you’ll see handmade and one-of-a-kind red leather benches and chairs of all shapes and sizes with steel rivets to reinforce that modern industrial look, mixed with romantic crystal chandeliers and sconces with hints of red and black jewels. The contrasting, yet complimenting colors really make the place pop. Dark mahogany tables add a nice contrast, too. A projection of old black and white Italian films will play on the wall above the entry to the kitchen, and mirrors across the left hand side, above the booths are at an angle so everyone can feel like they’re part of the social activity of the bar.
And speaking of the bar, it’s pretty sweet. A sexy white carrera marble top sprawls across the entire right hand wall, with interesting details such as the metal flashing underneath the bar and mahogany shelving holding a plethora of wine bottles and various qualities of liquor. Nick says they’re going to start with about 50 bottles of wine then go from there based on what sells and what doesn’t. A good strategy if you ask me. Oh, and the coolest thing about the bar? The tap! In the pic you can see that it’s kept cool, but it’ll be even cooler during service. After two days of chilling, that tap will create a 2″ thick coating of ice around it. Damn right…ice cold PBR, Rouge Dead Guy’s Ale, and Delerium Tremens! Ahhh yes, craft beers, because the world is now full of hipsters!
Then to end on the decor front, a brief tour of the equally classy-looking bathrooms (hey, we leave no stone unturned) and a trip out to the nice brick back patio that won’t be ready for opening just yet, but someday in the future will be an ideal place for a romantic dinner.
Ok, so all of this info about the decor is well and good, but what about the food?! Yeah, we want to know that too, but it will have to wait for their opening sometime in the next few weeks. Here’s what we do know to whet your appetite… They will specialize in wood fired pizza and small plates of traditional Italian fare like chicken parm and hearty pastas at reasonable prices. In the words of Nick, they’re not trying to be some fancy, high-end restaurant, but rather a nice, reliable place you know you can come to any day for a really good meal and a good time without going broke in the process. Who can’t get behind a promise like that?
In the meantime, we promise to update you as soon as we know more! Stay tuned.Zaza Italian Gastrobar
Address: 122 Broad Street Stamford, CT
Phone: (203) 348-2300
Site: www.zazagastrobar.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001854911680 Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/search/zazagastrobar