Business

New Canaan businesses are the lifeblood not just of the “Magic Circle” downtown and other hubs of arts and commerce, but also are critical drivers and supporters of community events, human services and preserving the character of “The Next Station to Heaven.” In this section, we spotlight New Canaan businesses and profile their owners, in long-form interviews and spot features, celebrating our anchor businesses and welcoming those new to town.

Recent Articles

‘We Know the Value That They Have’: Tequila Mockingbird’s New Owners To Keep High-Quality Staff, Upbeat Vibe

The new owners of Tequila Mockingbird say they’re eager to continue the iconic Forest Street restaurant’s strong 25-year run and that means maintaining not only high-quality Mexican food but also great service. “We know the value of the people that have worked there for so many years,” said New Canaan resident Paul Tully, part of the ownership group at Tequila Mockingbird. “We now the relationships that they have with the people in town and that, quite honestly is part of the purchase. We hoped—because we could not guarantee that all team members stayed—because in the back of my mind, they’re part of what makes it so great.”

Tully and his partners acquired half of Tequila Mockingbird in the spring of 2015, when the group purchased Gates Restaurant next door, and bought the other half at the end of 2016. The restaurant’s original owner, Paul Mauk of New Canaan, continued as proprietor at Tequila through a transition period that ended last month, Tully said. Continue Reading →

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FIRST LOOK: Remodeled Cava Restaurant To Reopen Thursday on Forest Street [PHOTOS]

One of New Canaan’s most popular restaurants is scheduled to reopen this week after more than one year. Closed for a major remodeling following an upper-story fire in its building last September, Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant will be open for dinner starting Thursday and will open for lunch soon after, said Nube Siguenza, executive chef and owner. “I am so excited,” she told NewCanaanite.com. The newly renovated space at 2 Forest St. now includes a bigger bar, private room and wood-fired grill. Continue Reading →

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Kaahve Coffee Shop on Main Street To Close at Month’s End

Eighteen months after opening on one of downtown New Canaan’s most conspicuous street corners, Kaahve coffee shop at East Avenue and Main Street is closing its doors, the business’s owner said. New Canaan resident Esref Cezzar said he was deeply grateful for the regulars who patronized Kaahve, though the clientele never rose to a sustainable level. “There is not enough business, simple as that,” Cezzar told NewCanaanite.com. “And the business we have doesn’t pay the rent.”

Kaahve will close Sept. 30. Continue Reading →

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Future of ‘Pop Up Park’ Uncertain After Some Merchants Voice Concerns

After a handful of merchants voiced concerns about how the Pop Up Park at South Avenue and Elm Street affects traffic and business, members of the municipal body that oversees street closures in New Canaan said Wednesday night that they’ll take the feedback into consideration in deciding on the future of the downtown amenity. No immediate decision is needed regarding the Pop Up Park, which saw part of the South Avenue’s first block cordoned off as a pedestrian-only space—with tables, chairs, WiFi, planters, grass, fountain and events—from the July 15 Sidewalk Sale to Labor Day. However, approval from the Police Commission is needed each “offseason” to get the volunteer-run Pop Up Park in place. Launched five years ago, the town had approved an all-summer run in 2015, but the Pop Up Park didn’t run at all that year after some merchants raised concerns. During the commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, some of those who long have said the park creates problems that hurt the downtown and its businesses reiterated their concerns. Continue Reading →

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Roger Sherman Inn’s Owners Introduce Prominent New Executive Chef

The owners of the Roger Sherman Inn announced Monday that they’ve hired a West Africa native who has trained under prominent chefs both in the United States and abroad as their new executive chef. Francois Kwaku-Dongo is a 2008 “Iron Chef” contestant and James Beard nominee who has been featured in Forbes magazine and elsewhere as an up-and-coming celebrity chef, according to information supplied by Nes and Joseph Jaffre. “With this wonderful addition we’re positive that we’ll bring the Inn to it’s well deserved glory,” the Jaffres said. “With his philosophy of bringing his diners only the freshest of the season—a true farm to table commitment, with on-premise farm in the planning already—he’ll be bringing the fabulous back to New Canaan cuisine.”

Most recently, Kwaku-Dongo worked for seven years at L’Escale Restaurant on Greenwich Harbor as executive chef, then followed a dream by creating Chocolate Lab, a pastry and gelato shop where he produced his own chocolate line using raw material produced entirely in Ghana, where he operated a cocoa factory, according to the biography supplied by the Jaffres. In New Canaan at Roger Sherman Inn—which doubles as New Canaan’s first library—Kwaku-Dongo enters a local establishment that’s made headlines in the past year. Continue Reading →

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