‘He Has Always Been a Kind of Mentor’: Chef Returns To Volunteer at Cherished Pizza Place

Lorenzo Colella has known Paul Mauk since he was a kid growing up on Forest Street. 

The eatery his parents had opened in 1967, Joe’s Pizza, sat for most of its life just two doors down from Mauk’s Tequila Mockingbird, and Colella would come to see the family friend as a mentor. Colella’s mother Annunziata passed away two years ago, his father Giuseppe in May. Soon after, he lost some help at the pizzeria, now on Locust Avenue, and consulted Mauk, who had sold Tequila last summer after a successful 25-year run. Mauk volunteered to help out, and in just a few months, he’s made an indelible mark at Joe’s, primarily through encouraging Colella to trust his own talents as a chef and in tweaking a pizza recipe that’s been feeding New Canaanites for decades. “One of the main things he does is motivating me mentally, and making me realize I have a lot of capability and what I do is unique,” Colella said.

Did You Hear … ?

Police are urging residents to beware fraudsters posing as IRS agents by phoning local numbers and leaving computer-generated or live voice messages. On Thursday, residents reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to represent the IRS. When asked whether the call was a “scam,” the caller disconnected, according to New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski. The actual IRS generally contacts citizens through snail mail, authorities say—never give personal information to unknown parties via telephone or computer. ***

New Canaan Library’s renowned “Conversations with Business Leaders” lecture series this year will feature Jamie Forese, president of Citigroup.

Beef Stew for Emergency Responders in Snow Storm: A Legacy Endures at Joe’s Pizza

Lorenzo Colella awoke Tuesday morning to the same winter storm news as fellow New Canaan merchants: What had been predicted as two feet of snow would come to about half of that total. Despite the still-hazardous road conditions, the Joe’s Pizza owner decided to open at 11 a.m.

And he decided to do something else. “I just thought about these guys being out there and I figure they’re on the roads and need some food, so maybe I can help them out and give them a little extra kick in their step,” Colella told NewCanaanite.com. That kick came in the form of a beef stew, and from a recipe near and dear to the 1995 New Canaan High School graduate. With potatoes, carrots, beef, onions, cumin, rosemary, salt, pepper, thyme and brown gravy, the stew that Colella offered up to New Canaan police, firefighters, EMTs and public works crews was his mother’s.

Annunziata ‘Nancy’ Colella, 66, Loving Wife and Mother, Longtime New Canaanite

Annunziata Colella, age 66, a resident of New Canaan for over 45 years died Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 at Norwalk Hospital with her loving family by her side. Born Nov. 5, 1950 in the Marcanise province of Caserta, Italy, she was the daughter of the late Pietro Gaudino and Filomena Musone. She was the wife of Giuseppe (Joe) Colella. Annunziata, better known as Nunzia or Nancy came to the United States in 1971 and immediately joined her husband Joe at their small business, Joe’s Pizzeria in New Canaan.

‘The Vibe Is Awesome’: Gates Reopens

Some 10 months after closing its doors for the first time since launching in 1979, Gates restaurant is re-opening this week under new ownership, with a fresh look and menu. Though no formal word went out about it, New Canaanites descended on the Forest Street institution for a hopping bar scene Monday night, while an invite-only dining crowd filled the newly configured main floor at Gates—complete with a food bar overlooking a wood-fired oven and open kitchen. The bar now will be open nightly, while the restaurant is on track to open for dinner service this weekend (by reservation only), according to Jay Luther, an owner of Gates with fellow town resident Paul Tully. It isn’t clear yet just when Gates will open for lunch—stay tuned. “It’s fantastic,” Luther said of the long-awaited re-opening.