‘A Very Stressful and Exhausting Year’: Roger Sherman Remakes Itself with New Plans for Interior and Business

The Roger Sherman Inn has been a landmark in New Canaan since its construction in the 18th Century. Following public debate over its planned sale and redevelopment in December of 2016—an effort that eventually stalled—the business’s owners have seen locals rally behind the restaurant and inn during the past 18 months. Now, owner Nes Jaffre said, she’s focused on breathing new life into the business, with a new and popular chef already hired and $160,000 in renovations planned for this year. “We’re changing all of this,” Jaffre told NewCanaanite.com on a recent morning from the inn’s dining room. “We’re changing the look of this nice, but old and tired antique inn.”

Plans include $160,000 in interior renovations.

Did You Hear … ?

The TV news with characteristic speed and attribution on Thursday aired a segment regarding the Parks & Recreation Commission’s discussion from last week about installing motion-activated trail cameras at Irwin Park to catch irresponsible dog owners. In the version that aired during NBC New York’s 5:30 p.m. broadcast, the reporter actually said: “Authorities say they will be watching. Good dog owners say they will too, to make sure their park stays number one despite the problem with number two.”

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The Roger Sherman Inn on Wednesday applied for a building permit to remodel about 1,600 square feet of its interior space. Here’s how the Oenoke Ridge Road restaurant described the work in its application: “Wall removals to provide open seating. Three dining rooms will be converted to possible one space for banquet usage.

Did You Hear … ?

A long-vacant New Canaan home cited for blight three summers ago finally has been sold. The town earlier this year prepared to notify a lien-holder for the Colonial at 4 Woodridge Circle and assess fines. The 3,608-square-foot home sits on 2.05 acres. It sold for $1.4 million, according to a property transfer recorded Tuesday in the Town Clerk’s office. ***

Congratulations to grandma Stacy Miltenberg, superintendent of the New Canaan Parking Bureau.

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.

‘We Are Supporting Each Other’: New Canaan Merchants Keep Business in Town

When walking down Elm Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it is more than likely that one will hear a couple visitors from New York City or beyond lament that New Canaan seems to be ripped from an episode of “Gilmore Girls.” Indeed, this town offers many of the same surface qualities as the fictional Star’s Hollow, with a beautiful downtown and quirky residents and business owners. The similarities go deeper, however; on the show, it is not uncommon to see Luke, the owner of the local diner, cross the street to buy supplies from Doosey’s Market. It’s a perfect illustration of local charm; these two small businesses support each other while also contributing to the integrity of the town. If it seems too good to be happening in real life, it’s not, and businesses right here in New Canaan are using the same model.