‘The Best Things That Anyone Could Ever Taste’: Waffle Cabin Coming To Pine Street 

Corey Londoner had no idea when she started looking one year ago for a place to open a hot Belgian sugar waffle shop that a dream location awaited just one town away, on Pine Street in New Canaan. The Ridgefield resident had already owned one successful franchise business (a cycling studio) and, after tasting Waffle Cabin’s Liege waffles with pearl sugar on ski trips with her young family, she decided to open one herself. Two months ago, the day after a prospective location in Ridgefield fell through, Londoner heard about the available space at Pine Street Concessions in New Canaan. 

She knew immediately it was the right spot. 

“I can’t be more excited,” the mom of two told NewCanaanite.com. “It really just fell into place so perfectly. It seemed to be meant to be.”

In New Canaan, Londoner also has a leg up in that locals for the past several years have tasted Waffle Cabin waffles during the Holiday Stroll, at a pop-up space in front of the Playhouse.

‘I Love the Community’: Meet Heather Washington, the New Owner of Mackenzie’s

Heather Washington had no idea what to expect on the spring day she walked into Mackenzie’s for the first time. Mom to a toddler and a newborn, she and her husband had instructed their commercial real estate broker to find a laundromat, not a candy, party goods and specialty gift shop. Her husband, Sieh Washington, after serving in the U.S. Marines went to work in corporate America for several years when the Middletown couple decided to try opening their own business, “and laundromats are known as good business opportunities,” Heather Washington recalled on a recent afternoon. And in fact, they did buy a laundry business—in Manchester, about 30 minutes from home—at which time the Washingtons phoned their broker to say “we were no longer interested in buying laundromat,” she recalled. “And he [the broker] was like, I have another opportunity for you,” she said.

‘Pesca Peruvian Bistro’ Opens on Main Street

Growing up on the Pacific Ocean in his native Peru, Jose Draganac ate a lot of fish. 

He began cooking at an early age and honed his skills, first at culinary school in Lima, studying under fellow countryman and celebrated chef Gastón Arcurio, then working for 15 years at home and in the United States, most recently with the Z Hospitality, a group of area restaurants that includes Solé, Mediterraneo and Terra. There, he connected restaurateur Wilson Rodriguez—part of a group that had opened Costa Brava in Norwalk and Macarena Tapas in Stamford—and the pair decided to realize a shared vision in opening Draganac’s own place. “It’s always on the back burner,” Draganac said Monday from the dining floor of Pesca Peruvian Bistro at 70 Main St. “As a chef, you want to do your own thing. It’s a passion that you have and something that you have to get the right time, the right partner, the right people to get together to make something successful.”

So far, so good.

‘We Need To Do Everything We Can’: P&Z Approves First-Floor Office Use for ‘Second Ring’ of Downtown New Canaan

Municipal officials last week unanimously approved changes to the New Canaan Zoning Regulations that are designed to help commercial property owners, downtown retailers and the wider community. 

The Planning & Zoning Commission voted 9-0 in favor of text changes to the regulations that re-establish first floor office use in the “Business A” zone with site plan review. The Business A zone includes nearly all of the two-way stretch of Elm Street in New Canaan, parts of Grove Street, all of Pine Street and commercial lots on both sides of Cherry Street as it curls past Cross Street, almost to Locust Avenue (see map here). As local land use attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC said in applying to the Commission for the text changes (on behalf of the the new owners of the former Beval Saddlery building on Pine Street), though the Business A zone was created in 1985—at a time when the owner of the Lumberyard site was considering building an office park—more than half of it serves first-floor general office use on a legally nonconforming basis. Re-establishing first-floor office use will help the zone become more viable for both the owners of buildings, some of which are vacant, and the town, he said. “The office use itself is actually already occurring,” Rucci said at the Commission’s regular meeting, held Nov.

‘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.