‘The White Buffalo’ Seeks Permission for Twice-Weekly Outdoor Music through October

Saying the business has met a number of Planning & Zoning conditions, the owners of a popular bar in downtown New Canaan are seeking permission to have outdoor music twice-weekly from May through October. Located down an alley just past Chef Luis on Elm Street since it launched in 2019, The White Buffalo has reviewed letters of complaint about past outdoor events, established an acceptable decibel level, produced a site plan for the access, talked to neighbors and produced documentation requested by the Planning & Zoning Commission, owners Rich Hewitt and Chris Meier said in a letter to P&Z. “We have combed through each complaint and made sure that we have addressed each complaint with sensitivity and empathy,” their letter said. “We feel we have addressed those complaints with our compliant actions. We have met with Chef Luis and feel we have come up with a great compromise to work together in order to generate business for both our restaurants.

Dolce Owners To Open ‘Lombardi’s’ Restaurant on Elm Street

The owners of a popular Italian café in downtown New Canaan are planning to open a new restaurant down the street. Andrea Lombardi, owner of Dolce on Elm Street, is planning to open “Lombardi’s” restaurant one block away at 32 Elm St., according to plans filed with the New Canaan Building Department. 

“Andrea’s vision for space is sleek, acoustically tuned with imaginative lighting plans,” according to a letter of intent that forms part of the filing. The space recently had been occupied by an art gallery that moved within downtown New Canaan. According to floor plans, Lombardi’s will have a bar with 12 stools and 14 two-top tables on the first floor, with six four-top tables and a service bar on the second floor. Norwalk-based Mark Demmerle Architecture & Building Services is the contractor on the fitout, according to the filings.

Outdoor Dining Season in Downtown New Canaan on Track for April 1 to Oct. 31

Town officials on Wednesday approved the installation of new concrete “planter” barricades for outdoor dining for the upcoming season. The Police Commission voted 3-0 during its regular meeting to allow for the barricades to be put in place from April 1 to Oct. 31. They’ll be placed on either side of the sidewalk “bumpouts” on the northern side of Elm Street, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. They will be “in the area from, say, in front of Rosie’s and then the area from Solé from the Playhouse westward past Chef Luis,” Mann told the Commission at the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference.

Blackbird Restaurant on Elm Street ‘Opening Soon’

The new restaurant planned since last spring for Elm Street next to The Playhouse is close to opening, owners say. Blackbird, which owners say will offer a wide range of cuisine that patrons can share, is “opening soon,” according to its website. Promoted as “chic cocktails and bites in New Canaan,” the restaurant at 105 Elm St.—between the movie theatre and Solé, formerly home to Potpourri and, later, Fat Face—is “a sleek and sophisticated bar and restaurant in the heart of downtown New Canaan,” the website said. “Our moody ambiance is the perfect backdrop for your night out: dim lighting, share plates of inventive dishes for the table, and rounds of handcrafted cocktails— come for the buzz, stay for the vibes,” the site said. It’s owned by Z Hospitality Group, which owns Solé as well as Aurora in Rye, N.Y., EastEnd and Mediterraneo in Greenwich, and Terra, which has locations in Greenwich and Danbury.

PHOTOS: Refreshed ‘Gofer Ice Cream’ To Open Friday

Phil and Mina Luongo have been frequenting Gofer Ice Cream with their kids for years. The Norwalk residents’ kids attend Strawberry Hill School in Stamford, and on the way home they regularly hit the Gofer on High Ridge Road. 

An accountant by trade, Phil Luongo in December 2022 spotted a sign inside at one point about becoming a franchise owner. “I said to my wife, ‘We always wanted to open our own business, what about Gofer Ice Cream?’ ” he recalled. They signed up with the parent company to become franchisees a few months later and learned about an opportunity in New Canaan, where an owner was stepping away from ice cream shop at 103 Main St.—for decades the Baskin Robbins, which closed in December 2019. The Luongos became owners Jan.