There’s One Place Like Home: Chef Luis

Over the past decade, give or take a couple of rounds of musical chairs on the New Canaan dining scene, Chef Luis has created a restaurant that’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s a game-day go-to, a fixture on the local shortlist for lunches with friends and date nights, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio in warm weather. Just don’t call it Mexican. Owner & head chef Luis Lopez will always crank out a dependable list of greatest Tex-Mex hits, like perfectly-turned pork shoulder Al Pastor and skirt steak fajitas. His La Americana Burger is decidedly one of the town’s very best.

Medical Clinic Planned for Pine Street 

A medical clinic is planned for the first floor of a Pine Street building long associated by locals with a gym. The One Medical facility at 22 Pine St. will include “ all uses incidental to a primary care medical practice,” according to an application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission, such as drawing blood and laboratory services. 

“One Medical’s modern, hospitality-focused approach to healthcare provides a unique platform for consumers to maintain their health and well-being in convenient, highly accessible places,” said the application, filed by Alan Montufar, a senior designer with Seattle-based CallisonRTKL Inc. “We look forward to bringing this convenience and quality to the residents and workers of New Canaan.”

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, general and medical offices no larger than 10,000 square feet are permitted in the Business A zone with site plan approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission (see page 78 here). 

The building at 22 Pine had received a major makeover in becoming Oxygen Fitness in 2013, then COMBINE-X Fitness (whose owners said this past summer they were rebranding as House of Telos and received P&Z approval to move to Forest Street). P&Z is expected to take up the site plan application for One Medical at its regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday. About 10 to 12 patients are expected to be on site at the medical clinic at any time, according to the application.

Who Knew: Toto, I Don’t Think We’re Technically in New Canaan Anymore

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. Generally, this column covers restaurants, activities, shops, and experiences in New Canaan. While Tavern at GrayBarns is technically in Norwalk, don’t tell that to the many New Canaanites who claim it as their hometown’s best special occasion restaurant.  Here’s one for the suggestion box: Unspecial Occasion Dining. 

I’m never mad at birthday dinners, anniversary dates, or the swilling of swanky holiday cocktails while a jazz trio plays nearby. Those are all perfectly fun, if well-trodden, occasions upon which to break out the Dry Clean Only. But I would, and often do, trade every single one of them in for the grown-up thrill of impulsively convening a nice restaurant meal for no reason whatsoever.

‘Pray For Me and I’ll Be Back’: Joe’s Pizza Temporarily Closed As Lorenzo Colella Attends to Health Issues

The popular owner of one of New Canaan’s most beloved pizzerias is asking locals to be patient as he works through health problems that have forced its temporary closing. Asked what he’d say to the many loyal customers of Joe’s Pizza on Locust Avenue, Lorenzo Colella said, “I just want them to be patient with me and I love them and appreciate all of their support.”

He added, “It’s just hard being away from them, my family and New Canaan.”

Colella spoke from Hartford Hospital, where he’s undergone a battery of tests for the past week following a yet-undiagnosed heart issue that first appeared Aug. 19 and re-emerged last Wednesday, prompting an emergency admission at Hartford following a consultation at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. Asked what New Canaanites can do to support him, Colella said, “Just prayers.”

“My wife’s got it down for now, and my mother-in-law,” he said.