New Canaan Now & Then: Bob’s Sports

The holidays are a perfect time to remember the quintessential small town store, Bob’s Sports, which occupied 91 Park Street for decades. Bob’s Sports opened in New Canaan in 1951, taking over the former home of Harry Groher. The property was modified to include a black top driveway that could accommodate twenty cars. The original store sold sporting goods and “country wear” for the whole family. Robert E. Mallozzi hosted an open house for his new patrons on September 5th, cementing the store’s place in the community with its merchandise and genial sales staff.

‘Barvida’ Organic Vegan Juice Bar and Café Opens on Elm Street

A new organic vegan juice bar and café has opened in the heart of downtown New Canaan. Darien’s Brennan Branca opened his second location of Barvida on Nov. 12 at 137 Elm St., next to the alley by Chef Luis. The business’s first store opened in Darien in 2020. Serving cold-pressed juices, smoothies and organic foods including bowls, wraps, salads and toasts, Barvida is focused on “providing the absolute highest-quality ingredients that we can possibly source,” Branca told on a recent afternoon.

Town Officials Consider Widening Sidewalks for Length of Elm Street Between Main and Park

Town officials say they’re deciding whether to extend the wider sidewalks on Elm Street all the way from Main to Park Street on the north side. New Canaan, like other towns, saw the popularity of outdoor dining rise during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and officials have said the “bumpout” already in place from South Avenue to The Playhouse appears to be serving the downtown well. “Should we look at having a ‘continual bumpout,’ so to speak, on Elm Street?” Selectmen Nick Williams said Tuesday during the Board of Selectmen meeting. “I could see it extending all the way on the north side of the street.”

Public Works Director Tiger Mann said New Canaan’s local traffic authority—the Police Commission—has suggested the same scenario. “There also is the possibility of stopping at the alleyway or the driveway next to Chef Luis and allowing some parking there,” Mann said.

Retail Butcher Shop Planned for Downtown New Canaan

A new butcher shop is planned for a vacant commercial space on Burtis Avenue. A $40,000 interior fit-out is planned for 12 Burtis Ave., future home of a single-room retail butcher shop, according to a permit application filed Tuesday with the New Canaan Building Department. The space, located at the rear of a Burtis Avenue-facing building and easily accessible from East Avenue, used to house The Red Grape wine shop (now at Forest Street and Locust Avenue). Asked about the prospective new butcher shop, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laura Budd said, “The Chamber was happy to see that the space was taken quickly, it speaks to the resurgence in demand for commercial space in downtown New Canaan. We look forward to working with this new business.”

It’s unclear what the new shop will be called or when it’s expected to open—the applicant could not immediately be reached for comment.

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.