The owners of local restaurants that partnered with a theater group that performed in downtown New Canaan through July said the effect on business was largely positive.
Angela Baldanza, co-owner of and chef at Baldanza Café, described the restaurant’s partnership with the Summer Theatre of New Canaan as “a very positive experience.” She said that many diners had come into the restaurant to take advantage of a special fixed-price menu, and that she “would do it again.”
Asked whether the theater’s impact was noticeably different from previous years, when it had been located further away from the downtown area, Baldanza said “definitely.”
Previously located in Waveny, STONC on Sunday finished its final show on New Canaan Library’s property. The organization partnered this year with a number of local restaurants, which offered special deals for theatergoers.
Nube Siguenza, owner and chef at Cava Wine Bar on Forest Street, said of the restaurant’s partnership with STONC, “It’s working,” adding that, “more people [are] coming to the restaurant before or after the event.”
Owner of elm restaurant, Laura Barker, said in an email that she values STONC and is happy to support its efforts.
“It’s nice that they want to partner with local retail and restaurants to drive business,” she said.
Not all restaurant partners noticed the theater’s impact. Though the Roger Sherman Inn was among those local restaurants offering a special for STONC patrons, co-owner Nes Jaffre said the Oenoke Ridge Road establishment is “kind of out of the loop from downtown,” adding that additional business did not appear to come out of the partnership.
The uptick in restaurant activity—a result of Summer Theatre’s proximity to the downtown , as opposed to over at Waveny—meant fewer theatergoers took advantage of Walter Stewart’s boxed dinners, though that in itself is a very positive sign for the partnership, according to Vice President Doug Stewart.
Saying Walter Stewart’s is “a proud sponsor” of Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Stewart added, “From all accounts, I think the destination at the library really worked out well, and that seemed like a positive development for the town.”
Asked how important it was to him to work with local businesses, STONC Executive Director Ed Libonati told NewCanaanite.com that, “We could not be happier to be connected with the community, the downtown businesses, the restaurants and the library especially, which hosted us at Christine’s Garden.”
He added that STONC’s collaboration with local restaurants, “grounds our organization within the community. We’re here, not just for the community, we’re here as part of the community.”
Libonati has long voiced his desire for STONC to find a permanent home in New Canaan that includes an indoor venue, first raising the possibility in August 2017 and again in March 2018 before the Parks & Recreation Commission.