FIRST LOOK: ‘Organika Kitchen’ on Main Street To Open in Two Weeks [PHOTOS]

Vegan and vegetarian foods provider Organika Kitchen offered locals a sneak peek of its offerings Thursday night during the annual Taste of the Town Stroll. Known for its pancakes, mezza plates, smoothies, organic salads and juices, protein and açaí bowls, burgers and pizza, Organika served up pesto pasta salad cups and small cups of its “Super Green Smoothie” (spinach, kale, mango, banana) during the 8th Annual Stroll. It will open in two weeks on a full-time basis, according to Dimitri Pantzos, a partner in the business. “We’re very excited,” Pantzos said outside the new location as visitors gladly took the samples on a clear, cool evening. 

Asked what made Organika want to participate in the Stroll, Pantzos said: “We just want to be part of the town and commerce, and Tucker’s really nice, so why not participate?”

He referred to Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. Items on Organika’s chalkboard menu include Margarita Pizza (tomato sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, topped with extra virgin olive oil and basil—$11), Protein Boost Smoothie (banana, almond butter, cacao powder, cinnamon, rice protein, raw honey and almond milk—$8.50), Beets By OGK Fresh Juice (beet, lemon, ginger, apple, celery—$8.50), Almond Crunch Bowl (banana, blueberries, açai, almond milk, mango, topped with strawberry, banana, granola, almond slices, almond butter and raw honey—$10.50) and Dragon Bomb Smoothie (mango, pineapple, dragon fruit, topped with pineapple, coconut and raw honey—$10). 

The Stroll is a “food-raiser” organized by the Chamber and sponsored by Berkshire Hathaway and Walter Stewart’s Market that brings in donated items for the local Food Pantry as well as eyeglasses and hearings aids for the LIONs Club of New Canaan.

Unwelcome Sight: New Parking Plan for Elm Street Takes Shape

An unwelcome change to parking on Elm Street in New Canaan has materialized in the form of thin strips of white paint. Though the permanent striping on New Canaan’s main business road is yet to come, public works officials have drawn the outline of a new parking arrangement over the recently repaved Elm Street that will see it lose 15 spaces. 

Prompted by a resident formally putting New Canaan on notice that the town was out of compliance with a little-known (and variously observed) state law that calls for a 25-foot buffer zone between a crosswalk and legal parking space—a notification that could open up the municipality to liability in the event of a collision—officials studied the parking plan on Elm Street and, reluctantly, approved revisions that respect the statute. Last week, residents got their first look at the new “no parking” zones based on outlines in the asphalt, and the change is dramatic. 

It also means downtown New Canaan, always struggling to accommodate demand for parking between workers and visitors, soon will be squeezed even tighter. Laura Budd of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce said the change makes it that much more urgent and necessary for those who work in both first- and second-floor businesses on Main and Elm to park in municipal lots. “Prime spots are for prime customers,” Budd said.

PHOTOS: Bargain-Hunters Hit New Canaan for Annual Sidewalk Sale

Bargain-hunters descended on New Canaan in droves starting Saturday morning for the Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale, running through 4 p.m.

Parts of Forest, Main and Elm Streets were closed to pedestrian-only traffic for the major annual event, organized by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. “It’s going awesome,” the Chamber’s Laura Budd said as the Sidewalk Sale got into full swing. “It’s a beautiful day. The vendors are up and running and people are already shopping. We love to see it.

‘A Really Fun Community Day’: Sidewalk Sale Coming Saturday

The 53rd Annual Village Fair & Sidewalk Sale this weekend will feature vendor booths, food trucks, child-friendly activities, live music and, as of the latest forecasts, clear sunny skies. The Sidewalk Sale, to be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday after local merchants with street-level shops put out their discount racks at 10 a.m. Friday until 4 p.m. that afternoon, promises to be “a really fun community day,” said the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s Laura Budd. The Friday headstart for local businesses is designed to give shoppers a “preview” of the day-long event, Budd said. Parking in all legal spaces will be free starting at 12 p.m. Friday. The real excitement of the Village Fair portion will begin Saturday, Budd said, when portions of Elm Street, Main Street, Forest Street and South Avenue are closed to motor vehicle traffic to create the quintessential “safe and family friendly pedestrian mall.”

In all, 110 vendors are scheduled to set up shop outdoors, with exclusive deals and bargains.

New Canaan Music Earns ‘Business of the Year’ Honors

Now more than ever, it takes both a special kind of business and business owner to succeed. New Canaan has seen many stores open and close their doors, and among those a special few have stayed up and running while being loved by our town’s residents. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy said New Canaan Music owner and town resident Phil Williams may be seen as a model for other businesses. “For retail to survive in a town like New Canaan, it has to be about the experience,” Murphy said. “Phil has done just that.”

On June 27, Williams will be recognized as “Business of the Year” during the Chamber’s Annual Awards Luncheon.