Local Restaurants and COVID-19: South End

For this installment of our daily Q&A with a restaurant owner navigating the COVID-19 emergency, we hear from Nick Martschenko, chef-owner of South End and SE Uncorked. South End is open 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and 12 to 8 p.m. Saturday. (SE Uncorked’s building is closed and the business is operating out of South End on Pine Street.)

We note here that Martschenko created a relief fund to help South End and SE Uncorked employees affected by layoffs. “These funds will be used to help those at SE & UC who will face significant hardship in the weeks and maybe months to come,” he said on a GoFundMe page that is hosting the fundraiser. 

Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: What has this past week been like for you? 

Nick Martschenko: This week has been a mystery basket filled with many emotions.

‘They Support the Community’: Local Businesspeople Recognized by New Canaan Chamber of Commerce at Annual Awards Luncheon

Local businesspeople in New Canaan work tirelessly year-round to serve the town of New Canaan and its residents—giving of their time and rolling up their sleeves to provide goods and services for those in need, coach youth sports and volunteer to support community events. On Tuesday, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce recognized three businesses who have made a significant impact. “We do this every year—this is our way of honoring the businesses that support our town,” Tucker Murphy, the executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said during the organization’s Annual Awards Luncheon, held at Gates. “It’s always hard because there are so many that do so many great things.”

This year’s winners are:

Rob Hutchinson and Hutchinson Tree Company for Golden Shovel
Steve and Leo Karl for Volunteers of the Year
Nick Martschenko and South End for Business of the Year

“The Golden Shovel is for an organization or club that lends to the beautification of downtown,” Murphy told NewCanaanite.com, referring to Hutchinson’s Christmas lights that run throughout town in the winter months. “The lights is just an all time favorite.

‘SE Uncorked’ on Elm Earns High Marks from New Canaan’s Health Inspectors

SE Uncorked has earned an average score of 94 out of 100 on health inspections since opening two years ago, records show. Occupying a prominent and longtime restaurant space at 15 Elm St., the cozy bar and small-plates eatery from Nick Martschenko has scored as high as 97 on unannounced inspections conducted by sanitarians with the New Canaan Health Department since earning a food permit in 2015, according to a review of the organization’s files at Town Hall. Sanitarians use a state Department of Public Health standard, citing eateries for violations that range in seriousness and corresponding weight from 1 to 4 points. A “failed” inspection is triggered either by one or more 4-point violations or a total score of less than 80 points. Owned by Martschenko, who also is chef and owner at South End on Pine Street, SE Uncorked consistently has earned the equivalent of A’s and A+’s on its inspections (article continues below):


The intimate SE Uncorked space on Elm previously had been occupied by Picador.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan High School Theatre’s winter musical is “Grease”—March 19, 20 and 21—and cast members gathered at the most sensible place in town for a promotional photo shoot on a Saturday afternoon: The repair shop at Karl Chevrolet. See slideshow above, and stand by for a special video from the shoot that’s in production now. ***

Pam Pooley, administrative assistant in the New Canaan Planning & Zoning Department, is retiring March 31 after 10 years in the position. Best of luck to Pam! ***

The owner of South End restaurant has applied to the state for a liquor permit at a planned second location in New Canaan—at 15 Elm St., a space occupied since January 2013 by Picador Restaurant.

Building Plans Filed for New Restaurant on Elm Street, ‘The South End Uncorked’

Town building officials are reviewing plans for an interior renovation at 15 Elm St., currently the home of Picador restaurant. Plans filed Jan. 5 at the New Canaan Building Department call for $55,000 in upgrades for a new restaurant called ‘The South End Uncorked.’ The applicant is Nick Martschenko, chef and proprietor at South End, the hugely popular restaurant on Pine Street. Respecting the process by which the current occupant at 15 Elm St. may wind down, Martschenko deferred to the owners of Picador—a highly rated restaurant that opened in January 2013—when reached by NewCanaanite.com.