John Barricelli knows good bread.
"Maybe it's in the blood," the third-generation baker said.
Now Darien can enjoy the bread that lives up to Barricelli's standards with the opening of SoNo Baking Company & Cafe at 49 Tokeneke Road.
"We decided to just pull the trigger and open," Barricelli said, sitting at one of the tables in his new store. He had toyed with opening before Labor Day, then after Labor Day, or before school started in Darien or after school started in Darien.
The doors officially opened the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Throughout the day, curious passersby and neighboring retailers made their way into the store to see what baked goods it had to offer.
Inside, they were met with a brightly lit display case filled with pastries and breads like macaroons, croissants, slices of coconut cake, small cakes, quinoa breakfast cookies, brownies and more. Along one wall is a mural depicting a wide-open field of golden wheat stalks meeting a clear blue sky.
The first SoNo Baking Company & Cafe opened almost 10 years ago in South Norwalk at 101 S. Water St., when there was a belief that more retail stores would be coming to the neighborhood, Barricelli said. However, as the years went on, the retail stores didn't arrive and Barricelli's business remained steady, but with no growth.
As a result, Barricelli opened a second spot in Westport 2½ years ago, and now in Darien -- two locations that are surrounded by a variety of retail stores. He opened the first location with the intent to bake French-style pastries and specialty cakes.
The South Norwalk location serves as the primary bakery, churning out loaves of fresh bread and pastries, which are then delivered to the Darien location four times a day.
Barricelli has been baking for almost four decades, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1980. He has worked at The Elms Restaurant and Tavern in Ridgefield and with Martha Stewart.
Two of Barricelli's cookbooks are on display on the counter in front of two large, glass jars filled with biscotti. When pastries from his books are on display in the case, the pages are turned to the recipe for customers to see.
The SoNo Baking Company & Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For information, visit www.sonobaking.com or call 203-309-5401.
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