Which businesses have opened or closed in Darien in 2021?

DARIEN – The city has welcomed several new businesses while bidding farewell to a few other beloved institutions that have gone out of business for good in 2021.

Here is a look at some of the stores that have opened and left Darien this year.

What’s new in Darien

Several new restaurants have entered the local restaurant scene this year.

Owner Tim Labant has opened
Pizza & Bar Lounge
at 1020 Post Road – the former location of Bistro Baldanza – in April. This is the second location for Labant, which opened the first Wilton store in 2018. Since its arrival, the pizzeria has garnered rave reviews from locals.

And for gastronomy aficionados, L’Ostal Restaurant, a new Provencal restaurant from owner and chef Jared Sippel, also opened in April. The restaurant is “rooted in the history and tradition celebrating the cuisines of the south of France and its borders,” according to its website. It’s at 22, rue Center.

New tenants have moved into empty storefronts at Darien Place, redeveloping the former location of Darien Playhouse. Laurent Lumière and Design, a lighting and furniture store with a location in Ridgefield, is expected to open its second location on the site, according to its Facebook page.

La Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant that currently operates a location in Greenwich, is another new tenant in the Darien Place development. Owned by Chef Dennis Lake, the restaurant has started work on its new location but is expected to officially open in mid-January 2022.

A long-standing Darien liquor store has been given a modern new branding. The City Cellar, 1089 Boston Post Road, opened in November but is a continuation of the local Glen Liquors institution in Noroton Heights.

“The time had come for a really thoughtful and cool wine and spirits lifestyle concept,” said partner Lauren Hokin, whose father owned Glen Liquors. The store sells selected wines and beer as well as other products.

For fashion fans, the clothing store Caprice open in April. The store sells clothing and accessories and operates several other locations in the tri-state area.

And adopting a non-traditional boutique model, the online-only clothing store Luvli opened earlier this year, owned by Darien native Ann Laczko and her daughters.

Shop closing

The popular nautical store The wharf shop, a must-see in downtown Darien since 2012, closed in January. The shop sold fishing products, specialty clothing and nautical-themed knick-knacks.

Named 2018 Darien Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year, owner Michael La Scala cited the growing popularity of online shopping and the pandemic as the reasons it was forced to shut down.

“It was not an easy decision and not one we were happy with,” La Scala said upon closing.

The bike and fitness studio JoyRide also closed this year after suffering a series of setbacks, including severe flooding during Hurricane Ida, pandemic challenges and limitations on insurance coverage. The studio still operates a location in Westport.

“JoyRide Darien has been an incredible example of strength and joy,” the company wrote in a Facebook post in October announcing its departure. “We will never forget the inspiring charity rides, the incredible teamwork, the close-knit community, and the long-standing friendships that were made along the way.”

And the inhabitants also lost Baja Joe’s, a family-friendly Tex-Mex bistro on Center Street.

“We really appreciate all the support over the past year,” owner Joe Criscuolo wrote in a Facebook post in October announcing the closure.

Some stores have also moved this year as a result of redevelopment projects, including Kennedy American Barber Club, which is moving from its current location at 1950 Post Road to a storefront in Darien Place.

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