Wilton Restaurant Owners Open New Eateries In Stamford

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Brothers Alejandro Lopez, left, and Carlos Lopez, right, along with cousin Javier Cabrera, center, stand in the Gastro Bar at 78 W. Park Place in Stamford. The official opening for the family-owned Azuca and adjacent Gastro Bar occurred Wednesday.
Brothers Alejandro Lopez, left, and Carlos Lopez, right, along with cousin Javier Cabrera, center, stand in the Gastro Bar at 78 W. Park Place in Stamford. The official opening for the family-owned Azuca and adjacent Gastro Bar occurred Wednesday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn., -- Downtown Stamford continues to be a hot place to dine, and two new restaurants will be part of that thriving scene.

The grand opening for Azuca and the adjacent Gastro Bar was held Wednesday. Both restaurants are at 78 W. Park Place.

The Gastro Bar has been open for about a week and a half, while Azuca will open in the next week or two, said Alejandro Lopez, a member of the family that owns both establishments.

The family also owns Wilton’s Bianco Rossi.

The four Lopez brothers, Mario, Alejandro, Carlos and Jamie, moved to Connecticut from Ecuador two decades ago. They have worked their way up the ranks in the restaurant trade -- from bus boys to managers of the sleek, Italian-style Bianco Rosso, which opened in 2012. The Wilton restaurant has a "Very Good" rating from the New York Times and a strong local following.

Buoyed by the success of Bianco Rossi, the family scouted other areas where they could open up a business and settled on Stamford.

“We like this area, and with these restaurants I think we will do good,” Alejandro said. Azuca will be managed by Alejandro and Carlos, while Mario and Jaime will manage Bianco Rossi.

Azuca is a Latin American Bistro with a specialty cocktail menu, Alejandro said. Its cozy bar highlights drinks with an array of rums, tequilas, piscos, cachacas and mezcals. In addition, Azuca’s authenic menu features arepas and more while dessert choices include flan, tres leches, churros and the like.

Its food choice will be drawn from all over Latin American as well as from Central and South America, said Alejandro and Carlos.

Gastro Bar is a wine bar showcasing Mediterranean tapas with Spanish, Italian and French influences. The small-plate appetizers will include signature dishes such as bistecca tartar, albondigas, paella and a variey of flatbreads.  The bar will have a large stock of wines including French, Italian, Spanish and Argentinian.

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