The Lopez family will launch adjoining restaurants, Azuca and Gastro Bar, at 78 West Park Place West in Stamford on June 25 with a Grand Opening celebration commencing at 5:30 pm. The community at large is invited. For more information, call Azuca at (203) 817-0189 or Gastro Bar at (203) 817-0190. (contributed photo)
STAMFORD, CT - Two new eateries have hit the heart of Stamford -- Azuca and Gastro Bar -- the brainchildren of the family Lopez. Mario Lopez, his wife and his brothers announced today the opening of their side-by-side restaurants, Azuca (www.azucarestaurant.com) and Gastro Bar (www.gastrobarstamford.com). The new establishments are adjoined at 78 West Park Place and will launch Wednesday, June 25 with a Grand Opening event. The Stamford community and beyond are invited to attend. The celebration begins at 5:30 pm and will feature a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor David Martin. Reservations for the Grand Opening are not necessary and admission is free.
Mr. Lopez is the owner of Wilton's Bianco Rosso (www.biancorossorestaurant.com), along with his wife, Cristina Ramirez and additional relatives. Ms. Ramirez takes part in the family affair by spearheading stylish design for both Azuca and Gastro Bar. "My wife, my brothers and I...we are a team -- in every aspect of this venture," said Lopez.
The four Lopez brothers relocated to Connecticut from Ecuador two decades ago and have worked their way up the ranks in the restaurant trade -- from bus boys to managing 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 storng local following. With the success of Bianco Rosso under their belt, the group decided to expand their expertise to Stamford. Enter Azuca and Gastro Bar, which will be managed by brothers, Alejandro and Carlos, while siblings Mario and Jaime will oversee the Wilton operation.
Ms. Ramirez scoped out properties, settling on the West Park Place locale as it is both walking distance from many area businesses and a lively Stamford hub. As with Bianco Rosso, Cristina developed a fresh, urban look for Azuca and Gastro Bar to match their eclectic menus. Both offer affordable fine dining amid a “smart casual” dress code.
“We aimed to create an inviting atmosphere coupled with unique menus,” said Ms. Ramirez.
Azuca is a Latin American Bistro with a specialty cocktail menu. Its cozy bar highlights drinks with an island feel using an array of rums, tequilas, piscos, cachacas and mezcals.
“We offer mojitos, margaritas and other exotic drinks mixed with surprising ingredients for an interesting spin,” said Mr. Lopez.
In addition, Azuca’s authenic menu features arepas and more while dessert choices include flan, tres leches, churros and the like. Azuca is the go-to locale for Latin food enthusiasts seeking a great meal, contemporary cocktail menu and a fun vibe to boot.
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. Mr. Lopez describes Gastro Bar as “the ultimate wine and tapas destination.”
Both restaurants feature exciting menus developed by Lopez and his family, in conjunction with Executive Chef, Vincent Ricciardelli, hailing from Manhattan’s Grape & Vine restaurant. Azuca and Gastro Bar will be open seven days as follows: Sunday - Wednesday 11:30 am - 10:00 pm and Thursday - Saturday 11:30 am - 11:00 pm. The two eateries will feature pre-fixe business offerings, Sunday brunch and take out service. Private parties and large groups are welcome.
The Lopez family’s new restaurants will offer affordable fine dining and bring Latin and Mediterranean flair to the Stamford downtown scene. Simply put, it’s a win-win.
For more information or future reservations, call Azuca at (203) 817-0189 and Gastro Bar at (203) 817-0190.