Two new eateries to open in Darien this spring

DARIEN — As dining restrictions begin to lift across Connecticut, Darien residents will have some new choices for cuisine beginning in April.

Restaurant L’Ostal, to open at 22 Center St. at the former Center Street Public house, is a Provencal restaurant “rooted in history and tradition celebrating the cuisines of Southern France and its boundaries” according to its website.

The restaurant was originally based in Manhattan but closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After the closure, Chef Jared Sippel and his wife Lindsey came back to her home of Connecticut where they bought a house in Darien, had their first daughter Lennon, as well as found a new location for Restaurant L’Ostal.

According to the restaurant’s general manager, Joe Cracco, Sippel felt this was “the perfect opportunity to open his restaurant closer to home.”

Sippel’s two-decade culinary career has taken him through working with several James Beard Award winners and Michelin starred restaurants. His journey has taken him from Colorado to Provence, France, and Italy before returning to San Francisco and then ending up in New York to ultimately open his own restaurant, rooted in Southern French tradition, that he now brings to Darien.

Cracco is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary institute and is a certified sommelier, having served in that role at the three-Michelin-star Le Bernadin.

He said the restaurant is projected to open at the beginning of April.

Also coming to Darien in early April is Parlor Pizza & Bar, to add to The Corbin District family of eateries. Owner and Wilton resident Tim Labant is founder of the critically acclaimed Schoolhouse at Cannondale and the original Parlor in Wilton.

Parlor in Wilton was named best new restaurant, best pizza and best wine list in Westport, Wilton and Weston in 2020 by Moffly Media’s “Best of” series. Parlor opened in Wilton in late 2018. A review from Connecticut Magazine called Parlor’s pizza’s “superb” and “simple yet flawless.”

It will open 1020 Post Road in the former location of Bistro Baldanza.

Parlor offers a variety of salads, brick oven specialty pizza, housemade potato chips and specialty desserts. Like the Schoolhouse, seasonal products influences the menu’s offerings.

Parlor also features a a full bar, specialty cocktails and craft beers and a specialty wine list.

“It is a point of pride of ours to present extremely compelling wines at reasonable prices and in a fun, unpretentious environment. Think jeans and crystal decanters,” Parlor’s website states.

Labant said as a lifelong Wilton resident, he can really relate to the small-town feel and community of Darien. He said he has been hoping to open another pizza place but didn’t want a long commute.

“I really value being close to home,” he said. “I was able to ride my bike there today.”

Labant said he has been looking for a further way to transition from the fine dining of the Schoolhouse, which has remained closed throughout the pandemic, and was looking for the “right fit.”

He aims to open the restaurant the first week of April.