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Aloi Restaurant Closes Its Doors

Cliff Aloi said there are "too many restaurants" in New Canaan.

Aloi restaurant is closed, and the New Canaan business landscape has undergone  yet . The Italian eatery, located in a columned white building at 62 Main St. served its last meal on Saturday night.

The owners, chef Margherita Aloi and her husband, Cliff, opened a second restaurant in Shelton last May, Cliff Aloi told Patch. The namesake restaurant across from was doing well, but not well enough. They closed the New Canaan restaurant to focus their attention on Il Palio in Shelton.

“There are in New Canaan,” Cliff Aloi told Patch, “so many places where you can purchase food. I think there’s and coffee places. I thought they should put a limit on it.”

Aloi said they have two potential buyers for the restaurant, which opened in 2004.

“We have two people very interested,” Aloi said. One is Italian and one is American.”

Aloi hopes this is “so long” and not “goodbye" to New Canaan.

“New Canaan is family to Margherita,” Aloi said. “We’re sad we’re moving on, but we’re excited about the new project. Margherita would like to thank everybody that’s come to this restaurant, we thank you for your patronage. Maybe one day we’ll be back in New Canaan as a business.”

Heywood Smith February 12, 2011 at 09:02 AM
Would like to see a casual, moderately priced French bistro come to town, like Versailles in Grnch or Encore in Larchmont
Sheryl Shaker February 12, 2011 at 04:20 PM
L'Abbee had a cafe type place as well -- before they opened the formal dining room. I think it might have been where Ching's Table is, not in the Aloi building. It had a black-and-white checkerboard floor and a takeout counter. Really charming.
NewCanaanResident February 12, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Lissard House - No liquor L'Abbee Liq lic exp. 2/25/1999 White Oak Bistro " " " 3/22/2001 Running Fish " " " 12/13/2003 Belmare " " " 10/14/2004 Aloi " Active (CLOSED) I remember another restaurant as well - maybe 62 Main and it was BYOB? Vicolo began their liquor lic in 5/2002 and still there. Same building. I would not take over the space. Bad mojo!
jfood February 12, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Thanks NCR. Great list. Between L'Abbee and Aloi I cannot remember a good meal in the middle places although a do remember a waiter dropping a really hot bowl of soup on my head when he stumbled out of the door from the kitchen about 8 years ago. Way more funny now then at the time. Never sat there again.
Elmcrest February 13, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I think all of the L'Abbee activities were housed in the same 62 Main building. The front part was as you describe (takeout, checkerboard floor), and then they shoehorned tables behind that, behind a velveteen curtain. It was both charming and claustrophobic at the same time. I really used to enjoy Lobos, the place where Vicolo is now. The Ching's Table location held a few different Asian food "concepts" before sticking with Ching's Table. The first restaurant there was called "Mr. Lee's," back in the 1980s, and before that, it was Martin's Men's Clothing.
Sheryl Shaker February 13, 2011 at 11:06 PM
Elmcrest: I remember Mr. Lee's -- we really liked that place. I think it was the first Chinese restaurant in town. Then there was something called "The Little Kitchen," that I think was in the same space. Did that evolve into Ching's Table? Do you remember the restaurant over at the Racquet Club -- Stone Horse?
Elmcrest February 14, 2011 at 04:29 AM
I do remember the Little Kitchen, but for some reason, I thought it was on Elm Street. I never went there but friends from Ridgefield used to go there all the time. And yes, I remember the Stone Horse and even its predecessor, Huckleberry's. And some more: "Nantucket Cafe," where Tequila Mockingbird is now. And "Calliope," down on the Cherry Street extension, in the same shopping center where Club Sandwich is (but in the other building); it was a locally branded version of the Brock's Restaurant chain. And Nebbia's Town Restaurant, where Cherry Street East is now. Also, up on Elm Street, Libby's Diner and later the Blue Water, both where the incredible Harvest Supper is today. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Elmcrest Luncheonette, run by the Ready family, where Taste of Asia is now. That used to be something like the town hall breakfast club in the 1970s.
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Yes the Elmcrest run by the Ready family was an institution, a place our parents took us to every Sunday morning for years, and where I discovered corn muffins and eggs benedict — a curse and a blessing.
Susan February 16, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Well what about Fat Tuesday's on Elm Street? Epic.
G McEvoy February 16, 2011 at 01:16 AM
S. the first chinese restaurant in nc was not mr. lee's ... but what is now called taste of asia (still) run for many years by wayne ? .... after mr. lee's went belly up it was followed by the little kitchen which also had their main place in westport .... libby's was were harvest supper is now ... it had no liquor license, but you could go 2-3 stores to the right and buy a few beers to bring back to libby's to have with your meal .... the elmcrest luncheontte was a great place ... must have been a bar at one point because on the far right was a counter with fixed stools, to left of that were booths, and in a front to back parallel room to the further left were more boothes..... a great waitress there was the wife of officer cogswell ... who had served as a marine in wwII and was on the ncpd for many years .... they had a daughter named georgia who worked at the old/original new canaan fuel and lumber ... where "lumberyard parking lot" is now
Terry Dinan February 16, 2011 at 01:50 AM
A list of New Canaan restaurants in 1984, from an old business directory I still have for some reason: -The Best Wurst, 22 East Ave. (Closed last year) -Brock's, 111 Cherry St. (Several businesses there now, I think a beauty salon is where the dining room used to be?) -Cherrystreet East, 45 East Ave. (Still there) -Elmcrest Luncheonette, 73 Elm St. (Now Taste of Asia) -Fat Tuesday, 105 Elm St. (Now Sole) -Gates, 10 Forest St. (Still there) -Heritage Inn, 183 Cherry St. (MD's office) -Huckleberry's, 43 Grove (Offices in Racquet Club building) -Joe's Pizzeria, 14 Forest St. (Relocated to Locust Ave, old space is now Bistro Bonne Nuit) -Lou's Kitchen, 18 Forest St. (Now New Canaan Diner) -Mr. Lee's, 64 Main St. (Now Ching's Table) -New Canaan Pizza, 53 East Ave. (Still there) -Nick's Cafe, 15 Elm St. (Now Harvest Supper) -Stephen's Luncheonette, 15 1/2 Elm St. (I believe now Reid's Country Kitchen)
G McEvoy February 16, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Michael ... was your dad Tim Dinan? he was an old friend and the best VW beetle mechanic around! G.
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 16, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Mr. McEvoy: Yes, that's my dad. And Terry is my older brother (he writes for NC Patch). Thanks for remembering him and the Dinan Auto days. He closed up the shop these 15 years ago now after remarrying a Swede and moving to Stockholm. He lives there now and works as a translator — hasn't picked up a wrench for money since landing in Europe, he's proud to say. If you were a regular customer, we probably met at some point at the shop, where I worked summers during high school and college. — Mike
G McEvoy February 16, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Mike: please forward Tim my best regards! G.
jeff February 16, 2011 at 05:09 AM
The new Italian place at the old design solutions 2 is going to be called "the tuscan osteria & mercato" Heard they have the Maneros butcher shop with tuscan specialties and a high end italian restaurant and bar. Maybe Aloi felt the heat and got out while the getting was good.
Eva Levine February 16, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Elmcrest, you could probably answer this one: was there ever a Gristedes in town? Possibly on upper Elm? I remember Rosen's Market, but somehow think we had a Gristedes too.
MPM February 16, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Eva, There was definitely a Gristedes. My husband's grandparents lived in New Canaan and shopped there for many years. We've been trying to figure out where it was (or who took it over) since we moved here last year.
NewCanaanResident February 16, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Jan. 22, 1960: Three stores in a building in the center of New Canaan were swept by fire causing damage estimated at $500,000. The blaze broke out in the basement of Lang's Drug Store on Elm Street. It spread to the Ingold Beauty Salon and Ed Langbein's Gift Shop. By noon, the fire, which started about 9 a.m., spread to Gristedes Bros. Liquor Store. Smoke was visible for several miles. A total of 60 firefighters responded to the alarm. About 10 firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
Elmcrest February 16, 2011 at 04:18 PM
There was a Gristede's Market and a separate Gristede's Liquor Store. Both were located near where Lang's Pharmacy is, in the same building if I remember correctly, or in the building that now houses the antique store next to Starbucks (which was a gas station). The antique store building only had one story back then. An aside: in Jack Douglass' humorous book, "The Neighbors Are Scaring My Wolf," he famously asserts that Gristede's was where people "brought their dogs to pee on the vegetables. " There was also another small specialty market lower on Elm Street called Patsy Totaro's.
Eva Levine February 16, 2011 at 04:29 PM
And was Rosen's on Main St (where the Toy Chest is now)?
Elmcrest February 16, 2011 at 04:47 PM
There were actually TWO Rosen's that I remember. One was a clothing store, located about where CT Muffin is now; the other was a small market, located approximately where Lamaker's was before they moved. The Toy Chest location had been the Cody Pharmacy for years and years (and is still owned by the Cody family); the old mansard-roofed building was torn down in the mid-1960s to help straighten out Main Street. Where Baskin-Robbins is today was the original Gramophone Shop, the big middle store (now the Toy Chest) had been a Hallmark Card Shop and a Sylvan Pools store, and the righthand store was for many years The Modern Shop, a classy, high-end women's clothing store. The building where Garelick & Herbs and People's Bank are now located was another small-mid size grocery store, I'm thinking "First National Store," maybe, before they started calling themselves Finast. Just a note to G McEvoy's memories of the Elmcrest: I don't think it was ever a bar, more like a lunch counter, run by a guy everyone called Mac. The waitress you're talking about sounds like Gloria. One more lunch counter, located where Colonial Barber now is: Richard's, and before that, Dagmar's. Great ice cream cones.
Eva Levine February 16, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Thanks, Elmcrest. Good to know we have a town historian!
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 16, 2011 at 05:04 PM
I think that small grocery store where Garelick & Herbs/People's Bank now are located was "Grand Central Market" ... very nice, personable staff, and there was a conveyor belt that ran down toward the back for bottle returns, I believe.
shortpants February 16, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Mr. Lee's was the first Chinese restaurant in New Canaan.
Elmcrest February 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM
That's what I thought - I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that when Mr. Lee's opened, the Elmcrest Luncheonette was still in business, and the Magic Wok came in at the Elmcrest location a few years later. The original Mr. Lee's had only done a minimal remodeling since the Martin's Clothes days, so for those of us who remembered the men's clothing store, it was a bizarre experience, eating in the very same place where a year earlier there had been racks of shirts!
Chris Cody February 24, 2011 at 07:28 PM
The Heritage and then Mulligan's and then Logan's where New England Pediatric's is now
Sheryl Shaker February 24, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Remember Stone Horse at the Racquet Club?
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 24, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Oh yes. "Stony Pony," it was called informally.
Chris Cody February 25, 2011 at 01:17 PM
Elmcrest in the 80's became a bar resturant and had seating out back and live music ...not sure who owned it at that time... Grand Central market was at that site and in addition to the conveyor there were house charge accounts...credit cards for food shopping were still in the future
cindy July 08, 2012 at 02:10 AM
ha ha I remember the heritage cafe in 1975, the two old ladies were servers, one tall and one short, I thought they were old, but they were serving me beer at 16 years old!!

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