Sono Baking To Close; Aux Delices Moves In

Two years ago, SoNo Baking Company took over the downtown coffee shop space vacated by Java.

The popular mini-chain — with branches in Norwalk and Darien — drew 150 to 200 people a day, 300 on weekends. Customers came to eat and meet — despite the noise and dust of the Bedford Square construction project, diagonally across Church Lane.

But now — the moment the retail/restaurant/residential complex is opening — SoNo Baking is closing. Owner John Barricelli expects to sell his final coffees, pastries and salads by Easter.

Plenty to choose from at SoNo Baking Company.

Moving in is Aux Delices. They’ll keep their other Westport store next to Carvel. This will be the 5th location, with 2 in Greenwich and 1 in Darien. Aux Delices offers imported and local foods, freshly baked desserts and full-service catering.

“The rent was astronomical,” laments SoNo owner John Barricelli. “We couldn’t pay what we owed on coffee and cake. We fell behind, and it got to be a huge burden. I’ve never walked away from a bill in my life.

“If we were going in now, we might have had a chance. But the numbers didn’t add up.

“To make it there we needed alcohol, and to be open 24/7. For some reason, at 2 p.m. downtown gets very quiet. We had plenty of people in the morning, and until 2. But with the average check of $10 to $15 — you do the math.”

Barricelli calls SoNo’s closing “very sad.”

But he’s not giving up on Westport. He’s looking for another site near Southport — close to their previous location, near A&J’s Farm Stand.

And speaking of farmers: SoNo Baking was an original vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

They’ll still be there this summer.

7 responses to “Sono Baking To Close; Aux Delices Moves In

  1. Pauline Rhoads

    If the landlords cared about this town at all, they would lower their rents especially since parking in Westport is generally terrible. Would they really rather have vacant buildings sitting than offer affordable rent that would allow unique businesses to open and add flavor to our town?

  2. Chip Stephens

    Trouble in River City Westport
    Have you noticed the vacancies along the Post Road? It seems as one new shop opens 2 close, from Compo shopping center all the way to Fairfield and Norwalk borders. Or downtown, how long will the redone Remarkable Book corner stand vacant? Others, once leased, take eons to redo and open. Some may call it progress and evolution, I wonder if it is more like a forest fire. The forest as it is, gone with the fire but will regenerate a new forest in its own time, very different in form and a long time in its maturation.

  3. Marcy Sansolo

    pity. john is such a great guy and a really hard working man. while i love aux delices i feel really sad about this. best of luck to you always john! thanks for all the kindness you showed to my family & dogs, especially the golden 😉

  4. Bart Shuldman

    If customers like the food and coffee they would go. If the business model only addresses customers during a certain time (in this case up to 2 pm) then the cost might outweigh the sales.

    I know we stopped going because the coffee and coffee products were not very good. We went rob Neat instead (now closed) because their product was much better.

    Making a breakfast/coffee restarurant successful is difficult giving the competition is the high end Starbucks and the lower end Sherwood Diner.

    If the business model cannot attract customers at night then the breakfast model is difficult unless you can sell lots of pastries. But there is very good competition from our homemade donut shops.

    Just my opinion but the parking was difficult, and the product not ‘good’ enough to overcome those obstacles including very good competitors.

    As always-the market spoke.

  5. Bobbi Essagof

    I’m with Pauline. I hardly ever go downtown anymore because there is nothing I “need” there anymore. I also never go to malls unless it’s for an Apple store.
    I get it’s all about $ but it would be nice for Downton Westport to get back some personality and be a place “residents” need to go. Then while we are there, we might just shop at the “Mall”

  6. Lisa Marriott

    Good thing John still has SoNo bakery in South Norwalk (and Darien) – great breakfast with outside seating.

  7. I hope a new location is found soon. The outpost that was at A&J’s was a great asset.