Since opening in May of 2021 — in the throes of the pandemic — The Porch at Christie’s has done something that eluded several other owners since Christie Masiello herself was there: succeed at business on a residential stretch of Cross Highway.
Customers flock to the bakery/café/ice cream stand that Bill and Andrea Pecoriello conceived, then brought to life. They love the breakfast specials, bowls, paninis, wraps and baked goods. The food is fresh, excellent and varied.
But that’s only part of the story.
The Pecoriellos have made The Porch into a warm, comfortable hangout, for all kinds of folks: area residents, kids from nearby Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools; parents dropping off and picking up youngsters at Wakeman Field; contractors working in the neighborhood, and delivery people driving by.
The Porch — including, in warm weather, its namesake front — has become exactly what the owners envisioned: a true community space.
But that too is only part of the story. And it’s only part of Bill and Andrea’s business.
As with their Sweet P Bakery in Norwalk, they provide job training and employment for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. At both places, the Pecoriellos offer opportunities for personal growth, income, social interaction, life skills coaching and a sense of purpose.
Interactions between employees and customers are heart-warming, and important — for everyone. Friendships have blossomed. Lives are enriched.
Last weekend’s plunging temperatures froze The Porch’s pipes. When they thawed, they burst.
Water cascaded through the roof. Employees (and customers) rushed to help.
The next day, The Porch was back in business.
That’s the way the Pecoriellos roll. They have people to serve — on both sides of the counter — and they serve them well.
Next month, The Porch hosts a social event: a St. Patrick’s Day Eve party. Dozens of members of Club 203 — the area’s social organization for adults with disabilities — will pack the place.
They’ll mingle, dance, have a great time — and of course eat.
The Sweet P baked goods will be especially good.
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Unsung Heroes is one of several weekly features on “06880.” Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)