Tag Archives: Sweet P Bakery

Christie’s Porch

For nearly a century, the front porch of Christie’s Country Store helped anchor its Cross Highway neighborhood.

Christie Masiello and her nephew Don ran the farm stand/market — which opened in 1926 — for almost 7 decades. Several owners followed, serving residents, kids, contractors, and everyone in between.

Since January though — when Chef’s Table closed — the porch has been quiet.

Life returns this spring.

“The Porch at Christie’s” is the name new owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello have chosen for the venerable space. It’s a nod to the storied past, and a welcome addition to the area.

But the couple will serve much more than breakfast, lunch, pastries, soups, salads and prepared meals. By hiring people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, they’ll provide job training, income, social interaction, life skills coaching, and opportunities for personal growth to that often underserved population.

Andrea and Bill Pecoriello.

This is not the Pecoriellos’ first such venture. Last year — inspired by their own 3 children’s volunteer efforts with a boy with disabilities — they founded Sweet P.

Seven students and 2 chefs operated the non-profit bakery out of a Norwalk commercial kitchen until March, when COVID struck.

The chefs stayed through June, making granola for frontline workers and food pantries. In-person, socially distanced baking classes are set to resume this month, along with another class they run sponsored by STAR Lighting the Way.

The Porch at Christie’s will go much further than the bakery (which will supply some of the goods sold there). Interacting with customers, employees can learn front-of-the-house skills.

The Pecoriellos also wanted to do something for Westport — the town they’ve lived in for nearly 26 years. They envision The Porch as a community gathering spot. “We want to be very inclusive,” they say, bringing together the neighborhood and employees.

They’ll do it with breakfast burritos, muffins and granola (and a more “brunch-y” menu on weekends); coffee, tea and smoothies; lunches; prepared meals to go; salads, paninis and flatbreads.

They’ll sell crackers and jams for picnics, gift baskets — and milk, eggs and cheese, products neighbors have long clamored for. Catering will be available too.

The couple is also excited to bring back the former Frosty Bear ice cream hut. They’re scouting out top local dairy farms to supply it, and will run a contest to pick its name.

The Frosty Bear ice cream stand will reopen, with a new name.

The Pecoriellos are searching too for the best Connecticut coffee roasters.

The Porch at Christie’s will be open 7 days a week, starting at 7 a.m. It will be “very COVID-friendly,” the Pecoriellos says, with curbside pick-up and takeout.

They hope to have a permit for lawn seating. Of course, they’ll have tables on the porch (alongside a new ADA-compliant ramp).

The interior will be refurbished with a “modern farmhouse” look. The target date for opening is March.

“We have a great relationship with our landlord, Tim Purcell,” says Bill Pecoriello. “He knows how important this is for the neighborhood.”

That “neighborhood” extends far beyond Cross Highway residents. It includes construction and lawn workers; parents and athletes at Wakeman Field, and students and teachers at Bedford Middle and Staples High School.

The new owners also hope for a partnership with Wakeman Town Farm, a few hundred yards away.

Next spring, the porch at The Porch at Christie’s will again be open.

Bill and Andrea Pecoriello seem to have thought of everything. They’re even buying a generator, to serve the neighborhood during power outages.

“We’ll have ice and everything else. Including WiFi,” they say.

So when the next blizzard passes, or another storm blows away, you can eat, drink and do your work at — and on — The Porch at Christie’s.

(The Pecoriellos want to hear suggestions and ideas. Email info@theporchatchristies.com.)

COVID-19 Roundup: Great Gault; Sweet P Bakery; Kentucky Derby; More

Shane Purcell posted this on Facebook’s “Westport Front Porch” page. It’s worth repeating (don’t worry, I asked him!):

“Shout-out to Gault for coming out during the pandemic to install a whole new boiler and hot water heating system. Our boiler sprung a huge leak Thursday night, and the water tank failed as well. They ordered a new boiler and tank, which was delivered first thing Friday morning.

“They had everything up and running for my daughter’s quarantine birthday — and worked for 8 hours straight to get the job done.”

That’s the Gault we know and love — serving Westport for 157 years!

Sweet P Bakery is a new nonprofit providing training and employment opportunities to adults with learning and developmental disabilities. Within weeks of Sweet P’s start, the program had to pause because of COVID-19.

But they came up with a way to help front line heroes and local food pantries and the adults with disabilities, all while delivering Sweet P treats and smiles to people staying home.

It’s called “Granola for Good.” For every donation to Sweet P, 50% to a granola delivery to a front line group or food pantry.

And for every donation, you can select a Sweet P treat: 8 gluten-free chocolate cookies, a 4-pack “Surprise S’more Kit,” or a bag of “Get Up and Granola.” There’s free delivery in Westport, Weston, Wilton, Fairfield and Norwalk.

The other half of the donation helps Sweet P staff stay in touch with students, via teaching videos and other virtual events. Click here to donate, and for more details.

There are not many planes in the sky these days. Tomorrow there will be.

A formation of US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds will honor first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by flying over this area.

Their flight begins at noon (Tuesday, April 28) in New York. The elite flight demonstration squadrons will soar over Newark, then across Long Island. Their projected path takes them over Stamford around 12:30 or so, before heading west.

With a little luck, they’ll pass over Westport. If they do, don’t forget to wave. (Hat tips: Andrea Pouliot, Peggy Lehn)

Seven years ago this month, Jim Naughton’s wife Pamela died of pancreatic cancer.

Through his efforts to raise research funds, the Weston actor has been very impressed with the Foley Foundation. They contribute to Norwalk Hospital’s Dr. Richard Frank’s clinical trial to find an early diagnosis. Right now, it’s too often discovered in stage 3 or 4.

Every year the Foley Foundation sponsors a Kentucky Derby Day event, with mint juleps, food and a best hat contest. This year, it will be run as a “Virtual Happy Hour.”

As honorary chair, Jim is participating in a webinar at 5 p.m. this Saturday, May 2 — the exact time the 2020 race was supposed to be run. He invites all interested “06880” readers to join. It should be a fun hour — and it benefits a very worthy cause. Click here to join.

Jim Naughton

And finally … Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati wrote “A Ray of Hope” in the days after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. Dark days are here again. But 52 years later, the Rascals’ words still ring true. I hope.