Tag Archives: Target Training

Targeting An Empty Strip Mall

Target Training has closed its retail outlet on the Post Road. They plan to concentrate on their fitness workout business, on the 2nd floor.

So — with the departure of Great Cakes next door, and until the arrival of Grilled Cheese Eatery — the entire lower level of 772 Post Road East is now empty.

Target Training

Grilled Cheese Goes Upscale — And Comes To Town

You know the saying: One door closes, another opens.

Well, sometimes it’s right next door.

Though Great Cakes ended its 32-year run on Sunday, that small Post Road East strip mall will soon see a new tenant.

The Grilled Cheese Eatery grills its first cheese in a couple of weeks. It’s the 2nd location; the 1st opened last October, in Fairfield.

Henri and Ivanina Donneaux

Henri and Ivanina Donneaux

It’s the brainchild of Henri and Ivanina Donneaux. He’s a French-born chef, who’s lived in the US for over 25 years. She’s Bulgarian, with a long career in food and beverages.

They married 8 years ago and opened Cafe Lola, in Fairfield. They imagined it as a “quirky, fun” French bistro. But gradually the clientele skewed older.

In their mid-40s, with a 3-year-old, they began talking about a place where adults could enjoy sophisticated food, but at the same time be casual enough for kids and teenagers.

“Who doesn’t like grilled cheese?” Ivanina asks.

With the current trend in restaurants to 1-food menus, that hit the spot.

The menu ranges from the classic grilled cheese...

The menu ranges from the classic grilled cheese…

The Eatery does not do grilled cheese like Friendly’s. There are 15 varieties, including “The Smoky” (smoked Gouda, Muenster, baby back ribs, pickles, caramelized onions on sour dough), “The Gardener” (goat cheese, Fontina, 5 grilled vegetables, basil, olives on 9-grain) and “The Chesapeake” (crab cake, roasted peppers, Panko crisp, dill Havarti on English muffin).

There are 3 types of specialty fries (rosemary-parmesan, feta-oregano and Gruyere-truffle oil); several soups, and a create-your-own salad with over 40 ingredients.

All sandwiches can be ordered on gluten-free bread. At least 2 soups a day are dairy- and gluten-free. Even the French onion soup is vegan.

...to one with ribs and caramelized onions.

…to one with ribs and caramelized onions.

The Westport location will be smaller than Fairfield: 10 seats, and a stand-up ledge. There is no bar. Ivanina and Henri plan to do plenty of takeout and catering.

The Grilled Cheese Eatery seems to have thought of everything.

Including a perfect — no, genius — location.

Once you’ve finished that mac-and-cheese grilled cheese, the boneless hot wings grilled cheese, or any other variety, just walk out the door and up a few steps.

Target Training fitness center is waiting.

Targeting A Triathlon

Rick Spear once thought he’d be a doctor or lawyer.  But the lure of Wall Street was strong.  So in 1984, immediately after graduating from Stanford — where his thesis advisor was Condoleezza Rice — he started making serious money.

Eight years with Morgan Stanley was followed by a decade as a management consultant, advising financial services firms.

In 2003 — age 40 — Spear retired.

He’d always been a bicycle racer.  Now — with time on his hands — he vowed to improve.

Rick Spear

Out of that desire came Target Training.  Spear opened the Westport triathlon and cycling training center and retail store in 2005 as a way to “leverage knowledge of endurance sports to help people like me have healthier bodies.”

A 2nd site opened recently in Greenwich.

“Endurance for Life” is Target Training’s motto.  “You can’t fake being fit — running 5 miles, or biking 50 miles,” Spear says.

Target’s target audience is hard-working (and well-off) men and women.  They train hard.  And typically, as soon as they meet one goal, they look for a new challenge.

Here’s a big one.  This Sunday (June 19), Target Training sponsors its 1st-ever Sprint Triathlon.  The half-mile swim, 13-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run begins and ends at Sherwood Island.  The middle portions takes racers through the Green’s Farms  and Compo neighborhoods.

A portion of the proceeds goes to Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Cancer Care pediatrics department.  It is a cause dear to Spear’s heart.

In its half-decade in Westport, Target Training has been closely involved with community activities.  They sponsor, or work with, the Young Woman’s League Minute Man race, Andy Boas’s Charter Oak Challenge Foundation bike tour, Sound Cyclists and  ABC House.

This month’s triathlon builds on the training Target is known for.  It’s not only cyclists and runners who flock to the center next to Great Cakes — swimmers also work out under the Target banner at the Staples and Longshore and Norwalk Y pools, as well as Compo and Sherwood Island.

On Sunday, Spear will help out — not compete.  “I’m a bike racer, not a triathlete,” he says.   But, he adds — like the competitor he was on Wall Street, and remains today — “I win my share.”

(For more information on Target Training’s Sprint Triathlon, click here.)