My Fit Mommy owner and director Mary Damato is passionate about giving moms a place to get fit while they spend quality time with their kids. A mother of three herself, she saw a need for a laid-back, mom-focused workout space, where moms could interact with other adults while still participating in an intense workout. Each outdoor, boot-camp-style class is led by a certified instructor and focuses on burning calories through circuit training and toning the body using small weights.
Visitors to YoBamba Cafe can sate a whole smattering of cravings, and whether it's for something sweet or savory—it's always healthy. Following the motto "Eat well, grow strong," the menu lists small portions of healthful noodles, seafood, and soups that make up Japanese-inspired "compositions." Additionally, a dozen flavors of frozen yogurt are at the ready daily, and a toppings bar houses 48 kinds of edible accessories to jazz up sweet snacks.
Situated inside Darien Ice Rink, Behind the Net Snack Bar refuels skaters and hockey players fresh off the ice. Warmth emanates from the pizza oven, bubbling the housemade crust on thin New Haven–style pizza and thawing out the digits of frozen goalies. Scenes of hockey victories and placid snowscapes dot the walls, hovering over morning diners hoisting breakfast sandwiches and lunchtime visitors enjoying grilled burgers and hot dogs. The snack bar looks directly out to the rink, allowing guests to view circling couples and check out players as they eat.
The sauce-slingers at Papa John’s build their pies with fresh-dough crusts that are composed of high-protein flour and filtered water, hand tossed, and baked to a golden brown. Vine-ripened tomato sauce and specialty 100% mozzarella melts over extra large pizzas ($12) to which guests add toppings that range from locally sourced green peppers and onions to bacon and spicy italian sausage ($1 each). Patrons gape upward as a hawaiian-barbecue-chicken flying saucer hovers above the restaurant, beaming up all bacon, onions, grilled chicken, and pineapple within a five-mile radius ($16 for a large). Meanwhile, parmesan and garlic cling to breadsticks ($5.49), and honey-chipotle sauce lathers wings ($6.99/10-piece order). Icing drizzles the Cinnapie dessert ($4.99), whose twining of apple and cinnamon is sweeter than a kitten in sugar-coated footy pajamas.
As the heir apparent to three generations of cooks, Rose Foote’s decision to follow in their footsteps was no surprise. Her journey started when she worked at her parent’s restaurant at the age of 9, and it continued in 1995 with her catering service, and, eventually, a culinary tour throughout Tuscany. All of these influences can be found in her inventive breakfast, lunch, and brunch menus at Bella’s Café—Rose describes the resulting theme as “European roots with contemporary flair.” An illustrative example is the eggplant ciabatta, a unity of grilled eggplant, fire-roasted red peppers, gooey melted mozzarella, and spicy arrabbiatta sauce.
The food isn’t the only aspect of Bella’s Café that blends a classic European aesthetic with contemporary influences—the décor adheres to that theme. Burnt yellow hues give the walls a rustic look, and framed prints and paintings remind guests that they don’t have to sculpt their French toast into a bust of Napoleon playing with his food to see beautiful art.