Stillanos Pikos has gone from watching stock prices fall on Wall Street to watching cakes rise in the ovens at Fusion Bakery & Patisserie. The bakery owner—who is originally from the Greek island of Rhodes—found his original career in finance to be less than fulfilling. After resisting the urge to follow in the footsteps of his family's food business, Pikos decided to enroll in the Connecticut Culinary School. He worked at an exclusive hotel restaurant before assisting friends with their bakeries, which gave rise to the development of Fusion Bakery & Patisserie. Jeff Mill of The Middletown Press notes that the name represents "a combination of European and American desserts,” and that the establishment "is a throwback to a time not so long ago when every town had a bakery, and often more than one."
Pikos and fellow pastry chef Jen McGuinness bake cinnamon rolls, brownies, danishes, baklava, and scones from scratch every morning. They prepare decadent wedding and specialty cakes, including The Very Best Carrot Cake with cream-cheese frosting and optional nuts. As reported by Cassandra Day of Middletown Patch, the bakery ran a "Where's Ginger?" holiday promotion in which patrons guessed the location of a gingerbread man shown in photos around town to win a free pound of cookies and a year of icing-based vinyl siding repairs.
Sanremo Bakery conquers appetites with traditional Italian dishes and pastries. The family-owned business opens at 7 a.m. every day of the week, powering up morning customers with its breakfast pizza composed of eggs, home fries, bacon, and cheddar. Chefs prepare more than 10 other specialty pizzas for lunch and dinner, as well as pasta trays of lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and ravioli that are large enough to feed 15–25 people or one Italian lumberjack.
Jitters Café deftly intermixes locally grown, organic ingredients whenever possible to fill empty stomachs with a toothsome menu of soups, salads, and baked goods. Lavish neglected spice yens with a pungent bowl of veggie or meat chili flanked with stacks of crispy tortilla chips ($3.75/cup, $5.75/bowl), or spoon up savory destiny with a cup of the rotating soup of the day ($3.50/cup, $5.50/bowl). A vitamin-kissed mixed greens and spinach salad laced with candied walnuts, grape tomatoes, and judicious sprinkles of feta cheese ($6.75) hones jaw muscles and rabbit impressions. Guests can opt to eschew greenery entirely for the primal chew of cheese, pepperoni, or veggie pizza by the slice ($4–$5). Congo lines of freshly whipped desserts fill sweet teeth with bites of strawberry-topped cheesecake ($5.50), vegan cookies ($2.50), and frosty glasses of ice-cream-kissed frozen coffee ($3.50).
Alexandra and Romeo fell in love in France over cups of flour and sugar as Romeo completed his professional boulanger and patissier training. Today, the couple recreates quintessential French flavors in their West Hartford bakery-café, where the menu kicks off with breakfasts of pain au chocolat and almond croissants. For lunch, chefs build sandwiches such as Le Brie with cheese and butter, and the Eiffel, whose roasted chicken breast, carrots, and cucumber stands 324 meters tall. Desserts such as macarons and chocolate-hazelnut mousse cake pair with a cappuccino or café au lait to round out each meal.
La Petite France also rolls out its portable crepe cart to special events throughout the area, where French-speaking chefs (upon request) whip up sweet or savory crepes for parties of 20 or more.
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.