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.
DIY desserts are the main order of business at Planet Swirl, an intergalactic-themed fro-yo shop that features 21 different flavors each day and 80 types of toppings. The yogurts sate cravings with vibrant flavors, and the nondairy fruit sorbets contain no fat or bad vibes from bummed-out cows. Some are also sugar- and gluten-free. As part of its perennial dessert repertoire, Planet Swirl showcases signature flavors such as strawberry shortcake, caramel apple, piña colada, and peanut butter cup to sweet-seeking audiences.
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).
Bridge Street Live offers a bevy of entertainment options in an inviting art-deco setting. On October 1, former subway musician Lipbone Redding will purse his namesake to produce wave after wave of brassless trombone sound. Nicknamed the "Human Sweet Box," Redding delivers a unique brand of jazz, blues, jam, and soul. Warm up your laughbox for Comedy Night on October 8, which features DJ Hazard, a founding member of the infamous Ding Ho Club. Also taking the stage is Moody McCarthy, who has been known to craft jokes out of whatever material is most abundant, be it wood, soap, thin air, or overweight air. The third available show, on October 9, sees traditions of Charlie Parker fused with the electric style of Miles Davis to create the distinctive sounds produced by the Isaac Young Quartet. Witness an enjoyable evening of bass lines and completely unsquare jams.