FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Chef Gino Riccio may have created the popular Quattro Pazzi, but there’s nothing crazy about his latest restaurant venture.
Riccio, who has gained a reputation as one of the “four crazies” behind Quattro Pazzi in Fairfield and Stamford, said his new Organika Kitchen of Fairfield was born of customers’ desire to choose from a cleaner menu.
“My wife has been a vegetarian for 30 years, and we always wanted to do something for us and also for the neighbors,” said the Italian-born restaurateur.
Organika Kitchen, which held its official ribbon-cutting this week, features a plant-based menu that’s organic, vegan and gluten- and GMO-free. From smoothies and salads to pasta, bread, pizza and desserts, everything is made fresh and in house, Riccio said.
Ingredients in the build-your-own salad bar are locally sourced from a farm in Lebanon, Conn., and Easton’s own Sport Hill Farm. Staffers also scour local farmers markets for tomatoes and other local fresh options.
With more than 20 years in the restaurant business — he also owns Fish in Stamford and recently sold the former Osiana in Fairfield — Riccio believes his new place speak to customers’ interest in fresh, healthy foods.
“I think because, number one, it’s organic,” he said. “And the other thing is to support the locals.”
Riccio is rolling out Organika in two phases. Now, customers can pop in for a quick bite or a meal to go. In the future, he hopes to offer delivery service.
Riccio’s wife, Kathy, provided the inspiration for much of the menu, including a ban on refined sugar.
“Sugar’s a killer,” he said.
Instead, Organika’s lunch and dinner menus run the gamut from falafel and tabouli salad and veggie pita wraps to orange-scented olive oil pancakes and house-made granola. The shop cold presses a full line of juices, whirs up a number of smoothies and offers delectable soups.
“We studied the menu for a long time so we could get it right,” said Riccio, who noted he wanted to space to be bright and airy to reflect the cuisine. “It makes you feel good when you walk into this place.”
Organika Kitchen is located at 3546 Post Road in the Southport section of Fairfield. It is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More information is available on its Facebook page .
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