John Barricelli ’80, SoNo Baking Company and Café
John Barricelli had a vision: to offer simple, delicious food in a homey atmosphere. His dream became reality in 2005, when he opened the doors to the SoNo Baking Company and Café. Located in the vibrant SoNo (South Norwalk) district of Norwalk, CT, the bakery café offers everything from artisan breads and French-style pastries to soups and sandwiches. Customers are encouraged to sit back with a bite to eat and a cup of specialty coffee and watch the action in the open kitchen and bakery. It’s all part of that original vision. “When people leave the bakery café, I want them to feel that they’ve been fed well, at a good price point, in an inviting atmosphere.”
The bakery café concept seems tailor-made for John—he’s both a CIA culinary arts graduate and a third-generation baker who follow the time-honored traditions of his grandfather and great-grandfather. “Having a bakery café gives you a chance to be more well-rounded,” John says. “It’s also an opportunity to further your bread line, to turn a beautiful croissant into a meal.” And John’s products are beautiful inside and out. “We are purists,” he says. “All of our products are from scratch, all with butter or vegetable oil—no trans fats. Our philosophy is that using the best, highest-quality ingredients will yield the best results.”
That approach to food has been fine-tuned over John’s many years in the industry, from such high-profile New York restaurants as The River Café and The Water Club to his first bakery café venture, Cousin John’s Café and Bakery, to Martha Stewart Living (MSL) Productions. John’s eight years working in production for Ms. Stewart’s TV show (as well as appearing on the program himself) led to his other current job, hosting Everyday Baking from Everyday Food. The popular PBS television show and MSL production offers recipes, tips, and solutions for the time-pressed home cook.
John knows a little something about being busy himself. Along with taping the television show and running SoNo Baking Company, he’s adding a gelato shop to the bakery café. How does he do it? Hard work, 14-hour days…and, oh yes, that vision thing.