A 180-year-old historic Wilton building may soon become home to a brand new cafe and restaurant next spring. The developer of Sharp Hill Square at 200 Danbury Rd. has filed a special permit application with the town asking officials to allow a cafe/restaurant to open on the first floor of the historic Raymond-Morehouse Building on the property.
The proprietor hoping to open the cafe is Felipe Pelaez, who owns Tazza Cafe on Main St. in Ridgefield. His Wilton restaurant will be a new concept aptly called “Nova Cafe,” melding a business that Pelaez knows well with what he hopes will feel like a very community-oriented destination.
“It will be definitely very similar in the operation, maybe a few different products but very similar with high quality coffee, high quality products, with everything prepared on the premises. Freshness is main for me, healthy breakfast and lunch,” he told GOOD Morning Wilton.
Pelaez said what makes it unique will be the location. “That beautiful historical house and being able to do something in [it] that also brings a lot into the space, and will make it a little bit different from Tazza.”
The adaptive reuse of the historic Raymond-Morehouse structure was part of the reason the Sharp Hill Square project received unanimous approval in 2020. The mixed-use development has seen an anchor tenant — Wilton Hardware — move into one large retail space and many of the residential units are leased as well. Nova Cafe would be the second commercial tenant if approved.
The first public hearing on the application is scheduled for the upcoming Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Monday, Jan. 9.
Bob Jewell is the attorney from Donnelly McNamara & Gustafson, PC that represents 200 Danbury Rd. developer Patrick Downend and will be handling the special permit application in front of P&Z. He agreed with Paelaez that a cafe is a perfect option for adaptive reuse of the property and that the community will approve.
“If you’re going to show off adaptive use, there’s no better way than to invite them in for a cup of coffee,” Jewell said.
Pelaez said he was really excited to be locating his next venture in Wilton.
“I have a lot of customers from Wilton. I’m very, very familiar with Wilton. I have supported and sponsored events in the schools, and I have kids that that work with Tazza from Wilton. They always tell me, ‘You should offer some something in Wilton.’ I think Wilton is very similar in the community, like Ridgefield, and, you know it’s just so community oriented, which is what I love the most about Wilton,” he said, adding, “This spot is perfect.”
Monday’s P&Z meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is available to view live on Zoom.