The most buzzed-about business opening of the year has finally happened–Craft14 Kitchen + Bar, the new restaurant from Bianco Rosso owners Mario Lopez and Cristina Ramirez, is officially open. The husband and wife duo describes the spot as a “polished-casual New American neighborhood restaurant with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, hardwood grilling, craft cocktails and beers.”

The restaurant is located in the Stop and Shop Plaza at 5 River Rd., and in such a visible spot that it was understandably something that caught Wilton’s eye during the last several months as they built out the interiors. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the restaurant since Lopez dropped the GOOD news about opening his second restaurant in town–GOOD Morning Wilton readers even helped name the place with our survey. In the past week or two, Facebook and social media were filled with posts from residents wondering when Craft14 would open.

Even with the success of Bianco Rosso and his other eateries, Lopez tells us that he was anxious about how this new venture would be received. Like many restaurateurs, Lopez had a soft open last week to get his new front of house and kitchen staff warmed up, and to test the menu items. A lucky few diners who heard Craft was open and serving food jumped at the chance to try it out.

Clearly, the couple’s experience shines through, as from the first day they started seating customers the reviews have been positive. The menu is creative and simple, with items ranging from comfort food–three (!) types of macaroni and cheese, delicious burgers, fish tacos, and fried chicken and waffles–to playful takes on new favorites–seared tuna roll, salmon burger, pork chop schnitzel, beet salad and truffle fries. And so much more.

Lopez says the menu will showcase seasonal ingredients and the service and atmosphere is meant to echo what Bianco Rosso has become well known for–friendly and lively, and familiar.

What also helps is that the restaurant is beautifully decorated. Ramirez personally oversaw every element, from the 180-year-old reclaimed wood paneling the ceiling–which she designed board by board as it was installed–to the live edged wood slab bar countertop and decor, to the ironwork details. The charming back wall is painted to look like chalkboard with a mural of fun sayings and motifs. It’s a stylish addition to Wilton’s dining scene.

Right now the restaurant is open Mondays-Saturdays; eventually, says Ramirez, they’ll open on Sundays as well as soon as they put the finishing touches on the brunch menu they’re developing. But no doubt whenever Craft 14’s doors are open, Wiltonians will be enjoying it!

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