An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jul 18, 2013
01:22 PM
The Connecticut Table

55 Wine Bar & Restaurant Offers Bold Italian Fare in Fairfield

55 Wine Bar & Restaurant Offers Bold Italian Fare in Fairfield

Mike Lauterborn

Lobster papardelle, a signature plate at 55, features lobster, white shrimp, sun dried tomato puree, shallots and garlic.

Since its opening in 2008, 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant has rushed past any caution signs to bring Fairfield bold Italian cuisine big on freshness and largely homemade, setting off sirens that keep diners coming back for more.

Fairfield County Life recently pulled aside 55 partner Vicente Siguenza for a Q&A about his background, 55’s establishment and signature menu items that have allowed the restaurant to speed forward with success.

Thirty-eight-year-old Siguenza was born and raised in Ecuador and emigrated to the U.S. at 18, landing a busboy job in a Wilton restaurant. He rose through the ranks there, serving as a food runner, waiter then maitre’d, all the while observing restaurant operations from the inside.

“I recognized that every staff position is important and each relies on each other, like a family,” he said.

At 22, Siguenza took a spot as a bartender at Barcelona in South Norwalk. Four years later, he went over to DaPietro’s in Westport. “That was a wise move,” said Siguenza. “I got great knowledge on wines, food and service. It was the segue to opening my first restaurant, Cava in New Canaan, in 2004, with my younger brother Kleber. The concept for that restaurant, which we still operate today, was Italian, with homemade pasta, fish and pizza.”

Spring ahead four more years to 2008 and Siguenza was opening 55, at 55 Miller Street in Downtown Fairfield, in a space once occupied by Molino’s restaurant. “We spent 11 months doing renovation,” he said. “There was a cargo train, which was Larry’s Diner, on the street side, which we removed to create an outdoor patio. Inside, we did a lot of cosmetic work and moved the bar from one floor to a lower level. We wanted an open, friendly floor plan and environment with mahogany hardwood floors, very large windows, long flowing drapes and a bar area with mosaic floor tiles and brick bar back.”

Entertainment was also a goal and, now, 55 offers live music every Friday and a DJ every Saturday.

As to the food concept, Siguenza wanted to mimic Cava, which had been a successful formula.

Vicente Siguenza is one of five partners at 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant, which opened in 2008 and has become a popular in-town dining and entertainment destination.

See the full Fairfield County Life story.

 

 

55 Wine Bar & Restaurant Offers Bold Italian Fare in Fairfield

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