In the early 90s,  Manuela Young decided to leave her native Germany for a change of scenery and come to the U.S.    As did many young women from Europe, she took a one year assignment as an Au Pair.

After the year was up she stayed on in the states,  taught school in Stamford CT and then worked as a Dental Assistant for several years.

During that time, she began to raise her own family and put together her dream of having a cozy, little restaurant where people can step out of their busy lives for  few moments and travel back to the simpler times of the  “old days”.

You can visit Manuela, step back in time, enjoy old world atmosphere and some great food at Cafe Little Europa in Brookfield CT.

Don’t expect too much hustle-bustle,  the cafe is a small venue with a leisurely pace.  Manuela prepares all the food herself and brings generations of family pride and love to her recipes.

Some of the most popular offerings are classic Potato Pancakes, Goulash with Spaetzle, Jaeger Schnitzel, Swedish Meatballs, Sauerbraten and  Schlachtplatte (Pork Chop).    For those looking for something that might be more familiar to the suburban American palate she also prepares great salads, lasagna, Pasta Primavera along with an assortment of sandwiches.

The atmosphere is delightful, the food is spectacular.  And on Friday nights from 6PM until 9PM, you can listen to live Piano music.  You might even  recognize the piano player. I’ll give you a hint. He’s short, has gray hair, is a Realtor by day and likes to write blogs.

Cafe Little Europa is located at 457 Federal Road in Brookfield (about a mile past Costco as you head towards the center of Brookfield).  They can be found on the web at  www.CafeLittleEuropa.com If you’d like to call ahead for reservations (not a bad idea – especially on weekends) you can reach them during business hours at 203 740 2547.

They are open Wednesday through Sunday, serving lunch from 11:30 – 3:00 and dinner from 5:00 to 9:00.



One of Danbury’s newest eateries is not to be missed.

The Midtown Cafe, located directly across from the White Street campus of Western Connecticut University and opened in January of 2010 is already booming,and deservedly so.

In the words of one of the partners, Jason Cancro, the café is a “high-end burger joint”. For lack of a better description, I guess that would fit but it’s really a lot more.

With over 30 menu items, all cooked to order, Cancro along with partner Dan Serafini really seem to have nailed the recipe for what I predict will become a classic Danbury establishment.

Their signature “Midtown Burger” is just the right size with all the right fixings and is cooked along with most other hot sandwiches over an open flame on their charcoal pit. For burger lovers, like me, this is the only way to do it.

In addition to burgers and chicken sandwiches, just to name a few items,they also have a daily soup choice and a daily pizza choice. Even the pizza dough is smoked on the charcoal before it is topped and finished in the oven.

Cancro, a long-time Danbury resident was formerly in the deli business and Serafini was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Dutchess County, NY

Open every day for lunch and dinner they also serve breakfast daily except Sunday. Their selections include the traditional items in addition to serving Bagelman Bagels which are delivered fresh each morning.

One section of the “joint” is a lounge for reading, chatting, emailing or Tweeting using the free Wi-Fi. The lounge is also hosting coffee-house music one night a week.

If you’re anywhere in Danbury at meal time, it’s worth heading over to White Street to check this place out.

Midtown Cafe is located at 172 White Street Danbury (203) 791-1119.

This is a review of Cor’s Restaurant on West Street in Danbury from Melissa Bruen of the News-Times.   Melissa’s Blog, “What’s Bruen?”  covering the Danbury area social scene can be found HERE

Darryl Gregory

Darryl Gregory

One of the reasons that I admire Darryl Gregory I think, is because I’m a little bit envious.  Most of you who know me well, know that although I am very passionate about my own business – helping people through the muck and mire of the housing market – my first love has always been music.  Darryl has managed to capture the best of both worlds in that his love of music is also his livelihood.

For his “day job”, Darryl is a Middle School Music Teacher.  You gotta love teachers – especially music teachers. They not only pass their own musical knowledge to the next generation, they also somehow have learned to deal with the squeaks and toots of young musicians and not go absolutely nuts from it.

When not atDarryl Gregory  Blue Cave Studios School, you can usually find Darryl in his home-based studio — BLUE CAVE STUDIOS in Sandy Hook, CT.  He could be working on any number of projects. Blue Cave is a project studio that caters to just about anyone who wants to record anything.  Singer-songwriters who want to produce a marketable CD of their music,  Songwriters who need demos, Voice over tracks and Background music for films and web projects just to name a few examples.

The cool thing about working with Darryl is that he doesn’t just “rent time” – he works closely with clients providing whatever level of technical expertise and personal support they may need to produce the best possible project.

It’s not just musicians who need recording assistance, though.  Keeping pace with today’s businesses, another of Darryl’s projects is  EASY BUSINESS PODCAST. Here Darryl helps bloggers and Internet business folks with the creation, production and implementation of podcasts to help them get their own messages into cyberspace.

Speaking of podcasts, as an avid supporter of the Indie music scene, Darryl produces his own series of podcasted interviews he does with a wide array of independent musicians from around the world.  He hosts these on the website UNSIGNED UNDERGROUND. the 26th Episode was just added this past week – an interview with Singer/Songwriter John Batdorf.

For a little peek into Darryl’s thoughts on things, check out his Blog SLOW DRIP FROM AN EMPTY HEAD. You can also follow him on Twitter @darrylgregory which is actually where he and I first met.  For the ultimate experience of all things Darryl though, you need to listen to his own music.   You can find the hub at DarrylGregory.com

For live performances check his site and you’ll find a list of local gigs and you’ll have a link to his CDs.    In addition Darryl is available for House Concerts – a venue that has been growing in popularity throughout the indie music world.  It’s a great way to hear some wonderful music and share it with your friends.Darryl Gregory - SHE

Check him out – it’s worth the time.

When Bruce and Dana TreidelBruce and Dana Treidel first opened Bethel Music Center, I’d be surprised if they knew that it was to become the local institution that it is today.  A full service retailer of all things musical as well as the premier place in the area for instruction, they have become an active part of the community in Bethel and the surrounding areas.

Whether you’re looking to purchase a Violin, Clarinet, Cabasa (which is not a type of sausage, BTW), Euphonium, Guitar, PA, Reeds, Digital Piano, Trombone, Upright Bass, Lyre, Metronome, Print Music or anything else you can think of – they have it or they’ll get it.BMC Music Staff

If you are not exactly sure what it is you want to buy, the staff will help guide you through the options.  Personal service is what BMC is all about.

In addition to being a retailer, as I mentioned above – this is the place to go for instruction in just about any instrument you can think of.  Approximately 8000 lessons per year are given in their suite of instruction studios.

They’ve been doing this so successfully for such a long time that some of their students have become instructors, and their instructors over the years have become staff members.

Working closely with the local school system they also provide rental instruments for many budding young musiBethel Music Center 1st Chair Repaircians.  If you have an instrument that needs repair, BMC also provides high quality “1st Chair Repair”, with the work being done on premise personally by Bruce, or by one of his staff that he has trained.

In 2009, they celebrated their 25th year in Bethel.The store is located next to the Bethel Cinema at 273 Greenwood Avenue.  203.792.4304

Online they are at BMCMusicSource.com or follow them on Twitter @bethelmusiccent

GOTHAM AUTO WORKS – Auto Detailing Center

Making the world shine – one car at a time!

Gotham Auto Works, Danbury CT

Got $20?  Got $1,000?      Gotham Auto Works has something to offer.  From a simple but thorough Hand Car Wash to full Auto Detailing, pin-striping, headlight restoration or just about anything to make your car look and feel better,  Gotham does it.  “Anything your car needs to look better – right up to the point of needing a body shop”

Owner Kevin Awalt Gotham Auto Works Danbury CTKevin Awalt had been doing mobile Auto Detailing for several years when, about a year ago, he decided to open a permanent location in order to be able to serve his growing client list year round – regardless of the weather.  He opened his doors in 2008 at 9 South Street in Danbury, on the Bethel Line, just by the Railroad Crossing on Great Pasture Road.

A long time Danbury resident, Kevin’s love of cars is matched by his business sense.  Instead of just opening his doors and waiting for business, Kevin knows that to be successful, a business must become a contributing member of the community.

As part of this effort , he has provided needed car washing supplies to a number of local fund-raisers in an effort to help make the community a little better.

One of the cool things about the shop is that because the location is a former auto dealership, instead of garage doors, the work floor is accessed through a set of glass doors, so good weather or bad weatheFront doors at Gotham Auto Worksr, you can stop by and see the Gotham team in action.  It’s one of the cleanest shops I’ve ever been in.

Always looking to bring his clients the latest and greatest, Kevin recently added high-end Hüper Optik® nano-ceramic window tinting into his product line.  “Expensive,” Kevin adds, “but worth the money“.   Stop by the shop for more details.

CAMARO DAY, 2009

Special events and promotions are another way that Gotham Auto Works differentiates itself.  Here is a photo from last month’s Camaro Day.

Camaro Day at Gotahm Auto Works Danbury CT

For an appointment or questions reach out to Gotham Auto Works:

Telephone: 203.885.1070

E-Mail:  GothamAuto@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter and  Facebook

BELARDINELLI TIRE COMPANY, Bethel CT.

Belardinelli Tire main shot

In 1961 Tulio Belardinelli opened the doors at Belardinelli Tire Company. 48 years later, he’s still there. Which, by today’s standards is really saying a lot.  Local residents have come to rely on Belardinelli Tire Company not just for their tires. People come to Belardinelli’s for all their automotive repairs from oil changes and tune-ups to emissions inspections.

For Tulio, it’s more than just a business – it’s a family enterprise. Tulio’s daughter, Lisa Belardinelli Taylor is the company’s Business Manager working along side her husband Mike, who is General Manager.

Almost any time you drop by you’ll see the members of the Belardinelli team either consulting with clients in the office or working in the bays doing the various maintenance and repairs that keep Bethel’s cars running well.

Mike and Lisa Taylor at Belardinelli Tire Company

Carrying on a family tradition

The third generation is also on board now with Tulio’s Grandson Jared Matthews working as a Sales Associate.  This multi-generational idea is good news for Bethel drivers.  It means that Belardinelli Tire Company is going to be around for a while.

Belardinelli Tire Company is located at 7 Beach Street on the corner of Greenwood Avenue, just across from the Bethel Cinema.

They are open Mon – Fri from 7:30 to 5:30 and Saturday from 7:30 to 12:00.   Their phone number is (203)748-0889.