After a full-house debut on July 30, Italian restaurant Cielo has officially filled the space at 142 Old Ridgefield Road left void by Luca Ristorante Italiano in May.
Cielo — meaning “sky” in Italian — is decorated with cloudscapes and features curtainless windows that allow natural light to permeate the dining room.
“We wanted it to have a more airy, open and modern feel,” said Emi Basaran, who opened the restaurant together with her husband, Hakan.
Hakan has had almost every job in the restaurant business, from cleaning and busing tables to cooking and managing.
Before opening his own restaurants with Emi, he managed Nello, an Italian restaurant on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He also reopened the Oak Bar at the landmark Plaza Hotel and Le Caprice at the Pierre Hotel.
Hakan and Emi opened Carpe Diem in New York City in 2010 and relocated it to Emi’s hometown of New Canaan in December 2011.
While working in New Canaan, the couple also opened and later sold the tapas restaurant, Picador.
Both New Canaan restaurants received favorable reviews from the New York Times. Carpe Diem earned a “good” rating, while Picador earned a “very good” one.
But unfortunately for Hakan and Emi, and some would say for the town of New Canaan’s restaurant scene, the landlord who leased the space for Carpe Diem decided to sell the building, now to become the new New Canaan post office.
Having already sold the successful Picador, the Basarans were in the market for a new location.
Emi had known about Wilton because she played against its teams in soccer when she was growing up.
With Luca recently vacated and the couple living on North Wilton Road just eight minutes away, relocating to Wilton Center made perfect sense, Emi said.
Hakan and Emi also share a love for Wilton’s “small-town feeling,” making the decision to move even easier.
“It’s a small community,” said Emi, “but they support their local businesses. When new businesses pop up, they show their support. They’re very outgoing, I must say.”
“People in Wilton love going out to eat,” Hakan added. “They love having nice restaurants in their town, and it’s exciting to be here.”