Olive oil and vinegar store joins Stamford culinary scene
STAMFORD — Gastronomes descend daily on the thriving restaurant row on Bedford Street. Now, the thoroughfare has a new retailer catering to their meals at home.
Opened last month, Stagecoach Olive Oil & Vinegar Co., at 180 Bedford St., sells more than 60 varieties of olive oils and vinegars. Owner Rick Doyle, a former restaurateur in New York City and Las Vegas, sees the downtown location as ideal for tapping into the area’s substantial number of food-loving customers.
“I went to one of these types of stores about seven years ago, and I just fell in love with it,” Doyle said in an interview earlier this month at his store. “Since I was in the restaurant business, this was a good fit for me.”
Doyle touts the freshness of Stagecoach’s merchandise. He imports cubes of olive oil from countries such as Chile, Greece, Italy and Spain. The cubes are kept cold and protected from the sunlight in Italian-made “fusti” stainless steel canisters. Doyle then bottles the olive oil from the frustis.
“Always the goal is to deliver the freshest olive oil that a human can find anywhere,” Doyle said. “There are natural olive oils with different (flavor) hints. Some have grassy flavors, some have green tomato flavors, and some have a peppery finish.”
He equally praises Stagecoach’s vinegars, which come from Italy.
“The 18-year-aged (balsamic) will knock your socks off, but the 25-year-aged is just a little bit more special,” Doyle said. “The vinegars come from grapes. After they make wine, what’s left are the casings of the grape. That’s where the vinegar comes from.”
Doyle encourages customers to try all his products. He sets out plates and a jar of sliced bread for samplings.
“The best part about this store is you can taste everything,” Doyle said. “There is an unlimited amount of combinations people can try.”
Stagecoach Olive Oil & Vinegar Co., located at 180 Bedford St., is open seven days a week. Its hours are:
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A website, www.stagecoacholive.com, is scheduled to launch within the next few weeks. For more information about the store, call 203-323-6046.
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which can have a number of health benefits, including helping to lower the risk of heart disease.
“MUFAs have been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In addition, some research shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be helpful if you have or are at risk of type 2 diabetes,” Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky wrote on the clinic’s site. “But even healthier fats like olive oil are high in calories, so use them in moderation.”
Stagecoach’s most popular sellers so far are four-packs of 2-ounce bottles, which sell for $24.99 each. Patrons can pick which flavors of olive oils and vinegars go in the packs.
Non-olive oil and vinegar products include Italian-made gnocchi dough dumplings and bourbon-infused maple syrup.
“When you talk about olive oils, no one just goes home and drinks olive oil,” Doyle said. “Usually, you pair it with something. Put it on a salad, with pasta, and it’s great.”
Stagecoach’s name references Stamford’s 19th-century status as a key layover for stagecoaches transporting products including olive oil.
Starting in a quiet season for downtown retailers, Doyle expects the approximately 700-square-foot store to be fully stocked by May. Stagecoach’s full line will also include salts from France, Italy, Hawaii and the Himalayan region and jellies, jams and honey from Connecticut farmlands.
To support the expanded operations, Doyle plans to hire a few employees in the spring.
“It’s a little village here inside of a big city,” Doyle said. “Everyone is so friendly. And in the summertime, with all the restaurants and bars, is when people will come.”
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