STAMFORD, Conn. -- Farnaz Jarmatz -- most folks call her FaFar -- is fulfilling her dream by recently talking ownership of FreshCo. Bagel Shop & Locally Sourced Eatery in Stamford.
"It's been something I've wanted for a long time," said the White Plains, N.Y., resident who has long wanted to create a community-minded cafe where people can eat good food, socialize and feel comfortable.
She and her husband had been searching a while for the "right" place so when this opportunity came along -- she took over FreshCo. a month ago -- it felt right. "It's honestly a lot about the landlord," she said. "So many places the landlord was horrible. Here, the landlord is great."
The Belltown Road location, while a bit off the beaten track, is also good, explained Jarmatz, because of its neighborhood walkability.
"A lot of young families live here and I like that they can walk here and grab a bite," she said.
On the menu: a wide assortment of creative paninis, create-your-own salads, sandwiches and bagels, though Jarmatz is slowly adding warm lunches such as lasagna and chicken and rice, which she cooks herself.
Though not a trained chef, she loves to cook and has been doing so since she was 13. A photo of her grandmother -- her first cooking teacher -- hangs on a wall behind the counter.
Jarmatz admits she's playing with the menu and experimenting with the cafe's hours. For now, FreshCo. is open for breakfast and lunch only but starting this weekend, she will stay open longer, until 7 p.m. on Saturdays instead of shutting the doors at 4 p.m. and until 4 p.m. on Sundays, rather than 2 p.m.
She is also hoping -- down the road -- to add wine and beer, along with adding a cozy sofa to the front of the shop (there's free WiFi after all) and, come warm weather, tables and chairs outside.
Already she's added a cheery atmosphere with fresh flowers lining the windowsills and tables along with free candy hearts and candy corn for Valentine's Day.
A few months from now, when she's more settled in, she'd like to change FreshCo.'s name to Cafe Joon, which is Persian for "dear."
What won't change: the eatery's commitment to sourcing locally and seasonally. She relies on Fairfield-based Village Bagels and Connecticut's Deep River chips, among others.
"Everything here is made with a lot of care and love," she stressed.
FreshCo is at 22 Belltown Rd., 203-276-1790.