New Norwalk Marketplace To Mix Shopping, Dining

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An artist's rendering shows what the indoor dining area of the SoNo Marketplace in Norwalk will look like. Photo Credit: Courtesy of John Palino
The SoNo Marketplace in Norwalk will feature outdoor booths to host a farmers' market. Photo Credit: Courtesy of John Palino
The SoNo Marketplace in Norwalk will have stalls set up for local merchants and artisans. Photo Credit: Courtesy of John Palino
A an outside view of what the SoNo Marketplace will look like from its location on Wilson Avenue in Norwalk. Photo Credit: Courtesy of John Palino

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk developer Joe Grasso had planned to open an indoor flea market in the Wilson Cove area. But after he brought in restaurateur John Palino from New Zealand, his plan evolved into an urban market with shops, dining and a farmers' market.

The SoNo Marketplace, which will open in September, is inspired by markets that Palino has enjoyed in New Zealand, where he hosts the popular television show “The Kitchen Job.”

“It will be a place where you can sit for a few hours, read the paper, have a coffee and if you need something, you can do some shopping,” said Palino, who originally hails from New Jersey. “It will have all the little things people need, all in one place.”

The market will have about 50 vendors including places for brunch, fish-and-chips, artisan meats and cheeses, baked goods, coffee, Italian food, jewelry, a blacksmith, a potter, a masseuse and possibly rock climbing. There will be space outside for a farmers' market, and soon he envisions opening the waterfront area for activities such as kayaking.

The site will also host events such as cooking classes, guest chefs, musicians and seasonal festivals, Palino said. On weekday nights, large family-style Italian feasts will be served, he said.

“We’ll have a long table in here that seats about 60 people, and they’ll all eat together,” he said. “It’ll be a chance for people to join together and have a great time, where everybody shares.”

Grasso has owned the property for 18 years and believes the market will attract tourists. They are planning for a trolley car that could bring people to the market.

“I feel like it’s really going to turn the area around, especially since we’ll also have the SoNo Ice House right across the street,” Grasso said.

Development on the marketplace has been under way for the past six months, and Palino said a big event is planned for the opening. SoNo Marketplace is located at 314 Wilson Ave.

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Diane C2:

I can't wait for them to open!!! We need these types of destination/experience shopping venues and it will be a breath of fresh air from the impersonal big box stores. I'm often heard muttering that I'd rather have a root canal than shop, but this diverse market featuring events will even get me there often.
I hope they'll be a good corporate neighbor, and I already envision "An Evening at MarketPlace" for charitable fundraisers; interacive kids programs; really fun seasonal and holiday events, along with special themes (singles night??). SONO Marketplace will liven up the area and maybe encourage a whole new development area!
(PS: hope they'll also be a good neighbor when it comes to sound, lighting and signage, too, though!)

Andrea Light:

This is really exciting and I pray we can get sufficient volume of visitors! Norwalk is truly developing desirable destinations and activities for tourists; it's time for synergy to take effect.

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