Three years after his last restaurant venture in Stamford, Par Shakiban has made a comeback in the city.
The veteran restaurateur opened the Patisserie Salzburg bakery-cafe on Nov. 1, at 10 Harbor Point Road, in the Harbor Point neighborhood of the city’s South End, joining two Salzburg locations in Westchester County, N.Y. Shakiban knows Stamford well, having previously owned Eclisse, an Italian restaurant that was in business from 1990 to 2015, at 700 Canal St., a mile away from his new establishment.
“I had a great experience being in Stamford for 25 years,” Shakiban said in an interview last week at the new Salzburg. “I wanted to continue my presence and bring in a different concept that would satisfy the general need of the area.”
n addition to cafe staples including coffee and hot chocolate, Salzburg serves breakfast, lunch and dinner plates and a range of baked goods.
“We are continuously expanding our menus and our special items,” Shakiban said. “We are specializing in fresh pastries, in the style of Europe, and baked goods, savories, salads and entrees … Our product is of high quality.”
Shakiban originally targeted an opening last spring, but the construction and approval of the sewer connection for the approximately 2,000-square-foot establishment delayed the launch.
The postponement has not hurt business at the 30-seat eatery. In its first two weeks, Salzburg has already seen brisk business from neighboring workers and residents.
“I knew them from Rye, N.Y., and I thought we needed a cafe just like the one they have there,” said Harbor Point resident Renee Drummond. “The food is good, and it’s high quality. You can have a meal or just stop to take a break. I come here for everything.”
Salzburg, which employs about 15 in Stamford, joins a bustling dining row on Harbor Point Road. Other eateries on the street include Bareburger, Coffee Spot, Fortina, Mexicue, Saltbar and Sign of the Whale.
“For the most part, we expected quite a bit of seasonality, with a busy summer and then a quieter period after summer wound down,” said Thomas Kelly, co-founder and president of Mexicue, whose restaurant at 15 Harbor Point Road opened in February. “Overall, we’re feeling great about the reception and how the Stamford community has embraced us.”
About 7 miles east, another Salzburg cafe is under construction in the Rowayton section of Norwalk. That location, at 162 Rowayton Ave., is scheduled to open early next year.
“I’ve always been an advocate of expanding in the local areas and serving the people within the approximately 10-mile radius,” Shakiban said. “For that reason, we can cover both ends of Fairfield County.”
Salzburg’s name refers to the Austrian hometown of Shakiban’s business partner Manfred Hirz. He received formal training in baking in Salzburg, before immigrating to the U.S. in 1980. He worked in a number of kitchens and restaurants in New York City, opening his first business in 1986 in Armonk, N.Y., where he met Shakiban.
The now-closed Armonk establishment ran for about 12 years. Salzburg’s current Westchester County locations have operated for 24 years in Rye, and eight years in Scarsdale. Shakiban and Hirz plan to sell the Scarsdale location.
In the past 50 years, Shakiban has owned and operated a number of other restaurants in Westchester County and Long Island. A native of Tehran, Iran, he now lives in Bedford, N.Y.
“There are three components in operating and locating a restaurant,” he said. “No. 1 is location, No. 2 is the quality of food. No. 3 is service management. And ambiance plays a role in the success of the operation.”