Back to school also means back to after-school activities – and less time for preparing nutritious meals for your family. If you’re tired of pizza and Chinese and looking for a healthier take-out option we’ve found your go-to spot in a rather unlikely location – the Wilton train station. Tucked into the station house just off Route 7, Vintage Salsa & Rotisserie offers California-style Mexican food and rotisserie chickens with an emphasis on fresh flavors that are enhanced with owner Tony Tecce’s homemade “Vintage” brand salsas.
Tecce, a restaurant veteran, had owned Mexican and Italian restaurants in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, before relocating to Wilton several years ago. At the time, affordable restaurant space was scarce, but on his daily commute from Wilton to Greenwich, he made an observation that would prove fruitful -the Wilton train station building was empty and an ideal space for a small take-out joint. He applied to be its next tenant.
If you’re familiar with the commuter trains, you know that they frequently run on their own schedule (delays and cancellations abound!), and working with the D.O.T. to convert a train station into a small restaurant is no different. The entire process of applying for the permit to opening the restaurant took nearly five years!
Meanwhile, Tecce couldn’t stay out of the kitchen – he began experimenting with salsa recipes. Like most parents, Tecce and his wife, Tiffany were attempting to get their kids to eat more fresh veggies and salsa is often the perfect conduit – healthy veggies disguised as a snack! But they hit a roadblock – the kids didn’t like “chunky” salsa. Like any good chef, he changed his recipe to appeal to his customer’s palates – and created a smooth, pureed salsa that his kids, and everyone who tried it adored. He noted that each batch had different notes based on the type of peppers he used, where they were grown, and how well the flavors “married” after the salsa had been prepared – just like a fine wine. Thus the name Vintage Salsa was coined.
And like wine, it takes time to craft. “Each batch develops differently because of the different flavors of the peppers,” Tecce explained, “it’s a two to three day process to make just one batch.”
In 2011, the Tecces rented space in the Silvermine Tavern building in Norwalk, and started to bottle his creations and they hit the market in local favorites; the Village Market, Anconas, and, eventually, into 13 stores locally and in New York.
Last year, after months of renovation, the restaurant was finally opened. Today, Vintage Salsa is exclusively found at Vintage Salsa and Rotisserie and adds that special kick to Tecce’s mildly spiced burritos, tacos, faquitos (his take on taquitos). Many of the peppers he uses in his products come directly from local sources, including Wilton’s Millstone Farm. “Right now we’re getting purple cayenne, white Havasau, and purple Thai, along with organic Serrano from Millstone and making some limited edition salsas.” Tecce said.
Tecce’s salsas range from super-mild to what he describes as, ‘pain” – a triple habanero for those who like to pack a lot of heat – and are the perfect condiment for his CalMex food. For those unfamiliar with CalMex, it’s a pared down version of typical Mexican – no gloppy cheese or sauces – only clean, simple food that allows the real flavors to come through.
“We created a place where we would want to go, reasonably priced, fresh, and pure – with a West Coast mentality,” Tecce explained.
Oh, and dude, they deliver!
Vintage Salsa and Rotisserie – 7 Station Road, Wilton, 203-957-3200
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