ABOVE: Alvino Villa and his daughter celebrate the opening of Casa Villa’s second location in Stamford.
NEW CASA VILLA: 886 EAST MAIN STREET, STAMFORD
Casa Villa is one of my favorite things about Stamford.
It’s been an island of solace in times of homesickness. It’s provided me with holiday meals, lunch breaks and more than a few tacos al pastor. It’s unquestionably my neighborhood favorite.
While the little restaurant on West Main Street will always be a special place for me, I eagerly awaited the opening of their second location in Stamford, this one on the East Side.
I’d ask owner Alvino Villa when the new restaurant would be ready and for months the answer was always “two more weeks.”
Alvino was sweating the details — and for good reason — he’s owned restaurants for long time but we wanted this one to be special.
Casa Villa has a loyal following across a broad spectrum of Stamford’s residents and this is their time to shine. The food is always going to be good, but the new location is Casa Villa’s chance to step out street-corner taqueria mold.
When they opened last Monday, I was happy to be one of the first customers. I found Alvino inside with his family and a few employees, most of whom were doting on the lone diner. It was the first night and everybody seemed excited — Alvino was beaming, showing friends and family around the new digs. He fiddles around with the lights for a while, taking down the pendant lights a touch until it wast just right.
Inside it’s modern and dramatically lit. Mexican-themed, but subtle. In many ways, it feels a world away from the original location on the West Side.
The front of the restaurant features a few high, round tables with a view of the counter and kitchen, the main seating area is around the corner.
The menu is almost identical (the biggest difference is inclusion of alcohol), so regulars and new comers alike will not be disappointed.
But the best news is that the prices are are so ridiculously reasonable. I haven’t made a side-by-side comparison of the menus, but for all the bonuses (off-street parking, full table service, beer, etc.) the prices are only marginally higher than I’m used to at Casa Villa.
Since opening night, I’ve been back twice and will probably stop in again this week. I can’t get enough.