This is the second in a Two-Part Series
Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Café co-owners Robin Marvin and Paul Osakwe are the type of hosts whose dinner invitations would be coveted if they had time to entertain. In any event, all guests of the Green Leaf Bakery and Café are greeted warmly and indulged.
The name "bakery and café" may be something a misnomer. The establishment, on 126 Old Ridgefield Rd., just opposite the Wilton Library, is a full-fledged restaurant with waiters, wine glasses and a BYOB policy with no corking fee.
Marvin and Osakwe are absolutely passionate about their business. They are perfectionists on every level. From sourcing organic ingredients, fresh local produce and coffee to the way the muffins and pastries are displayed and garnishes artfully arranged, attention to detail is key.
The pair – who worked together for years before breaking out on their own – make it look easy, but their hours are long. Seven days a week, Osakwe arrives at midnight – 2:00am if he's running late. He has a break on Sundays when an apprentice covers part of his shift.
Asked when he sleeps, Osakwe, married father of three who commutes from Norwalk replied, "When my kids let me."
Green Leaf in Wilton has spacious tables, coffee, muffins, croissants, French pastries, free copies of the New York Times and free wifi. They present all food on china plates, and serve drinks in real coffee mugs and glasses. There is no mistaking Green Leaf for Starbucks.
And while Marving and Osakwe don't advertise and are limited by the town to just a single placard along the sidewalk, word of mouth has worked in their favor. Even though the restaurant entrance is at the back of the building, parking is ample, and the restaurant is spacious.
As a result of their success, Marvin and Osakwe have expanded. They have a Friday through Sunday satellite in South Norwalk at SoNo Marketplace and another location in Norwalk at 40 Cross St., in "The Medical Center."
Osakwe explained how he and Marvin strive to be organic wherever possible.
"We're not 100% organic. More like 85%. For example, we don't use organic chocolate because it's simply too expensive. Also, I was going to change meat vendors because we wanted to be grass fed, free-range and non GMO," said Osakwe. "But our butcher said buying grass fed, non-anabolic, non GMO meat was better than buying organic meat if it's not grass fed." Organic beef is not necessarily grass fed and may still be beef raised in factory farms.
The cofffee, however, is both fair trade and organic. "Our butter, eggs, sugar, four and walnuts are as well," said Osakwe. That is significant in an operation that goes through 72 lbs. of butter a week.
There are three Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Cafe locations. All the food is prepared in Wilton.
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- Wilton. 126 Old Ridgefield Rd., opposite the Wilton Library. Email: Info@GreenLeafOrganicBakery.com Tel. (203) 529-3888
Hours: Monday - Friday, 6:30am to 6:00pm
Saturday, 7:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday, 7:00am to 5:00pm
- Norwalk. 40 Cross Street. In the main lobby of the Medical Center.
Monday-Friday, 7:00am - 4:00pm.
- South Norwalk. SoNo Marketplace, 314 Wilson Ave., Friday-Sunday, 10:00am - 6:00pm.