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A health food grab-and-go opens on Forest Street in New Canaan

NEW CANAAN — The ribbon was cut Monday in front of Green & Tonic for the opening of the new business that Gabriel Sorgi said “focuses on a healthy grab-and-go lifestyle.”

Green & Tonic offers a cuisine that is gluten-free, vegan, organic, non-GMO and revolves around “clean eating.” But Sorgi, president of the company, said Green & Tonic emphasizes taste.“We lead with flavor and textures,” he said of the new location at 21 Forest Street.

The menu includes salads, wraps, soups, smoothies, sweets, cold-pressed juices, nutritional meal programs and detox cleanse programs.

“What we really do is make delicious products that just happen to be healthy,” Sorgi, a former chef for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said. “We don’t put anything on the shelves that doesn’t taste great.”

The company, owned by Palm Ventures, opened its sixth location with a “superfoods-powered menu” across from the dance studio.

The new store is two blocks away from its previous location at 5 Burtis Ave., which was closed during the pandemic. When the store reopened, “we wanted to have a nicer presence and a bigger location,” Sorgi said.

The new location has a cooking area that enables the eatery to test new products, which will be consumed in its other five locations as well. “I couldn’t do that in the old location,” Sorgi, said.

Green & Tonic also has stores in Darien, Westport, Cos Cob, Fairfield and Rye Brook, N.Y.

“This is our second store we opened just recently this year,” Sorgi said.

Green & Tonic was founded in 2011 by Jeffrey and Cai Pandolfino, with the first eatery under the same name in Darien. The brand was purchased by Palm Foods in 2019, which boasts experience in healthy food service and already had a health food eatery under its umbrella with MYX Creative Kitchen in Greenwich.

“We took over the company in 2019 and kind of revitalized and made it more relevant,” Sorgi said.

He plans to have the business continue to evolve. “We have a whole line of other products that we’re testing here during the year,” Sorgi said. In December and January, he plans to offer a gluten free and vegan breakfast. “We’re talking delicious.”

Sorgi has been in the food business since he was 15 years old. He studied at the Institute of America in New York City and was promoted to director of restaurant operations for the museum before coming to Green & Tonic, he said.

At Green & Tonic, “we rolled out a whole line of gluten free and very low sugar donuts,” Sorgi said.

Most items are peanut free, with few exceptions. “We don’t cook with them. We try to stay away from peanuts, but we use other nuts,” Sorgi explained.

“The chamber is thrilled to see a new business open and take the place of Embody,” which was located in that spot before, Executive Director of New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Laura Budd said. “Green & Tonic has a great reputation in town for delicious products” and “we’re really proud that they selected New Canaan.”

The current location is one that Baldanza Restaurant once planned to occupy.

“We always wanted to be back and open in New Canaan, the (previous) store had done well.” Sorgi said.

Most of the team members said they were healthier eaters because of their jobs. One said she chose to do social media for the business to promote healthy eating.

“I work for this company because it’s making a difference in the community’s health,” Green & Tonic’s social media professional Pauline DiGorgio said. “It’s making a difference in the community’s lifestyle. I enjoy spreading the word and spreading awareness on social media to help build the brand: Make America healthier.”