Darien Lifestyle Inaugural Local Love Awards 2023


We’re thrilled to present the inaugural Local Love Award winners!

From small locally owned stores to luxury auto, professional organizers to family lawyers, each winner was chosen by YOU, our amazing and delightful readers. Not by a software program, not by throwing darts, and not by a small group of opinionated people cloistered in a soundproof room.

Congratulations to all who won!

Best Nonprofit Event: The Community Fund of Darien,, 30 Old Kings Highway South, Darien, CT 06820, @communityfunddarien; This event raised money for basic needs and community programs in Stamford, Norwalk, and Darien. 

Best Attorney: Melissa Needle, Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law, 830 Post Road E. Ste. 301 Westport, CT 06880,; A boutique divorce and family law firm that provides savvy and experienced guidance to move lives forward.

Best Men's Fashion and Best Women's Fashion: Darien Sport Shop, 1127 Post Rd Darien, CT 06820,, @dariensportshop; A family owned landmark for over 75 years the Sport Shop is a Fairfield county destination with contemporary collections for men's, women's, kids and a heritage of sporting accessories.

Best Interior Designer: KH Home Design, @khhomedesign; Award-Winning Designs - Exceeding your imagination with our personalized design, crafted exclusively for you.

Best Local Influencer and Best Local Podcast: "Nina's Got Good News",, @ninabclarke; Nina B. Clarke is an Emmy-award winning journalist,  She is a storyteller at heart after working in TV news for 15 years. Nina is the founder and host of "Nina's Got Good News" Podcast available on all podcast platforms.  She is also a popular lifestyle blogger and brand influencer.  Nina lives in coastal Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Best Fitness Studio: Pure Barre Darien Pure Barre is a full-body workout that transforms you physically and mentally. Our musically driven group classes focus on low-impact, high-intensity movements that strengthen and tone your body in 50 minutes or less. 1958 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 203-309-5690 @purebarredarien

Best Home Decor & Furnishing and Best Kept Secret: Smart Playrooms, Smart Playrooms, Rye, NY 10580,, @smartplayrooms; As the Founder and CEO of Smart Playrooms, Karri Bowen-Poole has spent the last 10 years revolutionizing the way children learn and play with her innovative and educational playroom design services.

Best Acupuncture: Darizen, 688 Boston Post Rd Darien, CT 06820,, @darizenspa; Designed with attention to detail in mind, the Darizen Acupuncture and Spa is guided by their belief in the natural rhythm of the five elements, in addition to the philosophy of wabi-sabi. Their treatments are organic, with ingredients from sustainable farms to create a natural and Biodynamic treatment. The techniques and products used during their treatments are designed to meet each of their clients’ individual needs.

Best Full Service Salon and Best Blow Dry: The Vault, 12 Burtis Avenue New Canaan, CT 06840,, @nicole_strachan_hair; New Canaan hair salon specializing in bespoke haircuts & color, Invisible Bead Extensions, luxury blowdries & styling.

Best Event Dresses: Helen Ainson, 15 Corbin Dr Suite 105,, @helenainson; Helen Ainson offers a one-stop-shopping experience for any of your special occasions or every-day needs.

Best Yoga Studio: Sama Yoga Center, 45 Grove Street New Canaan, CT 06840,, @samayogacenter, @fitnessgururebekah; Sama Yoga Center is a retreat-like Yoga Studio and Training Academy, with a  meditation garden, floor to ceiling windows, outdoor yoga space and radiant heated floors, so that students move seamlessly from outdoor to indoor classes with a beautiful view. Sama’s commitment to connection, tradition, and mastery won them Best of the Gold Coast 2021 & 22.

Best Event Planner: A Perfect Little Plan, New Canaan, CT, @APerfectLittlePlan; A Perfect Little Plan is a Connecticut based event planning company. Because each event is unique, each plan is developed specifically for each client based on their vision. 

Best Meal Delivery: Kinney Lane Foods, 31 Vitti Street, New Canaan, @kinneylanefoods; Kinney Lane connects local families to local farms and chefs by delivering restaurant quality, healthy meals to be enjoyed at home. They deliver weekly to Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Westport.

Best Caterer and Best Gourmet Grocery: Palmer's Market, 264 Heights Road, Darien CT,, @palmersmarket; Palmer's brings a team of passionate event professionals devoted to creating an unforgettable experience.

Best Family Business: Heights Pizza Company, 882 Post Rd Darien, CT 06820,; Heights Pizza Company honors the tradition of Nick Criscuolo’s fine Italian cuisine. After over 50 years, their Italian restaurant still follows the same recipes Nick introduced to Stamford, CT in 1969. All of their food is made from the freshest ingredients. Their menu includes classic Italian entrees, pasta, sandwiches, chicken wings and over 20 specialty pizzas.

Best Lobster: Rowayton Seafood, 89 Rowayton Ave Norwalk, CT 06853,, @rowaytonseafood; The Staff at Rowayton Seafood are family and offer five star service, always. The team has grown over the years in their responsibilities and as the business continues to expand, the staff is offered new opportunities.

Best Custom Home Builder: Arena Development,

Best Architect: Michael Cusato,

Best Medical Spa: Andrew Stefanou Salon & Medi Spa,

Best Day Spa: Williams & Co.,

Best Dentist: Dr. Bill Fessler,

Best Jeweler: David Harvey,

Best Brunch: Rosie,

Best Florist: Nielsen's Florist And Garden Shop,

Best Ice Cream Shop: Gofer Ice Cream,

Best Bakery: Flour Water Salt Bread,

Best New Restaurant (opened in 2022): La Taqueria,

Best Custom Pool Designer: Wagner Pools,

Best Art Gallery: Geary Gallery,

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