Those with a sweet tooth and coffee connoisseurs, Stamford's newest small business is looking to satisfy both your cravings at the same time, and reviews have been nothing but positive.
Lorca is the latest delicious stop in Stamford's busy downtown at 125 Bedford Street, and it specializes in coffee, pastries and churros, a Spanish treat close to the heart of owner Lela Dam and a highlight of the shop.
"I grew up in Spain before moving to Darien, but I live in Stamford now," said Dam. "All my family lives [in Spain.] I went there and stayed with my aunt and uncle for a month to learn how to make churros. The first thing we always do going to visit is find a churro shop and get sick on them. I wanted to help people do the same thing here."
Dam, 27, is a former architect who designed things like Dogmatic burger shop in Union Square, NY, but found herself struggling in the field and not having a great time. Those are not ideal characteristics for a lifelong career, and she got out to chase her dream.
"[During the recession,] I saw a lot of parents of friends losing their jobs at the end of their careers and decided to get out and do something on my own," Dam said. "I wasn't doing well in the field, I graduated in 2008, and I thought, 'I'll decide on my own whether or not I'll continue to have a job.'"
Dam said the move was the best she's ever made, and she now gets to wake up every day and work hard to keep herself employed at her "dream job," making everything in her shop by hand except the croissants. Cookies, pastries, churros, coffee and the entire range of caffeinated derivatives. She also employs five part-time workers.
"I get to bake, make coffee and talk to people all day." Dam said. "I see people all the time who are not-so-happy with their job in life. I love baking and I threw myself into the nerdiness that is coffee."
Dam said she spent—and still spends—an exorbitant amount of time working on discovering and maintaining the perfect cup of coffee, something that is as great a passion to her now as any of her baking skills.
"I must have gone through 10 iterations of chocolate chip cookies," Dam said, "But there's nothing like having your first good black cup of coffee. It's like wine, and your first one opens up the flood gates. You go crazy for it. I think about it all the time, about how can I brew a better cup, because you're always in pursuit of a better cup."
Seth Leifer, one of the owners of Station Eats, an exemplary burger bar in Stamford, stops in to Lorca regularly and said the grub is one-of-a-kind.
"There's nothing like it, not just in Stamford, but in the burbs," Leifer said. "Their specialty is Spanish desserts and I've been coming in since they opened. There's nothing like it and that's what makes it so addicting. It's top notch."
Lorca is opened Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.