Owners of Stamford’s Taco Daddy announce plans for Cugine’s, an Italian restaurant in Harbor Point

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Stamford restaurateurs John and Morgan Nealon, who own and operate the popular Taco Daddy on Towne Street, are planning a new Italian restaurant, to open later this spring.

Cugine’s Italian will open in the Harbor Point district in Stamford’s South End with what the Nealons call “alluring, well-plated Italian cuisine,” refined cocktails and an extensive wine list.

Cugine’s will take the place of the Nealons’ Lila Rose, a tapas and cocktails spot that opened next door to Taco Daddy in September 2020. 

Taco Daddy’s eclectic Stamford space.
Taco Daddy’s eclectic Stamford space.Winter Caplanson

“Our goal with Cugine’s is to offer not only Harbor Point, but Fairfield County as a whole, an entirely new Italian dining experience,” John Nealon said in a statement. “This sophisticated restaurant will invite our guests to take a step back in time and dine in the era of Frank Sinatra, with dark interiors and furniture, beautiful soft mood lighting, a period playlist and classic Italian cuisine.” 

Morgan Nealon said Cugine’s will offer a chef-driven menu featuring local ingredients and products from Fairfield County.


“While offering the vibe of an exclusive speakeasy, Cugine’s will be comfortable, invite a warm opportunity for people to connect with one another over exquisite and beautiful food, and be reminiscent of a classic dining experience in a renowned New York City Italian restaurant,” she said in a statement.

Lila Rose closed on May 8, the Nealons said.

“It offered the escape that we all needed for the last two years, but we are excited to open the doors for this entirely revamped and unique concept,” Morgan Nealon said.

Cugine’s, at 121 Towne Street, will be open Friday through Sunday for dinner service, expanding to offer brunch soon after. Follow updates on Instagram at @cuginesitalian.



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