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With focus on fresh food, market to open in Noank

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Groton — Amy Sarcia's Buddhist faith teaches that coincidence means you're on the right path, and so a few events leading up to the opening of her new market in Noank seemed auspicious.

There was the discovery that her landlord at the 17 Pearl St. site, Steve Jones, had written a book about her great-uncle, Capt. Lawrence Malloy. Then there was the synchronicity with which she and chef Andrew Fine thought of a name for the market.

Settling on No Anchor Fine Food & Provisions arose from thinking about the epithet for the locals: Noankers.

"We love that term, but we didn't want to use that, so No Anchor fits in perfectly," Sarcia said, "and also it's kind of symbolic that with no anchor, you can go wherever you want to go."

No Anchor will carry fresh produce, meat, seafood and dairy, along with prepared foods. Sarcia, who also owns 2Wives Brick Oven Pizza in New London, is aiming to open No Anchor this weekend. She can "pretty much guarantee" that the store will be selling groceries by the weekend but isn't positive about the timeline for prepared foods.

She expects the summer hours to be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

"I really think the key to success here is to be a full grocer," Sarcia said. She added that Noank residents "need to know they have their place to come to get their milk, eggs and bread, and not necessarily just a grinder."

Since Sherman's Market closed at 17 Pearl St., the closest grocery store options for Noank residents have been the Big Y locations on Route 1 in Groton and Mystic, each more than four miles away.

After opening in October 2015, Sherman's Market closed last fall following a storm — the same reason Universal Food Store had for closing at the same location after being in business from 1947 to 2011. In between, from May 2012 to August 2015, 17 Pearl St. was the home of Noank Community Market, a co-op.

When Sarcia heard the space was open, she "couldn't pass up the opportunity." While she is from Mystic, her family grew up in Noank, and the everybody-knows-everybody vibe was evident in Sarcia's mother knowing many people who attended the open house for No Anchor this past weekend.

She also saw longtime locals getting to know new locals while sitting at the long community table, a part of their lease that they can't remove — nor do they want to.

Sarcia knew Fine from working under him in catering. After seven years as chef at Mystic Seaport, he opened Vanity, a restaurant and nightclub in New Haven. Sarcia popped in to see him, and they started talking about opening the market in Noank.

Fine will make grinders, fresh salads and daily dinner specials.

Sarcia will be working with the Rhode Island-based wholesaler Belmont Market, which works with a lot of local farms. Seafood will come from Sea Well Seafood in Stonington, and shellfish from the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative.

Sarcia said she also is trying to work with Sankow's Beaver Brook Farm in Old Lyme and Cato Corner Farm in Colchester.

"We take our food very seriously," Sarcia said of herself and Fine. "Our friends laugh at us ... about how passionately we talk about food."

She also hopes to "do more than just be the local grocer" by holding community events, such as cooking classes or a movie night.


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