Here’s a look at some intriguing new places that joined the Connecticut dining scene recently, from brand-new names to new locations by existing favorites. 

La Joya, Simsbury

Daniel Stevens, an avid surfer who was most recently the executive chef at Sayulita in South Glastonbury, brings nearly two decades of experience with Mexican and Southwestern flavors to his new spot. La Joya opened in late October and offers snacks like guacamole, chile con queso and ceviche, along with burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and fajitas. Tacos and tamales are crafted with fillings like duck carnitas, carne asada, sweet chili shrimp and citrus pork belly. 834 Hopmeadow St., 860-217-0229, lajoyamexican.com, @lajoyamexican

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The Rainbow Connection at Sundae Funday, with vanilla ice cream, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms and marshmallow sauce on a birthday cake flavored cone.

Sundae Funday, Oxford

Just a few months after the Sundae Funday bus debuted in Shelton, the operation found a permanent storefront home. Ice cream creations feature chocolate and vanilla blended to order, with customers’ choice of mix-ins and toppings. With the expanded space they’re able to offer a larger menu, which includes milkshakes and flavored cones. 248 Oxford Road, 203-828-6272, sundaefundayicecream.wordpress.com, @sundaefundayct

Salute, Rocky Hill

This downtown Hartford mainstay expanded to the suburbs in late October and brought along many of its signature dishes (yes, including the “already famous” garlic cheese bread, sweet potato ravioli appetizer and rose pasta with sausage and mushroom). Pastas, fish and beef dishes round out the dinner menu, including a variety of grilled steaks and sides. 377 Cromwell Ave., 860-372-4545, saluterockyhill.com, @saluterockyhill

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Green & Tonic’s newest location opened Nov. 29, offering a full menu of plant-based, gluten-free offerings.

Green & Tonic, New Canaan

The plant-based eatery continues its spread through Fairfield County, adding a new location to existing spots in Cos Cob, Darien, Fairfield and Westport. Enjoy smoothies and acai bowls, collard green wraps, soups, leafy green salads, cold-pressed juices and “pastries and power snacks” made with gluten-free flours. New breakfast sandwiches are made with house-baked gluten-free focaccia, egg and cheese alternatives, avocado and optional “Beyond” plant-based sausage. 21 Forest St., 203-594-1851, greenandtonic.com, @greenandtonic

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Lucky Taco’s new Vernon location offers its signature fusion-style tacos, burritos and quesadillas, with fillings like kung pao chicken (pictured), island jerk pork, Nashville hot fried chicken and Korean brisket with kimchi.

Lucky Taco, Vernon

Lucky Taco’s second restaurant opened in mid-November, offering fast-casual counter service, beer and margaritas. Like its Manchester flagship, the Vernon menu features creative fusion-style tacos, burritos and quesadillas, with fillings like kung pao chicken, island jerk pork, Nashville hot fried chicken and Korean brisket with kimchi. 81 East St., 860-454-4791, luckytacoct.com, @luckytacoct

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Mystic Market’s menu features fresh sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, coffee and gourmet meals, all made in house with locally sourced ingredients.

Mystic Market, Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket)

The gourmet kitchen and eatery, with four locations along the Connecticut coastline, opened its fifth at Foxwoods Resort Casino in November. Located on the concourse in the Great Cedar Hotel, it offers fresh sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, coffee and gourmet meals to go, all made in house with locally sourced ingredients. The Foxwoods location also has a retail component, with items like olive oils, vinegars and spices. 350 Trolley Line Blvd., mysticmarket.com, @mysticmarketct

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ATC South St. is a new taco bar by the owners of @ the Corner in Litchfield, next door to the gastropub.

ATC South St., Litchfield

The team behind @ the Corner opened ATC South St. in mid-November, focusing on tacos with proteins like Tajín-braised chicken thigh, mojo-braised pulled pork and chipotle-marinated skirt steak; small plates (passion fruit ceviche, pepita-crusted goat cheese croquettes, tamales) and desserts, including Nutella-filled churros and a tres leches cake with popped candy corn and key lime syrup. Cocktails highlight spirits like tequila, rum, mezcal and Litchfield Distillery’s own vanilla bourbon with tropical flavors. 3 West St., 860-567-8882, atcsouthst.com, @atcsouthst

Smoke Public House, West Hartford

Promising “eclectic food for eclectic people,” Rich Sinclair’s new restaurant took over the former Beachland Smoke barbecue restaurant on Park Road. The new spot features nods to barbecue, with smoked brisket, chicken and rib sandwiches and dinners, but sets itself apart with dishes like Korean kimbap, smoked shrimp tacos, crispy squid and prawns, and a cheese board and cocktails presented under a smoke-filled dome. 140 Park Road, 860-772-0077, smokepublichouse.com, @smoke_public_house 

Leeanne Griffin is the food and consumer reporter for Hearst Connecticut, handling coverage of restaurant openings and closings, trends, events and general news about Connecticut food and beverage businesses.

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