Workers were busy Monday getting the SoNo Baking Company's newest location ready for its grand opening at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The 44 Church Lane site was most recently occupied by Java, a coffee shop that closed its doors last December after less than a year in business.

"We're very excited about opening here," John Barricelli, SoNo Baking Company owner, said Monday. Barricelli, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, owns two other bakery/cafes -- one at 101 Water St. in Norwalk, the other on Tokeneke Road in Darien. There is also a SoNo retail outlet here at 1680 Post Road East.

While it will carry most of the fare featured at the main shop in Norwalk, no baking will take place at the Church Lane location, Barricelli said. "It will be primarily a café," he noted.

The layout is basically the same as when Java occupied the space, with an open seating area and the kitchen located behind the main counter.

But the décor has been changed and there are new tables and furnishings and, on one wall, a number of cookbooks on baking, written by Barricelli, whose initial vision in opening a bakery was to create artisan breads, French-style pastries and specialty cakes.

Barricelli said the Westport café will offer breakfast and lunch, as well as light fare offered after 3 p.m.

The lunch menu includes sandwiches and paninis, like the Cubano with slow-roasted pork, ham and Swiss cheese on Swiss egg bread. There will also be salads and soups, including butternut squash and a dairy-free clam chowder.

He said he looks forward to welcoming customers. "There's a great downtown scene here and lots of people walking around," he said. He noted that, although people express concern about parking, the municipal Baldwin parking lot is only a few steps up the street.

Barricelli said the Westport café will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. "As the weather gets better, there will be seating outside," he added.

For more information, visit www.sonobaking.com.