MERIDEN — Huxley’s Bookmark Cafe is getting close to opening a new cafe across the street from its current East Main Street location.
The new location at 1376 East Main St. is expected to open in April, assistant manager Angela Klonaras, sister of owner Dimitrios Klonaras, said Monday.
The popular breakfast and lunch eatery, known for the shelves of books ornamenting its dining area, will start a new chapter in a building originally intended for a sports bar.
The newly-constructed location is 4,750 square feet — nearly double the size of Huxley’s current 2,500-square-foot space at 1333 E. Main St. — and is considered an upgrade from the current building, which was built in 1955 and is in need of repairs. The additional space will allow for more seating and parking, Dimitrios Klonaras said in 2017 in announcing he purchased the building for $300,000.
Dimitrios Klonaras, who wasn’t available for comment Monday, bought the building in 2017 after Skybox Bar & Grill failed to open due to financial issues. At the time of the purchase, the building’s exterior was completed, but some interior tasks, including plumbing and electrical work, hadn’t been done.
Klonaras’ current space was built in 1955 and is in needs of repairs and upgrades, including parking.
On Monday, contractors worked inside the new building installing tiling. City Planner Renata Bertotti said the business is getting close to being ready to apply for a certificate of occupancy from the city’s Building Department. After receiving a certificate, the restaurant will be able to open as soon as they are ready.
Dimitrios Klonaras told the Record-Journal in 2017 that he intends to keep the cafe’s same book and literature theme at the new location, but said it will offer an expanded menu and coffee options. The cafe currently offers traditional breakfast options and for lunch serves salad, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.
The new Huxley’s opening is poised to happen around same time that Taino Smokehouse Prime is expected to open next door at 1388 E. Main St. after years of construction and anticipation among locals. The smokehouse plans to “open fully” on March 26, it announced Saturday on Facebook.
Bertotti said restaurants historically benefit from being in close proximity to other restaurants, so she envisions Huxley’s and Taino “mutually benefiting” from each other.
On the other side of the new Huxley’s location, work has begun to construct a new Ion Bank at 1336 E. Main St. Plans originally called for the bank building to be 10,000-square-foot and include two stories, but the site plan was later revised to a 7,500-square-foot, one-story building with 31 parking spaces.
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