SOUTHINGTON — The new owner of Formaggio Apizza plans to remodel the Meriden Avenue restaurant, change the name, and increase marketing.
Brad Brandon, a Burlington resident, will take over the restaurant on Dec. 5 from Norine Derocco, who also owns Goldroc Diner in West Hartford. He’s changing the name to The Twisted Oak, an American pizza house.
“It’s going to be specialty pizzas, dessert pizzas, and things along those lines,” Brandon said.
For the next month, the dining room will be closed for renovation, but take-out and delivery will still be available, according to chef Ace Memeti. He’ll be staying with the restaurant and was glad about the prospect of a facelift for the property.
“Our product is definitely there. All the place needs is a little TLC and a chance for people to step in and see what the new place is going to look like,” Memeti said.
Formaggio has won best pizza in Southington three times and Memeti has competed at the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.
Brandon said he’ll be improving the building’s exterior next year, adding picnic tables and lawn games and hosting movie nights. Twisted Oak will have a family-friendly atmosphere and specials appealing to families looking for a night out.
Brandon said his wife and eight children will all help with the business.
The location on Meriden Avenue poses some challenges. The restaurant isn’t near other businesses and isn’t on the town’s most heavily-trafficked road. But Brandon said he’ll draw customers with coupon mailers to area residents and mobile phone app-based advertising. Marketing and improvements to the property can overcome problems with the location.
“It’s a diamond in the rough,” he said. “There’s so much potential.”