SOUTHINGTON — The owner of Townline Pizza plans to reopen Jan. 2 after repairing damage caused by a fire in August.
LuleMarkokaj, owner of the restaurant at 1660 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, said there are just a few inspections and minor work to finish before the New Year. Customers appear eager for the reopening, she said. After getting her phones working again, she found she had 120 messages.
“We have people stopping here, they reach out on Facebook,” Markokaj said.
Allison Sova, a restaurant patron and friend who lives nearby, said the food attracts customers from Southington, Wolcott and Cheshire.
“She is an amazing cook of all cuisines,” Sova said. “I go there for every holiday, every wedding, every whatever.”
“(The reopening) will be so good for her, so good for the local area,” Sova said.
A delivery driver spotted smoke coming from the building and reported the night fire in August. There were no injuries.
The kitchen was damaged by the fire and smoke caused damage throughout the restaurant.
Markokaj immigrated from Albania 20 years ago with her husband and three children. She was working in a factory when she had an accident that resulted in the loss of two fingers. Unable to continue working at the factory, she bought Townline Pizza.
“When she bought it, (the business) was really dying,” Sova said.
After improvements to the building, Markokaj said she was able to bring in new customers and turn the business around. She runs the restaurant with her son and daughter-in-law.
Once reopened, Townline Pizza will keep nearly all its old menu items.
The months of renovations have been stressful for Markokaj according to Sova, but that the business owner is “one very strong woman.”
“She’s held it together,” Sova said.