SOUTHINGTON — Winter is approaching and Cava Restaurant is making changes to accommodate COVID guidelines while maintaining its holiday decorations.
Construction is underway on a 30 by 90 foot temporary enclosed building replacing the tent used this summer. The building is expected to be ready by the end of October.
“We are hoping to be able to seat the capacity that will bring us up to the 75 percent capacity,” said Cava manager Tony Papahristou. “This will also give us more space. Some tables are going to be even greater than six feet apart for safety.”
Cava, 1615 West St., will also be seating in the indoor dining area, which reopened October 1 and on the rooftop until it closes in November.
The 2,700 square foot temporary building will be able to seat almost twice as many as the indoor dining area. The Christmas Winter Spectacular that Cava is known for will still make an appearance this year.
Since Cava’s opening in 2008, the holiday lights and decorations has attracted diners from around New England. Papahristou said this year’s display is inspired by the movie “The Polar Express.”
In the center of the temporary building, will be a custom-made 40 foot train modeled after the train in the movie. Inside, there will be a special area for guests who have received the “golden ticket” to sit and eat.
“With all the decorations inside, it’s going to transform you into a different world,” Papahristou said. “The train is going to be in the middle with twenty Christmas trees surrounding it to create a winter forest.”
Plans are also underway to expand the restaurant in spring. The manager said they are unsure if they want to add on to the existing building or create an entirely new building on the property next to the restaurant.
In June, Cava added about 60 parking spaces and plans to add more by next spring.
Southington’s Planning and Zoning commission has a few concerns with the restaurant’s application for the expansion.
“It goes against what we wanted West Street to be and we’re trying to lessen the amount of businesses next to each other,” commissioner Peter Santiago said at a meeting on Sept 15.
As of October 6, the restaurant has asked for a 65 day continuation and will go before the board again on December 1.
“We want to be able to accommodate more customers,” Papahristou said about their reasons for wanting to expand. “That also gives us more room for storage and decorations. The more space we have, we can put on a more spectacular show.”