MERIDEN — The owner of a New London deli and a local convenience store is reopening the former NY Deli & KK Chicken at Meriden Commons I on State Street.
Taha Altareb is planning a soft opening under the new name H&T Deli and is keeping the Krispy Krunchy fried chicken franchise. The deli has seating that overlooks the Meriden Green and is steps away from the Meriden Train Station. H&T stands for “Hot & Tasty.”
“Meriden needs a nice deli,” Altareb said. “People are looking to find something quick, easy and clean.”
The former owner of the NY Deli closed the business in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Altareb, who knows the former owner, bought the business from him and negotiated a new lease with building owner Pennrose Properties.
Altareb plans to offer Boar’s Head deli meats, a variety of cheeses, sandwiches, salads, drinks and smoothies, along with the KK Chicken, to customers who live in the apartments upstairs, work nearby or travel to the green.
“It’s a great spot,” Altareb said.
Pennrose Properties regional Vice President Charlie Adams said his company purchased tables and chairs in May for the former owner to allow outdoor dining. The owner informed Adams they were selling the business and sometime later Adams learned Altareb was taking it over.
“We revised the lease to the new owner,” Adams aid. “We definitely want it back and are glad to see it reopen. We need it.”
The city’s downtown was struggling to fill vacancies before the pandemic. Many restaurants have moved to delivery and pick-up operations as well as outdoor seating to comply with public health regulations.
According to City Economic Development Director Joseph Feest, his office assisted owners with information on business assistance programs and provided personal protective equipment. Frosty Freezes on West Main Street, the Downtown Coffee Shop, Mr. Taco, and La Poblanita Grocery have remained open.
A new owner for the former Landmark Diner, now Mel’s Diner, hadn’t opened when the pandemic struck, but Feest believes the owners are still planning to open.
The Midstate Chamber of Commerce has also worked to assist small businesses. Chamber President Rosanne Ford praised their entrepreneurial spirit.
“Covid has forced all of us out of our comfort zones in so many areas,” Ford wrote in an e-mail. “Our local restaurants, eateries, delis, etc. are perfect examples, having become so creative in terms of social media marketing, revising menus and operating schedules that work best for them, and their bottom line. I look forward to meeting the new owner of the NY Deli & Krispy Krunchy Chicken and wish them all the best in reopening.”
The $52 million Meriden Commons I and II projects, with 150 apartment units and 5,400 square feet of commercial space, were completed two years ago. To assist the first commercial tenant, Pennrose redesigned part of the space.
In addition to the New London deli and convenience store, Altareb owns and operates the H&T Mini Mart, a convenience store and gas station at the corner of Cook Avenue and Hanover Street.
“The lease says he’s opening in October, but if it’s sooner, that’s even better,” Adams said.