SOUTHINGTON — The successors to Tony’s Pizza Restaurant on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike are renovating a portion of the space in what’s now Morava Restaurant and Bar.
The Palo family, employees at Tony’s Restaurant for years, took over the business earlier this year. They’re working to build a sit-down bar while also running the restaurant from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Vas Palo owns Morava along with her parents, Adrian and Mamica Palo. Adrian Palo is a former employee of Tony’s Restaurant, along with Vas Palo.
“That was my first serving job at 15,” she said. “We’ve known him for a long time … We’ve come full circle.”Long-time restaurant owner
Tony Kalivretakis started his pizza and Italian cuisine restaurant in 1973. He bought the triangular, former bank building on the corner of Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and Old Turnpike Road in 1992 and turned it into a restaurant. Kalivretakis is retired now although he’s often at Morava to see his former customers.
“I stop by every day almost,” he said. “I have customers, I know their grandfather, their fathers, their children, many generations … I love them, I miss them.”
Kalivretakis praised the Palo family and Vas Palo, saying they’ll do well with the restaurant.
“She’s going to take care of it. She’s a good worker,” he said. “They’re going to work hard.”Renovations, new menu
Vas Palo said she’ll be carrying on some of Kalivretakis’ recipes and that the restaurant’s focus is still on fresh, home-made Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
She said the classics remain customer favorites, such as chicken Marsala and pasta.
“You can never go wrong with pizza. A lot of people love that,” Vas Palo said.
“We also incorporated our own recipes,” she said. “It’s a brand new menu with some newer options.”
The Palos used Kalivretakis’ beer and wine permit but just got their own permit.
They’re working on building an additional bar that Vas Palo hopes will be ready for summertime.
“We have a full service bar right now, but we’re building a sit-down bar,” she said. “It’s going to be its own separate area of the restaurant.”
Morava is located at 1315 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.