WALLINGFORD — A Center Street restaurant has closed but will soon be replaced at the same address by the town’s first steak and chops eatery in years.
Jake’s, of 179 Center St., closed within the last few weeks and will be replaced by J. Carvers, which Kathy Lilley, executive director of a downtown business association, Wallingford Center Inc., described as a steak and chops restaurant “with an Italian flair.”
“It’s great that they were able to find another restaurant to take their place,” Lilley said.
J. Carvers’ owner Michael Gould knows his way around food. He also owns Michael’s Deli, a full-service breakfast and deli sandwich lunch shop in downtown Cheshire.
“Michael has a great reputation,” Lilley said.
Gould has been doing a renovation or upgrade to the Jake’s space himself after finishing his deli day, Lilley said. Besides serving customers in Cheshire, Gould has been catering to Wallingford businesses for years.
Gould declined to comment when reached late last week. His new place is expected to open within a few months.
The owner of Jake’s, Anthony Milici, and his family are well-known in town. They own Milici’s Auto, 722 N. Colony Road, and several other buildings in the downtown area, Lilley said.
It is unclear why the Jake’s closed. The business last made news in November when its manager, Chris Nielson, was among several area restaurant representatives that discussed the difficulties of running a restaurant during the pandemic with the state-imposed restrictions.
Nielson said moving to 75 percent capacity, which the state required at the time, didn't make a huge difference because restaurants are not necessarily able to use more tables and maintain social distance for customers.
Jake’s was known for creative drink specials such as the S'mores martini, which mixes marshmallow vodka, Godiva liqueur, creme de cacao, chocolate syrup, and a skewer of toasted marshmallows on top of a graham cracker rim.