SOUTHINGTON — Paul Gregory's began moving to a new location in the Factory Square complex this week, more than doubling the bistro and cafe’s dining space and adding a banquet area.
“We really wanted to start off the new year with a new restaurant,” said Ashley Malloy, who owns the business with her mother, Theresa Malloy. The owners closed the restaurant’s 148 Center St. location on Monday and expect to have the new location open soon.
The restaurant will be the first tenant to move into the second building at Factory Square. Florian Properties owns the former industrial site on Center Street and has been converting it for commercial and office use since purchasing it in 2015.
Malloy is planning an official grand opening in January to coincide with the five year anniversary of her family purchasing the business on Jan. 17, 2017.
As part of the reopening, she’s also overhauling the restaurant’s menu. They’ll still have staples such as their build-your-own-burger, but Malloy wants to take advantage of the increased kitchen space to expand the menu.
Much of the restaurant’s growth has come from the success of its catering, which offers choices beyond the restaurant menu.
“It’s just the fact that we go so far out of our comfort zone and customize to what the customer wants,” Malloy said.
Malloy began searching for a new location as wait times for tables began growing. The new space will have seating for 86 diners, a big jump from the 25 to 30 seats at the original location.
She said they were close to moving to Factory Square a year ago, but the pandemic put a hold on the move.
“...we looked to see if we should build from the ground up and then we found out this location is open … being historical with all the wood, we really liked the look of everything and we kind of fell in love with the whole aesthetic of the place,” Malloy said.
Florian Properties did not return calls for comment.
Southington Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo said the restaurant’s creativity and willingness to try new things has played a big part in its success. When the pandemic forced many restaurants to close down, Paul Gregory’s pivoted to selling lunches to nearby companies and providing food to bars which were required to serve hot meals to reopen.
“It’s a testament to Paul Gregory’s. They have very good food, they're very creative in handling Covid,” Perillo said.
Perillo said he is working with several other eateries looking to find new locations in town.
“The fact that they’re growing bodes well for them, as well as for the town in that area,” he said. “Center Street has garnered quite a bit of attention from nearby towns.”