LITCHFIELD — After dining out or taking a stroll around the Litchfield Town Green, residents could soon enjoy an ice cream or coffee within walking distance.
The Planning & Zoning Commission meeting has agreed to a March 15 public hearing on an application to build an Espresso and Gelato cafe in the Litchfield Historic District, the former location of Murphy’s Pharmacy on 59 West St.
In August 2019, after being in business for nearly 70 years, Murphy’s Pharmacy was sold to CVS.
The property, which now stands vacant, is owned by Mark Murphy, of Bantam.
During the virtual meeting Tuesday, Goshen resident Felix Sambuco, who submitted the application along with his wife Catherine, said he sees a need for a coffee shop so residents can have a place to go to for a light snack.
“There really doesn’t seem to be any viable place to go after dinner,” Felix said. “People go out to the area restaurants and if you said, ‘let’s take a walk,’ ‘let’s go get an ice cream or coffee,’ there’s really nowhere to go other than the restaurants on-site.”
He added the primary function of the shop would be serving coffee. There would also will be a bakery area with baked goods and Italian pastries, cookies, gelato and sorbet.
Felix said his wife is an accomplished chef and cook, and plans to cook some items on-site.
There was a question at the meeting as to whether the shop would need a grease trap. According to Land Use Administrator Dennis Tobin, the couple would need to get approval from the Litchfield Water Pollution Control Authority regarding that issue, as well as the sewer authority.
The shop’s hours of operation would be noon to 9 p.m., Felix said.
With those hours, he said he’s not competing with area bakeries that are open in the morning.
Additionally, as a condition of approval for the application, Felix agreed to no outside dining or chairs.
A concern about available parking was also raised, and Felix said he predicts most customers would have already parked at the local restaurants or on the green, prior to walking into the shop.
According to Tobin, the Sambucos will need to contact additional town and state departments for approval on the application, including the Torrington Area Health District, fire marshal and building inspector, “to see if this plan fits.”
Felix said he and his wife “look forward to being able to interact with and be part of the community.”