LITCHFIELD — A green light was given for an espresso and gelato cafe to open in the center of town.
Espresso 59, on West 59 Street in the Litchfield Historic District, will serve gelato, coffee, and sorbeto. It’s projected to open in June, according to owner Felix Sambuco, who will be running the cafe with his wife, Catherine. It will be in the former location of Murphy’s Pharmacy, which was in business for nearly 70 years.
“We look forward to becoming a part of the community,” Sambuco said. “It’s a wonderful location and we think that this is absolutely something that will fit with the character of the town. We’ve got a lot of experience with the food service industry so we’re confident that we can being a very successful operation to the community, and we look forward to being here for a long time.”
The Sambucos have 40 years experience in the food service industry and previously operated Lena's Westside Deli, which is now closed in Waterbury.
At the town’s recent Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing, the motion for the cafe was approved unanimously with the condition there be no outside seating “due to parcel size limitation with adjacent municipal easements,” Land Use Administrator Dennis Abrams said.
Citing the the town’s zoning regulations, Abrams said the cafe is classified as a restaurant since there is not a separate category for a coffee shop.
Sambuco said he doesn’t expect the cafe to cause an increase in traffic, which was discussed during the hearing.
“We expect the majority of the traffic will be pedestrian based,” said Sambuco, a Goshen resident. “We expect most people that are coming in will be patrons that have frequented the other establishments around the (Town) Green. There are parking spaces on the front and the side, and that’s public parking.”
Some commission members were concerned about traffic congestion caused by deliveries to the cafe. Chairman Carol Bramley said there’s little space for deliveries.
“Some of the bigger trucks for the restaurants go into the municipal lot. Trucks try to come early in the morning or late in the day when there’s not much traffic,” she said. “It does become an issue because this area where your new shop is going to be is a fairly busy congested area and it is the primary access for the residents on Meadow Street, (which) is mostly residential.”
Sambuco said he understood the concern and would take steps to avoid deliveries causing a problem.
The cafe will be open noon to 9 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.
“I don’t want to compete with the morning breakfast crowd. They’ve got their niche and we want them to have it,” Sambuco said. “We’re looking to capture the people that are milling around in the afternoon in the center of town, or people who want to come for dinner later in the evening and take a walk and get a coffee.”