With construction down to cosmetic touches, Fairfield-based developer PPG Properties expects its Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet to open in North Haven in the Stop & Shop Plaza on Washington Avenue in mid- to late October.
“We had a couple of pieces of kitchen equipment on back order,” said Bryan M. Bowser, PPG’s chief executive officer, on Tuesday as he explained the delay in the opening of a restaurant that was, at first, slated to open its doors in June. “We can’t wait to get into the town."
Bowser said that, in order to keep as much open space as possible in the restaurant’s kitchen, PPG decided to build three coolers outside—one for produce, one for meats and a third for use as a freezer, among them one at a substantial 20-x-30-foot size. “We’ll be getting deliveries daily,” he said.
“We’re just doing cosmetics,” he said of the activity ongoing at the Washington Avenue location now. “At the end of the day, we’re in that range.”
Bowser began a litany of the construction that PPG Properties has completed to convert the cavernous, 16,000-square-foot space into a restaurant designed to seat 400 customers.
“Every buffet station is electrically powered,” he noted. “Ten thousand gallons of grease traps ... The average restaurant will take one thousand gallons, maybe 1,500 ...”
And while the construction of the ponds inside the restaurant, which will feature Asian and American cuisine, is complete, the detail work—such as the placement of the stones within them—is not.
“We’re just doing all finish work. That’s where we stand,” Bowser said.
Bowser said PPG will have invested close to $2 million in the facility by the time it opens.
The promise of a Hibachi Grill, Bowser said Tuesday as he has said before, is in part its capacity to revitalize a commercial area where shops remain vacant.
Also on Washington Avenue in North Haven, for instance, he noted that the moderately priced women’s clothing store Fashion Bug is now scheduled to close. The Ascena Retail Group, which owns the brand, announced the closing of all Fashion Bug stores earlier this month. Bowser said he is already in discussion with First Selectman Mike Freda on a concept that would replace the store.
“PPG has built another relationship with another concept that fits the Fashion Bug footprint,” he said, noting that PPG uses Hibachi as an anchor tenant to draw consumers from a wide area to a location. There, they not only dine but also shop. “So, it all works together. We’ve done it in plazas we own and where Stop & Shop has the master lease.”
Another restaurant whose summer opening was postponed is Leon’s Restaurant. It is still expected to open on Washington Avenue. The restaurant, owned by North Haven resident Edward Varipapa, has also incorporated outdoor refrigeration into its plans. Varipapa could not be reached for comment on when his well-regarded restaurant is now expected to open in North Haven.