A partnership of restaurateurs who have been successful in Norwalk and Fairfield hope to open Bodega Taco Bar, an eatery at 980 Post Rd., between and Upper Crust Bagel Company (UCBC).
The restaurant, occupying space just vacated by and previously occupied by Cosi, would have seating for about 70 people, said R. David Genovese, a landlord for the building (and several others downtown).
The restaurant would also like to offer outdoor seating, with six tables on the sidewalk near its storefront as well as in front of UCBC, and four more behind UCBC, facing the Center Street parking lot (see photographs attached to this article).
Genovese asked and received approval from the Monday night to use the table area in the back, which is on town-owned property. The board (with members David Campbell and David F. Bayne absent) unanimously supported the proposal, for which a contract will need to be signed later.
The restaurateurs also plan to replace the current storefront with glass that can open up in warmer weather, as they do at their Ocean Drive restaurant on Washington Street in South Norwalk.
The restaurant's next step is to get approval from the town Planning & Zoning Commission, which will meet at 8 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) to consider the proposal as well as the restaurant's requests to increase seating indoors and serve liquor.
Restaurateurs Mario Fontana, Michael Young and Luis Chavez would own the new restaurant through their company, Quality Taco LLC. They already own , along with Norwalk's Valencia Luncheria, which recently expanded. They previously owned Ocean Drive and Habana restaurants (now closed), but sold both.
Genovese said that after two restaurants had to close at the same 980 Post Rd. location, he's hopeful the third time will be a charm: "They've got a mix of culinary skill and financial savvy, so I think they're going to pull it off," he told the Board of Selectmen.
Correction: Both Ocean Drive and Habana restaurants in Norwalk are now closed. This article previously indicated they were still open.