Sports bar coming downtown
A new sports bar called Instant Replay is coming to downtown Milford after unanimous Planning and Zoning Board approval on Oct. 15.
Instant Replay Bar and Restaurant LLC plans to establish a bar and restaurant at 2 Broad St., at the corner of Factory Lane, the former location of a Cloud 9 Day Spa. The LLC lists Stephanie Howard and Alexander Andreone of Milford, and Manya Andreone of Wilton as members.
Attorney Thomas Lynch said Howard is starting a café restaurant with sports bar theme. He said Howard and her family formerly operated a restaurant in conjunction with a bowling alley in Wallingford, and recently moved to Milford.
Lynch said Mark Pucci recently purchased the building and is committed to a major exterior renovation of the structure, which is located in the Milford Center Design District.
According to city records, 2-4 Broad St. LLC, which lists Eric Pucci of Monroe as member, purchased the 0.11-acre property with th 6,872 sq. ft. building dating to 1863 on Aug. 29, 2018 for $525,000. Mark Pucci & Associates is located at 4 Broad St.
Lynch said the Zoning Board of Appeals granted a variance in August, allowing Instant Replay to operate closer than 1,500 ft. from another restaurant with a liquor license.
According to the statement of use submitted by Howard, they plan to operate a café with a liquor license with hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends.
The menu would consist of “bar food” with such items as soups and salads, hamburgers and other grilled items with side dishes such as French fries. They plan to serve beer, wine and spirits with a full liquor license.
In response to a question from City Planner David B. Sulkis, Howard said the café focus is sports, but she is “not opposed to doing karaoke or live bands,” stressing, “It is not our main selling point.”
Architect John Wicko said there would be 33 seats, including the bar, restaurant, and outdoor dining in the 1,908 sq. ft space. There would be sidewalk seating in conformance with the regulations, marked off by an open rail fence and potted plants.
Wicko said the exterior of the building would be enhanced with new storefront glass and a door. He said he would like to open up the Factory Lane side with larger windows. He said he would apply for a sign permit, saying the sign would be 12 percent smaller than what is allowed.
According to Wicko, there would be a small kitchen with the addition of an underground grease trap, which does not affect an existing easement to pass at the rear of the building. He said the kitchen exhaust would vent into the rear right of way. Plans include adding a hatch to the existing rear stairs.
Board member Scott Marlow expressed concern about the exterior seating because the restaurant is located on the corner, describing it as a “pinch point.”
In response, Sulkis said sidewalk seating is an annual permit that spells out the standards for any restaurant downtown that would like to have seating on the public sidewalk. Sulkis said an important guideline is to have a clear four feet of space between the seating area and any obstruction.
In its site plan approval, the board included the conditions that an external grease trap must be installed and the kitchen exhaust must be located on the rear of the building.
For both applications, the board included a “finding of parking adequacy” because neither restaurant has sufficient on-site parking to meet the zoning requirements. The board commonly agrees to this finding based on the availability of street, private, and municipal parking in downtown.
Instant Replay needed a waiver for 51 parking spaces, as it has none on site, while the Stonebridge needed a waiver for eight spaces, as a result of the patio expansion. The full property at Stonebridge requires 145 parking spaces, while only 38 are available on-site. Lynch said the new garage planned for downtown will help with parking.