August 2, 2014 12:16AM
By NANCY LAVIN
Sun Staff Writer
STONINGTON— The owner of an Indian restaurant in Mystic is looking to open a second restaurant in downtown Pawcatuck with another self-described restaurateur.
Bharat Banga, owner of Taste of India on Williams Street, and Amrish Patel plan to buy the property at 100 West Broad St. to serve as a restaurant described by Patel as “Indian fusion.” The restaurant would also offer takeout and serve alcohol.
The property, located next to the Elm Tree Inn and Hooties Cafe, formerly housed owner James Hall’s law office, and before that, the Pawcatuck School of Hair Design.
The Zoning Board of Appeals voted to approve request from Hall, who still owns the building until the sale is finalized, for a variance on the buffer requirement for the property in a public hearing on Wednesday evening. Stonington requires a 15-foot buffer area for restaurants serving liquor, but given the 9-foot-long driveway on the property, creating the additional buffer space is not physically possible, as Hall explained.
Several local residents spoke advocated on behalf of Banga and Patel at the ZBA meeting, noting that new businesses were key to creating a thriving downtown area.
“I would encourage any business that brings life into downtown, and a restaurant definitely offers that,” said Michael Morales, a former real estate agent. “Pedestrian traffic is vital to the life of our downtown.”
Mark Tebbets, a former Zoning Officer for Groton, agreed.
“Good businesses bring more good businesses, restaurants bring more restaurants,” he said.
Once Patel and Banga obtain the necessary special use permits for the property, they will purchase the building from Hall, according to Patel. firstname.lastname@example.org