"I was looking for the perfect tenant," Main Street Market owner Michael Stone said Tuesday at a "family and friends" opening of his new restaurant and retail space, The New England Emporium. "And I realized I was writing a business plan for this place."
Stone decided to open the New England Emporium because he saw an opportunity on Main Street.
"I thought there was an opportunity to create something Middletown didn't have," Stone said. "I wanted to open a place that offered good casual dining, attentive service and interesting retail."
The result is The New England Emporium, an eatery and retail space which will open Wednesday at 3 PM, just in time for the annual Car Cruise on Main Street.
Stone has partnered with Debbie Rapoport, owner and operator of Jordan, a catering and food service business in Cheshire and Darien. Rapoport will director of operations for The New England Emporium. The restaurant will offer self-serve, eat-in or take-out food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The menu will feature sandwiches, salads, crepes and a daily selection of hot foods and desserts along with high-quality coffee and tea.
"It's something I've been preaching to my colleagues on Main Street," Stone said. "I figure I have to practice what I preach."
The emporium will also feature retail selections from more than 200 New England vendors, from locally-bottled sodas, and Connecticut-grown hot peppers to unusual gifts.
Stone designed the interior using industrial fixtures from old mills. Dining tables were rescued and built using materials from abandoned factories and barns, and ancient industrial carts serve as retail display counters. Some of the industrial fixtures are also for sale.