Cookhouse owner to build next door

Rumors circulating that The Cookhouse restaurant in New Milford would soon be demolished are not true, owner Rob Ryder said.

"The Cookhouse isn't going anywhere," Mr. Ryder said Monday. "What we are doing is getting land-use approval to build next to The Cookhouse and approach potential national tenants for the new building."

Plans to construct a 17,600-square-foot retail building at 29 Danbury Road (Route 7 South, on the lot to the north of The Cookhouse, are now before the town's Inland Wetlands Commission.

Parking would be upgraded behind The Cookhouse, over to and behind the new structure.

"I promise you that anything being built next door will be complimentary to The Cookhouse," Mr. Ryder said.

The familiar red barn structure now called home by the Cookhouse has changed hands several times over the years, dating back to the mid-20th century.

Mr. Ryder took it over in 1997 and turned it into the popular eatery so familiar to area residents. He also owns The Inn at Newtown.

Construction of the new building would begin once land-use approvals are in hand. It is anticipated to be a one-year construction period.

"Because the property is right on the Route 7 corridor," said Chris Blocker, the town's economic development supervisor, "it's a visible representation of economic development in our community as this project is developed.

"Mr. Ryder's progress is New Milford's progress," he added.