Plans for Bridgwater's first alcohol-serving restaurant move forward

Architecture Design Alliance's rendering of a proposal for the Bridgewater Village Store.
Architecture Design Alliance's rendering of a proposal for the Bridgewater Village Store.Contributed Photo / Christine Bottacari / Hearst Connecticut Media

BRIDGEWATER — A public hearing will be held this week as plans move forward for the town’s first restaurant to serve alcohol.

Bridgewater Village Store representatives are requesting a special permit to convert the store’s former bank space into a cafe that will serve alcohol. The public hearing before the Planning & Zoning Commission continues at 7 p.m. Thursday in the parish house at the Bridgewater Congregational Church, 10 Clapboard Road.

Greg Bollard, vice president of Bridgewater Village Store Inc., will present the application, which calls for renovations and expanding the existing store and cafe with parking and a new sewage disposal system.

“The community has been incredibly supportive,” Bollard said. “We are hopeful that we can provide the final information that was requested and the hearing will come to a conclusion with a positive decision reached by the commission.”

The plan is to make the store more compliant with zoning regulations, since the building predates zoning. The floor space would be reconfigured to accommodate a restaurant on the first floor and offices on the second floor. The number of seating would increase from 24 to 32.

The cooking and baking areas would be consolidated in the rear of the present bank space. The front alcove would be built out to be even with the front of the building.

The proposed hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Architecture Design Alliance, of New Milford, is designing the renovations.The proposed upgrades would also provide better egress and fire safety, according to Kevin McQueen, principal in the firm.

The revised site plan includes some drainage repairs and changing the island in front of the store to accommodate parking spaces. A traffic study will be presented at the public hearing.

The cafe’s opening has been a few years in the making.

Peter May, owner of the store and of Maywood Estate, sent an open letter to the Bridgewater community in 2013, asking residents if they were in favor of a cafe that would serve wine and beer.

Last November, voters repealed the local prohibition against alcohol sales, ending Bridgewater’s run as the last dry-town in Connecticut.

The Planning & Zoning Commission then amended a zoning regulation in February to allow restaurants in the commercial and village green zones.; 203-731-3352