The vacant one-story building formerly occupied by Mezzogiorno restraurant in downtown Scotch Plains will become a three-story structure, with an Irish pub and restaurant on the ground floor and eight apartment units on the top two floors. The township's Planning Board approved the property owner's application for the renovations and upgrades Monday night. Mezzogiorno, located at 450 Park Avenue, went out of business in February 2010.
The application, presented by Vincent DeNave of LCD&K Warren Property Associates, which owns the building, included a covered outdoor dining area between Mezzogiorno and the Municipal Building parking lot, rearranged parking behind Mezzogiorno that adds 12 spaces, bringing the total to 16, and a rear entrance and elevator for the apartments. The building will reach a maximum height of 35 feet.
DeNave and the restaurant's owner, Michael Brennan, declined to predict when the restaurant will open or when the apartments will be complete. However, DeNave did say that construction would take several months and begin "as soon as we possibly can."
"We're ready to move forward," DeNave said. "We have all the financing lined up and we're ready to get started."
Brennan said that the restaurant's layout will likely include a bar near the left-hand wall, pub tables in the middle and regular restaurant tables to the right. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, he added, and be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. He declined to provide the names that he and his co-owner, Joe Martarulo, who also owns Sweet Waters Steak House in Westfield, were considering for the restaurant.
The board approved the application unanimously. Earlier in the night, it also unanimously approved an application for the subdivision of a 13,400-square-foot residential lot on Mountain Avenue near Cook Avenue. The lot, which currently contains a vacant single-family home, will be divided into two separate lots with nearly identical houses.