Naugatuck eatery temporarily closed for renovations

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NAUGATUCK — Jesse Camille’s Restaurant, located in a borough-owned building next to Hop Brook Golf Course, closed Monday for two to three weeks of long-awaited renovations.

After work is completed on the bathrooms, bar area and entrances, the restaurant will reopen with a temporary kitchen while five more weeks of renovations continue. When the project is complete in late February or early March, the restaurant will hold a grand opening with a new menu, owner Larry Erickson said.

“That will be nothing short of a spectacle, I’m sure,” Erickson said.

Jesse Camille’s, named after Erickson’s 15-year-old daughter, was founded in 1996, but the building dates back to the early 1900s, when it was the American Brass Country Club, Erickson said.

“I bet there haven’t been any updates to the building in several centuries,” Erickson said.

Pat Munger Construction Company out of Branford won the bid for the $203,898 contract funded by the borough. After the improvements are made, the borough will renegotiate Erickson’s $1,650 monthly lease, Mayor Robert A. Mezzo said.

The restaurant’s kitchen, deck, bathrooms, ceiling, basement and plumbing and electrical systems will all be renovated. The kitchen floor was rotting away, Public Works Director James R. Stewart said. workers will replace the linoleum with tile, install flame-retardant, washable walls and ceilings and new sinks.

The changes in the kitchen conform to public health requirements, Erickson said, adding that inspectors had been telling him the kitchen needed to be brought up to code.

The restaurant’s new deck is more accessible to people with disabilities, as the bathrooms will be, Erickson said. The new bathrooms will also be linked to heating and cooling systems, which the old ones were not, Erickson said.

“The customers are excited,” Erickson said. “They can’t wait, especially for the bathrooms.”

During the five-week period where Erickson will use a temporary kitchen, which is essentially a 40-square-foot kitchen in a trailer, he does not anticipate any changes to the menu, he said. The temporary kitchen will cost about $1,000 a week, Erickson said, part of the reason the borough is waiving his rent for the two-month renovation period.

“The mobile kitchen has more in it than my old kitchen ever had,” Erickson said. “I just won’t go nuts with parties and stuff. Just keep it light, I’m sure.”