By STAFF WRITER
Townline Pizza, located at 1660 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in Milldale, is gearing up to re-open its doors to the community. The local eatery has been closed since July 24 when a water heater tank malfunction led to severe smoke damage and a shut down.
Restaurant owner Lule Markokaj said she was devastated by the closure. “It was a very emotional time for us,” she said. “I knew I could not give up. We would make it through this.”
Townline Pizza is a family owned business and has been a part of the community for about seven years before the incident. Markokaj also owns the neighboring package store, and she reported that several of the restaurant’s loyal customers are on the edge of their seats waiting for the re-opening, often coming in to the package store and checking on her, asking when it would happen.
“It began as ‘just a few weeks,’ and that quickly turned into months,” said Markokaj. “We’ve been working with the insurance company all along, trying to get the funds.” Everything in the restaurant had to be replaced, she said. It was a daunting and pricey task.
Markokaj used to work in a factory, but an injury affected her performance and forced her to change her career. In order to support her growing family, she knew she had to step up and buckle down. Ever since Townline Pizza came to life, she was passionate about it, often working from early morning until after close every day of the week.
“I lost a lot of sleep over the incident. It was very hard on all of us,” said Markokaj. Things are looking up now, but there is still work to do. Construction is coming together. Parts are being ordered and installed. Once the restaurant is pieced together, they will need to have the building and health inspectors come out and assess.”
The family is hoping for an opening before the holiday season is through. Markokaj thanked the community for being supportive of her and her family’s business during their time of struggle.
“We will start new,” Markokaj said confidently. “We will be stronger, and better than ever.”
Townline Pizza offers something for everyone, and always cook from scratch using fresh ingredients. Their menu includes favorites such as calzones, grinders, salads and on-the-house, homemade soup.
On the day of their grand re-opening, the restaurant will offer free slices and soups all day long.
For updates on the grand opening date, visit them at facebook.com/ TownlinePizzaSouthington.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.