Two downtown Ansonia eateries have closed down in the last three weeks.
Lanza’s Restaurant and Capri Lounge on East Main Street, which opened in 2009, was evicted by its landlord last week for not paying rent.
Nearby on Main Street, Millie’s II Luncheonette, which opened in 2004, closed because its lease expired as of Oct. 1.
The owner of Millie’s, Bo Kolakowski, said Tuesday that his lease ran out in July and he couldn’t negotiate an extension with a church next door to him that owns the building.
“It was a question of (higher) rent and all the extras,” he said. “Expenses became too high.”
Millie’s had a stable of loyal customers, but Kolakowski said walk-in traffic took a “50 to 60 percent” hit because of the utility work being done on Main Street over the summer.
Kolakowski said he doesn’t think he’ll look for a new location.
“I’ve got to look for a job,” he said.
Still, he remained philosophical.
“What are you going to do?” Kolakowski said. “That’s life.”
At Lanza’s, a bright orange marshal’s notice of eviction is taped to the door of the business.
In April the limited liability company that owns the building filed papers at Superior Court in Derby saying the business had been late paying its $3,000-a-month rent.
In June lawyers representing both parties negotiated a “stipulated agreement” whereby the business would pay increased rent through January 2013, but the business was never able to pay the first installment.
“Thank you to all that supported Lanza,” the post reads. “In the past 3 years we have met a lot of wonderful people . . . have had some wonderful bands . . . Some awesome entertainers . . . And some wonderful times we will never forget . . . Words can’t express the gratitude to the ones that helped us fulfill 3 wonderful years . . .Hope to see many in the near future in the next chapter of our lives . . .”
The post attracted 49 “likes” and a host of comments from customers.
“So sorry to hear of this . . . you guys were wonderful and the food was just awesome,” said Mary Deming.
“We are so sad,” said Robin Everlith Caldarola. “We went to Lanza’s every Friday night for the past two years for dinner. Last Friday we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. If we only new it would be are last meal there we would have ordered double!”
Vinnie Scarlata, the chairman of the city’s Economic Development Commission, said he’s disappointed by the news of the closings but hoped other businesses will replace them soon.
“Bo had a steady business of regular customers,” Scarlata said of Millie’s. “When you have loyal customers like that, it’s perfect. There’s just so much you can do.”
He said he’s heard rumors that the church that owns the building might be looking to expand into the space formerly owned by Millie’s, but no solid plans have been presented. A message seeking comment was left at the church, Iglesia Cristiana Rosa De Saron, Tuesday afternoon.
Scarlata said he was sorry to hear about Lanza’s fate.
“They were good partners in the city with us, we’re sad to see them go,” he said. “They did add a nice flair our city’s restaurant district, so it’s a little disappointing to see them close up. We’d like to see somebody with just as much spark come in to liven up downtown.”