Bill Kalogeridis, the man behind the Copper Kitchen restaurant in New Haven, beloved by generations of customers for more than 25 years, is planning a new restaurant in the old Noodles space in North Madison.
The spot has been empty since former owner Lee Jamison decided to retire in June 2011. Jamison said at the time there was no one factor that led to his decision to close Noodles after 18 years, but rather it was a combination of a really bad winter that reduced traffic to the restaurant, his head chef's decision to retire, and a bad economy. Jamison said at the time that he was confident the right person would be able to make a go of it.
Kalogeridis says he's the man for the job.
What is he serving? "What do you want?"
Kalogeridis was inside the building Wednesday, overseeing a work crew as they put framing up inside to build new walls for the kitchen area, and other areas. He closed down the Copper Kitchen in New Haven about two years ago. He hopes to have his new place up and running in about two months. He said he tried to retire. He tried doing something other than running a restaurant. And he just couldn't.
Kalogeridis said he plans to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast: omelets, french toast, pancakes, waffles. For lunch: sandwiches, salads. For dinner: steaks, fresh fish and other selections. If you ask Kalogeridis what he plans to serve, he'll ask, "What do you want?"
He points to the blueprint for the interior of the restaurant with enthuasiasm. "Here will be coffee to go. Here will be ice cream. Here, milk shakes and stuff like that," he says.
His New Haven family was not happy to see him go
A story in the New Haven Independent makes it clear that people who eat at Kalogeridis' place become part of his family. And his New Haven family was not happy to see him go.
Sara Mulligan asked if she could buy the stool on which her boyfriend was sitting when she met him there two years ago at the Copper Kitchen. Buy? responded owner Bill Kalogeridis. Are you kidding? Take it. In that spirit of generosity Chapel Street’s most beloved greasy spoon prepared and gave away all its food for free from morning till late afternoon Wednesday. ... Countless [customers] stopped by for coffee, malteds, omelets—most of all for one last tall drink of the breakfast and lunch nook’s homey, loving atmosphere. 'The customers and people kept me here, and I joke with them. This is like my wife, my kids, my home,' said Kalogerides, as tears flowed like the free coffee and malteds and customers and employees old and new kept dropping by to offer their hugs and encouragement.
Kalogerides said the plan right now is to be open on the weekends from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. He said he is still trying to determine hours for weekdays and other specifics about the restaurant. He is spending time figuring out the flow inside the restaurant, where the dining tables will be located, where the kitchen will be located, where customers will enter, where they will leave.
Hopes to settle here for the long term
Over the long term, Kalogerides said, his plan is to continually update the restaurant to keep it "nice and clean" and current. "Every four or five years, you have to do it all, the booths, everything," he said, indicating he hopes to settle in this spot for the long term.
So far, he said, he is really happy to be in North Madison. "Very nice landlord, very fair," he said. He likes being close to a pizza parlor, Roberts Food Center, the liquor store, and the other tenants in the North Madison Plaza.
"The more stores you have the better. You have to have variety. I want people to come here and then to go there," he said, gesturing to the rest of the plaza. He says he is confident Madison, and the surrounding towns, will like what he will be serving them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"Everyone's favorites," he says. "We will keep it very simple at prices that let everyone come in. I like everybody to be able to eat. Everybody."