Matt Criscuolo, the owner of Pizza Post went before the Planning & Zoning commission this week with a pre-application to expand his popular restaurant at 522 East Putnam Ave in Cos Cob into the space next door where a hair salon previously operated.
Pizza Post, which has served the community for 48 years, is undergoing renovations after suffering extensive damage from a fire on Oct 20, 2019.
Mr. Criscuolo said the expansion would allow him to add 12 seats to the 34 existing seats, and improve flow within the restaurant.
The total square footage would go from 700 sq ft to 1,100 sq ft.
“If you’ve been to Pizza Post in the past, you had to walk through the dining room to get to the counter, and everyone was on top of everybody,” Criscuolo explained. “This would allow us to shift all the seating to one side while keeping people picking up separate. You’d have more space, be more spread out, and we’d be able to have a bathroom that would be handicapped accessible.”
He said it would also allow the restaurant to expand the kitchen, have more clearances, and have more fire safety.
Ms Alban said, while the commission believes the application complies with regulations, the only concern is the parking lot is arranged in an awkward pattern. The lot has about 50 parking spaces.
“It gets tight when you and Gofter (ice cream) are both busy,” she said. “But we think you’re going to be consistent with the regulations because what you’ll add in terms of seating will be compliant.”
However, she asked whether there was anything Mr. Criscuolo could work out with his landlord to improve the parking layout.
Mr. Criscuolo said Pizza Post hasn’t offered delivery in the past, but given the pandemic, he was considering it. He noted if he were to implement delivery, that would ease the parking situation.
Also, he said while he planned to maintain the same number of employees, the salon employees had used approximately five parking space.
Mr. Criscuolo said the offices upstairs, which are currently unoccupied, technically have their own assigned parking spaces on the side of the building, but by the time Pizza Post is busy at night, office workers have gone home for the day.
“You’re all set as far as we’re concerned,” Ms. Alban said. “Good luck finishing the restoration.”
The applicant will return with a final site plan application for approval.
See also: Blaze in Cos Cob Renders Commercial Building Uninhabitable
Oct 22, 2019