Nardelli grinders close in Middletown; planned seafood restaurant

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Owner Steven Katz opened the deli restaurant in March 2011 at 396 Washington St. on Route 66.

A letter to customers is posted on the front door stating that the business was closed on October 29. “The decision to close was not easy,” Katz wrote. “I have enjoyed the relationships with our customers over the past few years.”

He then thanked customers and staff members for their loyalty and support. “We couldn’t have been so successful without you,” he wrote.

No reason was given for the closure and Katz could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Nardelli’s Grinder Shoppe was named Connecticut’s Best Regional Fast Food By at Food & Wine Magazine.

The property, recently purchased by Josh Morin of Portland, will soon be transformed into a small seafood market, serving crabs, king crab legs, oysters, lobsters and other shellfish, he said .

Morin is also planning a small casual menu with seating and hopes to open early next year.

Nardelli’s Grinder Shoppes was founded in 1920 by Joseph, Anthony and Frederico Nardelli. Having worked at a grocery store in Waterbury’s South Main Street since immigrating to the United States in 1914, they saved enough money to buy the store when it became available.

Soon after, on a day trip to New York, they saw “grinders”, large Italian loaves filled with various meats, bought by laborers going to work. They decided to bring the idea back to their store, and the Nardelli mill was born.

The signature mill has become famous throughout Connecticut as a loaf of fresh Italian bread stuffed with premium deli meats and fresh vegetables. Unique to a Nardelli grinder is the addition of their secret “Classic Blend”, a marinade of peppers, onions and other vegetables, tossed in olive oil and vinegar with a proprietary blend of spices .

The nearest franchise is now located at 136 Berlin Road in Cromwell.

After a century in business, Nardelli’s has branches throughout Connecticut, including two in its hometown of Waterbury and others in Danbury, East Hartford, Farmington, Meriden, Milford, Naugatuck, Norwalk, Oxford, Southbury, Southington, Torrington and Wallingford.

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