Folks who stopped at Norm’s Diner in Groton City Wednesday found a U-Haul truck instead of a waitress serving lunch.
The managers of the diner, which has been in Groton since 1960, are moving out. Mark and Brenda Tresk said they plan to open a different business in Ledyard.
But John Espada, manger of the LLC that owns the block that includes Norm’s Diner, said customers need not worry. Norm’s is simply closed for remodeling and will reopen Feb. 1 under his ownership, he said.
“It’s going to be the way it used to be,” said Espada, of Groton. “I’m going to put new counters on there, clean it up, spruce it up, but it’s going to be the same comfort food, same service you’re used to having when it was run by Norm and Annie.” He also said he is lowering some of the prices.
With its metal siding, booths, jukebox and bar-stools running along the Formica counter, the diner has been a favorite in Groton because it's retained the flavor of the days when it first opened.
Last week, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman visited Norm's as part of his farewell tour to thank voters. It was one of only four stops on his tour that day. Lieberman turns over his Senate seat to Chris Murphy after 24 years today.
Originally owned by Norm and Annie Brochu, the restaurant had been renovated, then run by former Norm’s waitress Brenda Tresk for the last four years. She and husband Mark Tresk said they plan to open a restaurant at 678 Colonel Ledyard Highway in Ledyard now.
They don’t have a name picked out for the place, but said it will offer a diner menu, possibly with steak and seafood added. They hope to open Feb. 1 or Feb. 15.
Espada manages the entity JFG LLC that bought the block on Bridge Street that includes Norm’s, the former Norm’s Country Lounge, a package store and a hair salon in February 2011.
Espada also owns Computer Dry Dock and More, a kind of mini-Best Buy near Electric Boat.
In addition to his work at the diner, Espada plans to bring back the country and western bar that used to be next to it. It’s been closed for 10 or 11 years, he said.
He’s started gutting the inside, but hasn’t begun remodeling work on the bar. But he envisions a place with a bar, sit-down area of booths for dinner, a dance floor, disc jockey and country line dancing.
He’s hoping to have it open in six months.
“I think the town needs a place where people can go have some fun, go dancing close to home,” he said. "There’s nothing (like that) in this town."