On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, Touch of Italy plans to finalize the purchase of the M&T Bank Building on the corner of North Walnut and Northwest Front Street in downtown Milford. Co-owners Bob Ciprietti and Joe Curzi want to help revitalize the downtown area.
“From what I understand, Mayor Bryan Shupe and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head were at a barbecue and Bryan was talking to Sam about bringing a Dogfish Brewpub to Milford,” Mr. Ciprietti said. “Sam told him that if he wanted more people downtown, he should talk to us about bringing Touch of Italy to Milford. It was like the perfect storm. Bryan reached out to us and we began looking into the possibility of coming to town.”
Although the sale of the bank building will not be finalized until around noon on Wednesday, Mr. Ciprietti said that Touch of Italy is looking forward to coming to Milford. He said they chose the former M&T Bank building because it is in the center of downtown and is a “majestic, awesome piece of history”. He said that they are still researching the history of the building and its interior in order to learn how to use the building to Milford’s benefit.
“Believing that the Mayor of Milford should be an active ambassador for the town of Milford, I knew from the day M&T announced the closing of the downtown branch that we had an opportunity to help create a corner in downtown that would support economic development and historic preservation,” Mayor Shupe said. “The closing of the bank presented an immediate and large challenge to the downtown revitalization efforts. The corner of Front and Walnut Street is historically and logistically a very important corner in downtown and we understood that the actions taken on the property would set a precedent for the downtown revitalization efforts.” Mayor Shupe confirmed that he had spoken to several business owners and facilitated tours with them through downtown.
According to M&T officials, several offers were received when the closing date arrived and the City waited to see who the bank would accept as the new tenant of the historic bank building. Shupe says that the City was excited to learn that Touch of Italy would be coming to town, stating that anyone who has visited their other locations knows that they create a unique, outstanding experience.
There have been concerns expressed by citizens about the availability of parking for a restaurant like Touch of Italy. Mayor Shupe said that once the City learned about the acceptance of Touch of Italy’s offer, they took the opportunity to address the availability of downtown parking.
“The City worked with M&T Bank and Touch of Italy to purchase a portion of the parking lot behind the building on Walnut Street in an effort to preserve and expand the City’s availability to provide public parking for downtown businesses and patrons, now and for the foreseeable future,” Mayor Shupe said. “The lot will create between 65 and 70 public parking spaces that will remain under the control and direction of the City of Milford.”
Touch of Italy currently has five locations, including a bakery located in the Village at Five Points. Their menu includes handmade mozzarella cheese, past, Italian entrees, pizza and crispy Italian bread. In each restaurant, there is a true Italian delicatessen, or Salumeria, where customers can purchase imported olives and cheeses as well as freshly made tomato sauce, raviolis and fine Italian sausage. There is also a Pasticceria, an Italian pastry shop offering freshly baked goods reminiscent of those found in an Italian village.
“Milford is a great town that is growing,” Mr. Ciprietti said. “There is such potential there with the new hospital coming and the improvements being made throughout the city. We are very excited to be part of that growth.”
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