COLLINSVILLE – Kevin Witkos announced two big pieces of news this week.
One, he is retiring from his post as sergeant at the and, two, he is partnering with Gregory Boyko to .
Running an eatery at the River Street location will fulfill a dream for the Witkos family.
"I think this has been a life-long dream of mine to do," Kevin Witkos said Thursday. "We’re so happy we have a place in our home town.”
Witkos and Boyko, under the name 3 River Street, LLC, officially purchased the property Wednesday for $119,000, with the purpose of utilizing the property for apartments upstairs and an eatery and bar on the first floor.
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Witkos said his wife Esther will help him run the lower level.
“This will be a family affair,” he said.
Witkos said he loves to cook but realizes he has no restaurant experience. Among those he will hire to help out, he said, will be Canton native Thomas Berletta, currently a chef in Kansas.
The family has also been talking to friends who own pubs and appreciate the support of other local restaurants and businesses.
While details are still being worked out, he said he thinks of the place as more of a pub than a full-scale restaurant with food gravitating toward burgers, wings and other fare traditionally expected at such a location.
He said he expects it will be operate seven days a week, likely opening in time for lunch, or 11:45 a.m. weekdays and a late breakfast, around 10 a.m. on weekends.
He said there should be enough seating for about 40. With a little reconfiguring of the back rear area, there is more room than many think, he said.
As Boyko stated Wednesday, much about the pub will pay tribute to the late William H. Wilson, Jr., who ran the Fireplace for decades before his death in 2010.
“Bill was a fixture,” Witkos said.
The totem Wilson kept in front of the shed on the property is being restored and there will be a small garden area, Witkos said.
Witkos said he has discovered the name “Wilson's” is taken in Connecticut but is looking to register “Wilson’s Pub” as an alternative — also a tribute to the late Fireplace Cafe owner.
They are also looking to add an outside patio.
He said the tradition of live music will continue in some fashion but did not yet have specifics.
He said work on the building will progress swiftly and while there could be some surprises, he said the pub should be open by Oct. 1.
Edward Roberge, owner of Stonehouse Construction, L.L.C., general contractor for building improvements, will also work on the eatery, Witkos said.
Witkos, who is retiring from the police force next week, said he is looking forward to providing jobs, good, affordable food, some community events and a welcoming atmosphere.
“We want it to be a place where people feel comfortable,” he said.
Witkos is also running for re-election for the Eighth District seat in the State Senate, representing Avon, Simsbury, Canton, New Hartford, Barkhamsted, Hartland, Colebrook, Norfolk, Granby, Torrington and Harwinton.