The owners of Saybrook Fish House are looking to add outdoor seating to their Canton restaurant.
Joe Addonizio, general manager and partner for the restaurant, said it’s something customers have requested for the past several years.
“The demand has been going up and up,” Addonizio said.
It’s a feature the restaurant wanted as well and talked about for five years. First owners had to take care of some other needs and upgrades such as a new roof, renovated bar area and bathroom upgrades.
Now the restaurant and Landscape Architectural Design Associates (LADA) of Simsbury have applied to the town to add an approximate 1,200 foot, fenced-in outdoor dining area.
The plan would accommodate about 20 tables and include a fountain, dock-type lighting and other decorative features. Access would be through a new door in the bar area.
The restaurant also plans to add approximately 7 parking spaces.
Since it's a use allowed by "special exception," the plan needs Zoning Commission approval and goes to a Public Hearing on March 20.
On Tuesday night, LADA partner Terri Hahn and Addonizio appeared before the town’s Design Review Board.
Members made some suggested alterations to the plan.
Asked about the plans for a four-foot fence and nearby roadways, Hahn said it was the subject they discussed at length.
Review team chairman Gary Hath suggested they might add two feet of lattice at the top as a compromise to provide some more screening without such a closed-in feel.
“That might feel more open,” Hath said. “It might be more enjoyable for your customers.”
Design review team members also made some other suggestions.
Frank Mairano said he had some observations based on customer experience and suggested the restaurant may want to think about creating a “softer” environment and extending some green space, potentially even as much as moving two handicapped spaces in the front of the building and adding landscaping. He also made some suggestions for the outdoor seating area itself.
“It seems you have an opportunity here to think about it a little differently,” Mairano said.
“You have a real opportunity to enhance that whole front area," he latter added.
Hath told new member Tracey Brais Tuesday night that the DRT process allows applicants to receive informal advice from experienced professionals. While the fish house plans were fully drawn, Hath said the goal is generally to meet with an applicant earlier in the process before formal designs are submitted.
Tuesday night, Addonizio said the restaurant would have to stay within its budget when considering the suggestions.
Saybrook Fish House is in a building at the spot where numerous sections of Routes 44, 202 and 179 come together. The building was built in the late 1970s, according to town records and was once home to Crossroads Raw Bar. In 1979, that restaurant received permission to expand from 432 square feet to 2,144 square feet.
Saybrook Fish House in Canton was established in 1984, according to the restaurant’s web site.