Milford OKs Restaurant and Apartments at Former Scribner’s Site

A rendering of the proposed building in which a West Haven developer hopes to place a restaurant on the first floor, below two floors of apartments, to replace the Scribner's restaurant site in Milford (City of Milford).


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MILFORD — Ever since a fire destroyed Scribner’s restaurant, residents of the city’s Woodmont section have desired another friendly, family-run eatery. And almost six years later, it appears the beachfront neighborhood will get its wish.

The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved a special-exception permit for a three-building mixed-use apartment complex at the former Scribner’s site and U.S. Post Office at 27 Village Road and 114 Hawley Ave. West Haven developer Sachin Anand plans to build a restaurant within the 13-apartment complex, aiming to replicate the success of Scribner’s, he said at the June 18 meeting. 

The proposed structures would fit neatly within the site, which has been home to a mix of grocery stores and apartments for over a century, said Edward Bonessi, warden of the Woodmont Board of Burgesses, which approved of the proposal during its September meeting.

“The borough sorely misses and wants a restaurant at this location similar to the one that was there that people can walk to,” Bonessi said at the meeting. “We understand that to make this project economically viable, a residential component is required.”

In business for about 60 years, Scribner’s was a successful surf-and-turf and somewhat upscale restaurant before a fire struck on Halloween in 2018. Built in 1930, the restaurant building was not destroyed, but the fire caused enough damage that rebuilding it was impossible, said attorney Kevin Curseaden, who represented Anand Realty during the hearing.

Scribner’s and a second nearby building sat derelict for several years until being razed within the last two years. Both buildings had apartments above retail spaces.

The new restaurant hasn’t yet acquired an operator who will lease it from Anand, but the developer is in conversations with several potential operators, all of the family or local restaurant variety. No national restaurant, bar or cafe chains will be in the space, Curseaden said.

The restaurant will be about half the size of the former Scribner’s and have a smaller restaurant component, Curseaden said, but it will encourage walk-ins and give the community something similar to what Scribner’s offered.

“This is going to be more like a local watering hole,” he said.

Curseaden also acknowledged the board’s concerns about a lack of parking at the site, noting that patrons would likely have to walk to get there. Twelve spaces are planned for the restaurant.

The Woodmont section of Milford includes Anchor Beach, a popular stop for tourists and residents, who are very keen on maintaining a balance between apartment construction — which has exploded in recent years — and the borough’s retail elements, said Board of Burgesses member Christopher Schmeisser.

Scribner’s, a beloved and well-known local hotspot, was a comfortable place for area residents.  

“When Scribner’s went down, it was an important central part of the borough. There was tremendous concern about what was going to fill this space and that it be aesthetically consistent with the neighborhood,” Schmeisser said.

A “tremendous effort” went into the project’s design to make it fit and enhance the neighborhood, he added.

The first building will include four townhomes and four flats, or eight units in total. It will adjoin a second building, at 114 Hawley Ave., which will have three townhomes with the office and restaurant space on the first floor. A third building will have two large dwelling units and be located at 27 Village Road, according to the developer’s proposal.

The restaurant will be 1,886 square feet, plus a 720-square-foot patio. Another 720-square-foot office or retail space will adjoin it. According to the proposal, the three buildings will take up 15,862 square feet total.

The former Scribner’s site lacked either drainage, or groundwater or rain absorption, but the new construction, one block away from Anchor Beach, will likely help alleviate some of the drainage issues near the beach, officials said.

Construction is expected to begin within three months.