MERIDEN — A New York City chef and his family are set to open a deli, grocery and restaurant in the site of a former sports bar and nightclub on Lewis Avenue.
Jorge Rendon worked alongside landlord Mourad Mourabit to prepare the 2,000-square-foot Frida Restaurant and Deli to open within a few weeks at 151 Lewis Ave., near the intersection with Springdale Avenue. Mourabit secured the lot next door and repaved it for parking, he said.
“We’re trying to get all kinds of people and bring the community together,” Rendon said. “It’s clean, it’s different, and will have a fresh squeezed vegetable juice bar.”
The new paint, floors, and outside facade transformed the building, formerly home to Noiise Sports Bar.
Mourabit, of Berlin, bought the building and property from Ada Vega for $80,000 in January 2018 and the spare lot from the city for $6,500. Noiise closed after an April 2016 shooting that injured three people. It remained vacant for two years.
The purchase added to Mourabit’s holdings in the city. He has also renovated property at 29 Pratt St. into a storefront and two apartments upstairs, and owns a convenience store at the corner of East Main and Pratt streets. He’s grateful for the city’s assistance in helping secure permits on time.
Mourabit and Rendon want Frida to attract families and community members for shopping, meals and gatherings.
“We’ve changed the look of Lewis Avenue,” Mourabit said. “It will bring property values up. It’s going to be a family place.”
Rendon plans to retail Latin food in the shopping area, and serve American and Latin dishes in a dining area that can seat 30 to 40. Choices range from tacos and tortillas to pasta, burgers and fries. Rendon plans to hire 10 to 12 people, mainly family members
“All you can do is invest and pray for the best results,” Mourabit said. “He’s a chef from New York City, he’s going to do good.”
The new deli and restaurant is one of several eateries to open in the city in recent weeks. Several are located in the city’s transit-oriented district, an area about one-half mile from the Meriden Train Station, others have located further on Camp Street, and on the city’s east side.
David Cooley a business recruitment specialist for Making Meriden Business Center praised Frida’s renovation.
“It is technically not in the T.O.D. (transit-oriented district), however we are happy to see and hear about Mourad's plan to activate the building in a positive way,” Cooley said.