Frank and Deborah Lepri, successful restaurant owners in Ellington, will be opening steak and seafood restaurant Lepri's Grill at the former location sometime this spring.
"We've been looking for a venue like that for a long time," said Frank, praising the quaintness of the building and its outdoor gardens. "It's a great location."
The Lepris already run and in Ellington, which Deborah said has been a fantastic experience.
"It's a great area," she said. "The people in this area are so kind and supportive."
The Lepris explained that the new restaurant will focus on steak and seafood that uses as much locally produced food as possible.
"It's crazy how different the flavor is," Deborah said of locally produced food. Frank said he goes to the market three times a week and that at least 70 percent of Trattoria da Lepri's food is from the region, a number which increases in the summer.
The restaurants also use produce and herbs grown from their own gardens.
And while the menu may differ from their previous restaurants, the Lepris say that their famous chalkboards will have a place at the new grill.
"It's such a conversation piece for people that we put one in every restaurant," Deborah said.
She explained that the huge chalkboard in Trattoria da Lepri was installed to recall the trattorias of Italy where she says the menu is written daily. While the menu items generally change seasonally in their own restaurants, Deborah said that her father painstakingly writes the menu in his impeccable handwriting for the restaurants, a tradition that will continue in Tolland.
Lepri's Grill will likely feature a raw bar with oysters, lobster, shrimp and Alaskan king crab legs. The restaurant may also start a weekend brunch with unique dining options.
More information on Lepri's Grill will be available on the Trattoria da Lepri Web site in the next couple of weeks. People can also call 860-875-1111 for more information.