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Filomena's Café, Market and Catering in the Utopia Centre in Waterford is now open Sundays, features club sandwiches on the lunch menu and is hiring more staff.
The changes are all part of the Buscetto brothers' plans to better manage the restaurant, now that they've purchased a stake in it.
Filomena's is one of eight businesses to occupy the Route 1 plaza, which New London City Councilor Mike Buscetto developed and opened in October 2006. The original Filomena's, also an Italian restaurant, is still operating in Westerly.
Less than two weeks after the center's grand opening, Buscetto sold the 10-acre shopping center, which cost $3 million to build, to Austin Street Co. LLC, doing business as Waterfall Equities LLC. Buscetto stayed on as manager of the plaza.
"My brother (Bill Buscetto of Old Lyme) and I teamed up with Bruno Trombino of Westerly, one of the owners," Mike Buscetto said Thursday. "What it needed was more management and oversight from somebody local."
Trombino's former partner, Mike Ogle, is also from Westerly and, because of the distance, Ogle and Trombino were having a hard time managing the restaurant, Buscetto said.
On Jan. 4, Buscetto said, he and his brother completed the transaction to purchase an interest in Filomena's. He declined to say what that cost or what percentage of the business the two brothers now own.
Changes the new managers are making include adding to a staff of 20 and expanding the menu to include BLTs, Reubens and scallops over risotto.
"The company was never in trouble," Buscetto said. "Bruno takes a lot of pride in his family business in Westerly, and I think the combination will benefit all."
As for the expanded menu, Buscetto explained he is trying to cater to a diverse clientele. "Some people want to get something quick to eat that's not as filling, and some people want to stay and enjoy themselves," he said.