Mystic Pizza plans second-floor deck for outdoor dining
Mystic ― Mystic Pizza plans to add outdoor seating next spring with a new dining deck.
On Tuesday, the Groton Planning and Zoning Commission approved a site plan by the restaurant, located on West Main Street in downtown Mystic, to add a second-floor deck as an extension of the existing upper level dining room.
The plans call for removing part of a sloping roof and, in place, constructing an outdoor deck with 25 seats. The deck will be where the original flat roof was, with a parapet facing West Main Street, the application states.
The proposal also includes a café table on the sidewalk with three seats, which will be accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the replacement of about five of the existing windows on the second-floor dining room with folding windows to create more of an open-air feel.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the demand for outdoor seating in restaurants has exploded, so the restaurant wanted to make sure to provide some outdoor seating for guests, Stephan Nousiopoulos, architect with SGN Associates in Norwich, told The Day. Outdoor diners will have views of downtown Mystic.
He said he anticipates the outdoor dining area should be ready to open as soon as the weather breaks in the spring.
“It’s an exciting project,” Nousiopoulos said. “I think it’s going to be nice. The views will be incredible from there.”
The deck will be open spring through fall and on dry days, according to the application.
Nousiopoulos assured the commission that there will be no music on the deck and that it will be a quiet space to enjoy the outdoors.
“It is for family dining and not a club,” he wrote in the application.
Nousiopoulos told the commission that the existing restaurant is built right on the property line on West Main and Bank Streets, so the only option for outdoor seating was to build it upstairs and within the structure’s existing perimeter.
The existing main dining room on the lower level has 87 seats and the existing upper dining room has 72 seats, according to the application. Nousiopoulos said the restaurant has a shared validated parking program through the Mystic Museum of Art parking lot and some on-site parking, and there is a gravel parking area across Bank Street for employee parking.
The commission unanimously approved the plan, but added conditions, including that the owner participate in a parking validation program and post notification of the program, install a sign on the deck that specifies that noise is limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., no amplified sound is allowed, awnings should be adequately secured and retractable, and umbrellas over tables should be weighted.
During Tuesday’s meeting, commission members asked questions about noise, the amount of seating, and the height and width of the proposed guard rail.
Nousiopoulos said the rail is narrow, which will prevent people from putting their drinks onto it.
In response to a safety concern from a commission member about a person standing in front of the new open windows on the second floor of the existing upper level dining room, Nousiopoulos said the rendering represents the intention of creating an indoor-outdoor space but the size of the windows can’t be determined yet until demolition begins. A 42-inch high guardrail will extend along the deck and windows.
The plan for the outdoor patio and windows previously received a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic District Commission. The table and ADA accessible seating did not require approval from the Historic District.