HARWINTON >> Jerry Czyz’s bright idea to expand his restaurant has resulted in a much-needed addition to the local dining scene.
The Edison Grill is bigger and better in just about every way, and the new edition of the restaurant has been a hit since opening about three weeks ago, he said.
The Edison Grill story started in August 2013 when Czyz opened the eatery in the location that housed the Birge Park Luncheonette for nearly 40 years. At the time, the Edison Grill served breakfast and lunch and started to gain a steady following for its good food and good service.
Czyz was working for both Eastside Electric and managing the Edison Grill. Just four months into owning the restaurant, Czyz was in a bad car accident in front of the building. But from what could have been a tragedy came triumph.
After multiple surgeries and continuing rehab, Czyz came to the realization that he wouldn’t be able to continue his previous role at Eastside Electric. While out of commission for about a year, Czyz started thinking about the Edison Grill and its future and decided to pursue his idea of a newer and bigger place.
“The opportunity to expand was here, and I decided we should roll with it,” Czyz said. “It has its challenges, but I can still run a restaurant. It’s not the same physical work I had been doing before.”
While the “old” Edison Grill was open, work started on the new space. The evolution included adding dinner to the menu, with breakfast being scaled back to weekends. There is a full bar, stocked with quality bottles and 10 brews on tap. The kitchen is new and there are seating areas at the bar, the counter near the kitchen as well as table and booth seating.
There was only a three-day shutdown between the switch, and the new and improved Edison Grill opened on May 21. While the new space was being built, the Edison Grill remained open for breakfast and lunch in what is now the previous space next door.
“It’s a lot bigger and things have been going really well,” Czyz said.
So well, in fact, that the restaurant has grown from eight to 25 employees and shows no signs of slowing down.
The name of the restaurant comes from trying to tie something in to Eastside Electric, which occupies most of the building and is owned by Czyz’s farther-in-law, Greg Mele. Thomas Edison is front and center in the interior with photographs, quotes and other memorabilia of the famed inventor displayed throughout the restaurant.
“It’s catchy, people like the name, let’s go to Edison’s,” Czyz said. “And with Eastside Electric here as well, what goes with electricity better than the lightbulb?”
As far as the menu, the meatloaf, mac and cheese and fresh-ground burgers are among the favorites and Czyz is looking forward to serving those and other Amercian pub food favorites for years to come.
“I love it. You have to love being in the restaurant business and nothing is better than pleasing the customers,” Czyz said. “The quality and freshness of the food is there and it’s what helped get us to this point.”