NORWICH – Kozmo's, a new hometown eatery is opening March 4 in downtown Norwich.
The new owners are Savannah Collins and Kris Maiurano. They both have extensively worked in the restaurant business for years and will bring a flair to create a “Deli meets Diner” atmosphere. The restaurant's location is 23 North Broad Street, formerly known as Garf's.
“Kris and I have always worked for other people, running other restaurants. I’m originally from Sherburne and worked at the D and D Diner. I was cook and managed the back of the house, hiring and making sure the line goes well. We've wanted to run our own restaurant for some time. We love food and enjoy serving the community. We talked about owning our own restaurant for a long time and then saw the for rent sign in the window of the old Garf's. Kris and I decided to make this happen, if we could,” Savannah said.
Kris is from Norwich and worked at the D and D Diner in Sherburne . He also worked at Mexican restaurants, Luna Loca and Casa Del Sol, in Lake Placid. His work history includes, bartender, waiter, prep and frontline. In addition, he is also a local musician and is in the band called Chaka. He plays piano, keyboard and sings. He met Savannah in 2019 at the Sherburne Diner while he was a server and Savannah was the cook. They fell in love and the rest is the beginning of their foodie story.
John Stewart recalled, “It took awhile to meet up with Savannah as she was working a lot of hours, Kozmo was acting up and a couple meetings were rescheduled. I was like, man do I remember those days. But finally, we met. I asked who she was with and she told me Kris Maiurano. Oh, what a small circle. Kris worked for me a few years and I also remember coaching him when he was on the 1992 -1993 swim team. I was a spring board diving coach at the time. My father's brother married a Maiurano, so my aunt Kate is also Kris's aunt. So, Kris and I have connections that go back a little further.”
John Stewart owned the restaurant, formerly know as Garf's. His mother originally purchased Garf's in 1992 and John ran it from 1992 to 1999. It was in 1999, John bought his mother out and at that time also bought the building. From 1999 to 2019 he and his wife ran Garf's. They raised three children there and all worked in the business. It was definitely a family based operation.
After COVID and a most recent resolve of Tex Mex, the time had come for John and his wife to find new owners to run the business. They had many people interested. What they were looking for was someone with food experience and local based, keeping the corner what it was, while also envisioning what they wanted it to become.
“Going back to the 1950's, Garfield Prindle was the gentleman that ran this establishment and it was called Prindle's Ice cream Corner Store. A local corner place. Soda fountains were in most stores in town. If Norwich won the football game and played for the football team, you could come to Prindle's and get a free milkshake.” Stewart said.
“Although his name was Garfield Prindle, nobody said let's go to Prindle's, everybody said let's go to Garf's. And so, that's how the name evolved into Garfs.” He added, “I don't want to be nostalgic about it but with Kris and Savannah coming in, they're raising a family, they're bringing a true family element into this place.You're going to watch Kozmo grow up right in front of your eyes. They are the perfect fit for continuing the tradition of a family owned business.”
Stewart continued, “I think really that this is the path for Kris and Savannah. They're foodies, ya know they're in the business. They understand it. They're local. They understand the commitment to the community. The things they want to bring in are community based. I think they have all of the right elements to it and hopefully this will give them their best run.”
“We've been working with the health code department to meet 2023 health codes and making changes so that everyone is comfortable with the circuits and motors are performing and functional. Everything in here is new. We're still waiting on a few parts for the espresso machine. It's going to take a hundred days to get it. Talk about those supply chain issues.” Point being, this place will be will be as good as it can be so Kris and Savannah can concentrate on making food, customer service and getting this place going.” Stewart said.
Savannah said, “Kozmo's is named after our 18 month old son. I figure he will be here all the time with us, so it seemed appropriate to name our new eatery after him. My additional children's names and ages are Madi, 14, Ryker, 16 and Gabrielle, 18. They will all work a little to help out but are still in school and school comes first. We're almost entirely family owned and operated. I'll hire outside staff for additional support.”
Thumann's Deli meat will be a part of the menu and picked up fresh from New Jersey. Affordable vegetarian, gluten-free options and homemade soups will also be offered. Additional menu choices aren't yet disclosed but will be released on February 28th on Kozmo's facebook page.
Maiurano said, “Breakfast is going to be our specialty. We've taken our experience and love of food and what people really like and created our own amazing menu. Plus, we're considering adding an open mic night once we're established, so thats another idea we have.”
“John Stewart has offered this great opportunity and has worked with us, supporting our efforts and overseeing the projects at hand. So many family and friends have stopped in to help and we’re so thankful for everyone.” Savannah said.
“We're so excited to be part of the community. We look forward to offering affordable good food . It's really important to us. We want to bring life back to the corner, bring families together and provide a comfortable warm place to sit and read the paper. Also, we're going to showcase artwork from local artists. So, if you're an artist and would like to share your art, please contact us via facebook at Kozmo's hometown eatery.” Savannah added.
Hours will be 7 a.m to 6 p.m. Possibly closing earlier on Sunday. We'll have extended hours in the summer, to be disclosed. A ceremonial ribbon cutting is scheduled for April.