Renovated Anthony Jack’s reopens in Southington, sculptures to be auctioned

SOUTHINGTON – Anthony Jack’s restaurant has had a facelift after a major facelift. Those who miss the old decor have the opportunity to bid on some of them and donate them to a local arts group.

Owners Cheryl Moran and Barry DePaolo said it had been 20 years since they renovated their Center Street restaurant. At the time, dark wood was all the rage and Moran said it was time for a change of look.

“We started from the ground up,” DePaolo said. “We thought it was time to give it a light and fresh look.”

Floors, walls and bar tops are now in a light color scheme. DePaolo said some customers asked if they had expanded the restaurant during the three-week renovation earlier this month. It’s not bigger, he said, but looks like it with the new, brighter colors.

The furniture, order counters and bar are also new.

“They’re amazed when they walk in,” DePaolo said of customers.

One of Anthony Jack’s Friday regulars was Jim Otis. He runs a food truck, The Big Cheese, and is impressed with the restaurant’s food.

“It’s one of my favorite places,” Otis said.

The restaurant reopened on April 13. The owners said they were delighted that the renovations were completed on time.

Sculptures auctioned off

Some of the restaurant’s artwork, such as a painting of DePaolo and his family, is still with Anthony Jack. The owners have decided to donate a collection of metal animal sculptures by Australian artist Aaron Jackson to Southington Community Cultural Arts.

Jackson created the animals from metal oil drums.

DePaolo bought 18 of Jackson’s sculptures years ago. They are now in the storefront of the SOCCA building at 93 Main Street. The group opens its auction on May 1. Interested parties can sign up for the month-long auction at https://southingtonarts.org/index.php/events/aj-artwork-auction-1.

New businesses, downtown improvements

Barbara Heckeler, executive director of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, said downtown landowners and the chamber are working to reduce vacancies in the Center Street area. She’s been encouraged by new businesses that have opened recently, such as Apple Valley Pharmacy on North Main Street and Flourish Nutrition on Center Street.

“That’s really the goal of making a warm central neighborhood,” Heckeler said.

With COVID growing in the rearview mirror, Heckeler said people are ready to come downtown. Existing businesses are responding with upgrades, she said, while new businesses are on their way downtown.

“People are going to be very excited when they see what’s happening in downtown Southington,” Heckeler said.

She described Anthony Jack’s as a “community staple” and was impressed with the renovations.

Journalist Jesse Buchanan can be reached at jbuchanan@record-journal.com.