Work continues to reopen Kozeta’s Restaurant

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WESTBROOK — The owners of Kozeta’s Restaurant at 597 Bridgton Road plan to reopen in about two months, two years after losing  the popular eatery to an accidental fire caused by a cigarette.

Mike and Kozeta Dhefto operated the restaurant, which specialized in breakfast and handmade pizza, from its opening in September 2013 until the afternoon of Feb. 6, 2017, when the rear of the building caught fire causing upwards of $250,000 in damages.

Mike Dhefto said the restaurant is about two months away from reopening. He intends to keep breakfast, lunch and dinner menus the same, but perhaps offer breakfast only on weekends.

Since it is a rebuild and not a new construction request, the project did not need to be vetted by the Planning Board and was handled administratively within the department, said Linda Gain, administrative assistant for the city code enforcement and planning department. 

The Dheftos will have to get new licenses to operate and serve liquor.

The plan calls the construction of a 2,300-square-foot two-story building with a 1,300-square-foot dining room,  326-square-foot bar and 790-foot kitchen on the first floor with storage on the second floor.

The new space will be similar to what was destroyed fire.

Firefighters were called to the restaurant just after 1 p.m. the day of the fire by Dan McCarthy, owner of Tickets Unlimited at 591 Bridgton Road, who saw heavy smoke coming from the building, according to the fire department’s report. The Dheftos were in the restaurant at the time, but customers had cleared out 10 to 15 minutes before. The fire was contained within 35 to 40 minutes by firefighters, including those from Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough and Windham, who aided Westbrook firefighters.

The fire started in the rear of the building. The fire report indicates “ignition was the result of improperly discarded smoking material.”

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews

Kozeta’s Restaurant, 597 Bridgton Road, is expected to reopen soon after a fire destroyed the building nearly two years ago. The restaurant specializes in breakfast and homemade pizza. 

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