After decades nestled on the banks of the Mystic River where patrons enjoyed stunning views, the celebrated, cozy eatery – facing a whopping rent increase – has found a new home, on the Mystic River at the Mystic River Marina.
“When we realized we’d have to move, I’d get so upset, teary-eyed. I’m a water person and I thought that was it. No more,” said owner Florence ‘Flo’ Klewin. “Yeah, I was worried. I couldn’t imagine not being here.”
Kitchen Little has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike for years and years and has seen praised heaped upon it in national and international food, lifestyle, and travel glossies from Gourmet, Yankee and Connecticut to TripAdvisor online.
Last November, Mystic Seaport sold the three-quarter acre swatch of land between Greenmanville Avenue and the River for $450,000 to neighbor Sea View Snack Bar owners Mary and William Botchis' company Marble Realty. Klewin said despite conversations with the new owners, “we just couldn’t come to an agreement… and they tripled my rent.”
“So we knew we’d have to move.”
Broadcast media covered the story, she said, and soon Klewin was inundated with offers.
“I looked at many, many places but nothing jumped out at me,” until she met with the owners of the Mystic River Marina at 36 Quarry Road, Masons Island, which is also home to the now former Blue Door Restaurant.
“We’re on the water and it’s beautiful,” Klewin said. “And we’re going to cater to boat people as much as to our regulars. If someone wants me to cook a 20-pound lobster, I’ll do it,” she said, adding: “We’ll just have to show (regulars) how to get there.”
Located off North Road on Masons Island, the location, while less than three miles away is nonetheless “a little hard to find,” but Klewin’s not worried.
“Our customers are loyal and they’ll find us,” she said.
She said she’s also not concerned that customers may forgo the often long waits, especially in season, for a table. Part of the buzz and charm has partly been the dry erase board outside the Greenmanville venue where patrons had to sign in as they hung around outside the riverfront venue to wait for a table, one of 20-plus the 500-square foot restaurant held.
“The whole (restaurant) could fit in our new kitchen,” she said adding she still believes there will be lines to get in.
“People love us,” she said.
Klewin said she will shut the doors at the old restaurant April 23 and open the doors the next for breakfast at the marina location. And, she said, patrons can look forward to the same famous food and service but “even better.” She will now serve dinners, cater and sell beer and wine.
“Everybody’s so excited,” she said even as she sounded a little choked up.
“Yeah, I’m getting teary-eyed, but it’s going to be great.”