The Schochet Companies News
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Popular Shack restaurant adding Groton to menu of locations
A third Shack restaurant is set to open at Lighthouse Square in Groton, CT. Restaurant owner Russell Han has just signed a long-term lease with the Boston-based Schochet Associates Limited Partnership, which owns Lighthouse Square, a small plaza at 441 Long Hill Road that houses Walgreens and several smaller stores.
Customers want it and by March they'll have it. Owner Russell Han is planning to open a third Shack restaurant in Groton. Han has just signed a long-term lease with the Boston-based Schochet Associates Limited Partnership, which owns Lighthouse Square, a small plaza at 441 Long Hill Road that houses Walgreens and several smaller stores. His Shack Restaurant in East Lyme has been around for 20 years, and J.R.'s Shack in Waterford is 10 years old.
"People have been nagging us for years" to open a restaurant in Groton, Han said Friday morning as he took a break from work to discuss the upcoming expansion.
"We have a lot of customers that come over from the Groton/Mystic area. They travel all the way over here and I just think it's a good fit," Han said.
It may be a recession, but Han is counting on the demand from the public, coupled with a strong, family-run management team and more than 80 employees to make the new restaurant a success as the nation's economic recovery evolves.
"This is a slow time right now, but if I go by my customers and how faithfully they show up, I think we're in good shape," Han said. "I'm very comfortable with all our good help. We'll find out if we're good enough to go up against the 'big boys.' Groton is the home of the national chains, or seems to be."
Groton has several locally owned and operated restaurants on Long Hill Road, including North End Deli and The Spot, in addition to the chain restaurants, said Barbara Strother, the town's economic development specialist.
"We are always excited when we can fill existing space," she said of The Shack's expansion. "We're very excited about this. We think it'd be a nice addition to downtown. They have a wonderful reputation."
In the spring, Han could hire as many as 40 people at the new location, he said.
A vacant restaurant, the former Hong Kong Buffet, will be The Shack's new home, once it's cleaned out and refurbished, said Han and Marc Koenig, a real estate broker for the plaza owner. And the family-run operation that has burnished The Shack's reputation as a homey place to eat is exactly the kind of business Schochet Associates has been looking for, Koenig said.
"We're convinced that The Shack Restaurant is the right kind of tenant," said Koenig. "We want to have a good mix."
Besides the drug store, the plaza has LA Nails, Cost Cutters, Groton Music, Replay Sports, Lost Letters, Quiznos and Verizon.
At the East Lyme restaurant Friday, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Brodie of Hartford and Sgt. Erik Holmes, who work at Camp Rell, enjoyed eggs and pancakes and spoke highly of The Shack, which they visit "every so often." "It's close," Brodie said. "Family atmosphere," Holmes said. "Decent prices ... good food ... friendly," they said, finishing each other's thoughts. Brodie, who's originally from Newark, N.J., summed up the reasons that he breakfasts here. "Like the comforts of home," he said.