Future of Berlin's Hawthorne up in the air - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Future of Berlin's Hawthorne up in the air

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Questions surround the reopening of the Hawthorne in Berlin. (WFSB photo) Questions surround the reopening of the Hawthorne in Berlin. (WFSB photo)
A letter issued to employees. (WFSB photo) A letter issued to employees. (WFSB photo)
BERLIN, CT (WFSB) -

A well-known restaurant in Berlin has suddenly closed its doors after decades in business.

The Hawthorne, best known for its steaks and banquets, has been a staple of central Connecticut.

Plaques line the wall and salt and pepper shakers remained on the tables, but that could be the last glimpse anyone sees inside the restaurant.

"It was always busy, and every time I drove by there were cars out there and they had conferences going on," said Irene Sulewski of Berlin.

Last week, a sign went up on the door. It said the restaurant was closed for renovations and would reopen soon.

Eyewitness News asked the town for more details and found out that things are not so clear. They revealed a different letter from management that said the doors were closed for good.

"We had a letter that was picked up by an employee of our health department indicating that they were closing," said Economic Development Director Jim Mahony. "Then more recently they indicated they may be reopening on the website, so we're just waiting to hear the news."

The history of the Hawthorne dates back more than 100 years. It started as a restaurant and became an inn in the 1930s. It was a fine dining destination for people traveling between New York and Boston.

The business has been family-owned for decades until a Waterbury company bought it a few years ago.

"The food was very good years ago," said George Steele of Berlin. "My daughter had a reception there, but they keep changing chefs, and maybe it wasn't that good."

Eyewitness News tried to contact the new owners but only received this message: "We start serving at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and start serving Sunday brunch at 10:30 a.m."

Calls to the managers were also not returned.

The situation has left Berlin residents to guess what's really happening behind closed doors.

"I'd be sad to see it go," Sulewski said.

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