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When the insurance company next door closed, Marie’s Italian Deli owner Karen Smith sprang into action.
Smith called the owner of the Tri-County Plaza, the retail center where Marie’s has served breakfast, lunch and dinner since October of 2012, to get the space. She had a plan to expand and reconfigure the restaurant.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” Smith said.
Smith and the Marie’s crew got to work putting its new space to good use.
Down went the wall that separated the restaurant and former insurance company to make way for added seating for up to 50 more customers. The restaurant’s quaint corner bar was replaced by a full-sized one in the new space. And in the former bar’s place went an expanded bakery for the restaurant’s cakes, pastries, gelato and more.
Smith designed the renovation, taking care to include details like whisk light fixtures above the bakery and a picture of her father and four uncles’ bowling league team behind a bar top made out of reclaimed wood from an old bowling alley.
The whole project took about three months, Smith said, and the Marie’s crew did most of the grunt work. For instance, they installed the brick wall behind the bar themselves; Smith put in the grout using a pastry piping bag.
The added space should help during the busy lunch hours, Smith said, but she also hopes it improves the restaurant’s dinner business. Tuesday nights are usually packed for trivia night, Smith said, and Fridays and Saturdays are typically busy, too, but with the extra seating, full-sized bar, four new beers on tap and additional wine selections, Marie’s now has the space to be a more consistent dinner destination for area residents.
This article was written before the COVID-19 outbreak closures. The restaurant began offering curbside pick-up on March 18 for lunch and dinner. Visit Marie's Italian Deli's website for updated information.