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June 20, 2024

New CT Children’s parking garage may include ground-level J Restaurant

Brian Ambrose | Hartford Business Journal Jordan Dikegoros, owner of J Restaurant Bar in Hartford, which is closing July 3 to make room for a new parking garage for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

J Restaurant Bar, a fixture in Hartford for 54 years, is working with the developer of a new parking garage for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center to include a new version of the restaurant on the ground level.

“We’re in negotiations right now,” owner Jordan Dikegoros said.” It can be done. It’s just a matter of who foots the bill.”

But the parking garage could take two years to build. He’d like to get a new restaurant started sooner.

“We're also looking at some other options that would get us somewhere sooner, so we may end up with two locations,” Dikegoros said.

J Restaurant property at 297 Washington St., along with several adjacent residential properties, were acquired by LAZ Parking for the new parking garage on Washington Street, across from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center campus.

J Restaurant will close for regular business on July 3. However, Dikegoros said he plans to open for “pop-up” hours during the summer, which will be announced on the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Also, J Restaurant will be available for catering.

The restaurant will be cleaned out by Sept. 1 so construction can begin.

Even with plans to keep the restaurant alive, Dikegoros said it’s bittersweet to leave the building’s history behind.

“It's becoming more and more emotional every day,” Dikegoros said. “We're getting busier as people are coming in for their last fix.”

His father opened the restaurant as a pizzeria, called Pizza Plus, in 1970. Since then, it has grown into a local hotspot serving a variety of casual and gourmet dishes.

Dikegoros said he’s proud to be closing at the restaurant’s peak, after surviving the pandemic by opening a large outdoor patio with a gazebo.

“It's gratifying that we're busy and we're doing our best, but it's also a good feeling we can walk away with,” he said. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We're very proud of everything we've accomplished. My staff has been phenomenal.”

Dikegoros sold the restaurant property to an affiliate of LAZ Parking in January 2024 for $3.75 million.

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