By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – The owners of the White Hut restaurant in West Springfield are planning a new location in town.
The establishment would be located at 791 Williams St., the location previously occupied by La Cucina Express and 3 Café.
“It’s very exciting,” Robert Barkett, owner of White Hut, said. “This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a while and when this opportunity presented itself, we decided it was a great opportunity.”
Barkett told Reminder Publications
that the new restaurant, which will be called White Hut Kitchen, would be designed to offer dining options not currently available in Longmeadow.
While there is limited space and seating at the West Springfield location, White Hut Kitchen would seat more than 30 customers with tables and chairs, as well as counter seating.
The restaurant will serve the “White Hut classics” such as hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries, Barkett said, but the menu would be much more expansive, featuring deli-style food such as Reuben and chicken cutlet sandwiches, flat bread pizzas and a breakfast menu.
“This place would fill what we think are some needs in the town,” he said. “There really isn’t a deli in town, a place where folks can go in and get a sandwich. There also isn’t anywhere people can go from 6 to 8 a.m. on their way to work to get breakfast and a coffee.”
In addition to a dearth of deli options within the town, one of the closest neighboring establishments, Gus & Paul’s Bakery and Deli recently closed its doors abruptly.
Barkett said the aim was to open White Hut Kitchen sometime in February. Walter Gunn, Planning Board chair, said he has not yet seen an application for waiver of site plan, however, Barkett said that was in the works.
“The Planning Board doesn’t have another meeting until [Feb.] 5, so we have some time,” Barkett said, adding that the business may also need to get a variance for some aspects of the business.
Barkett said the intention is for White Hut Kitchen to be able to serve alcohol and would apply for one of the town’s five available liquor licenses.
“Given the businesses around us and specifically the ones we would be competing with in terms of price point, we would need to serve alcohol to be competitive,” he said. “It won’t be a bar; in fact the alcohol won’t even be on display. We’ll just offer the option of having a beer or a drink with your meal; you couldn’t just come in and get a beer.”
Town Manager Stephen Crane said he was not aware of a liquor license application for White Hut Kitchen. Barkett said the plan was to apply, but said he was not worried about not having a license at the time of the restaurant’s opening.
“White Hut has been around for 75 years,” he said. “I don’t think not being able to serve alcohol for the first few months is going to ruin us.”