Liquid Lunch says thanks to firefighters, other volunteers for efforts

Shelton firefighters and other volunteers were thanked for their efforts involving the Jan. 6 downtown fire with a free meal last Saturday by the owners of Liquid Lunch.

“It was a real nice gesture,” said Echo Hose firefighter Kevin Lantowsky, one of about 50 firefighters who were able to make it to the event.

Liquid Lunch is one of the eight businesses displaced by the Howe Avenue blaze, but it also has other establishments on Research Drive in Shelton and in Milford.

The Jan. 18 event took place at the Research Drive site, which is in the Scinto Corporate Park.

Showing appreciation

“It’s not often you can say thank you to the people who did so much for you,” said Michele Bialek, who owns Liquid Lunch with her husband, Fred.

“This was a way to show our appreciation,” she said. “It was amazing because so many of the guys who were there that morning [fighting the fire] came to the lunch.”

'We're the lucky ones'

Bialek said despite the setback to their business from the fire, she and her husband feel fortunate and appreciative.

“We’re here,” she said. “We’re the lucky ones because we have a business other than the one we had on Howe Avenue.”

In addition to firefighters and other city volunteers, also attending the lunch were a few of the apartment residents who lost their homes in the fire.

Live entertainment, too

The downtown Liquid Lunch would offer live musical entertainment on most Saturdays, part of the owners’ Souper Saturday focus on the local arts.

So the Research Drive event also included a performance by musician Shawn Taylor, a regular at the downtown venue in the past.

“A lot of our Saturday regulars showed up,” Bialek said.

'Mutual appreciation'

Lantowsky helped get the word out to fellow firefighters and volunteers about the thank-you lunch. He said it took some convincing since many firefighters felt bad for the Bialeks due to what had happened to their downtown location, and didn’t want to feel like they were imposing.

“It was all about mutual appreciation and admiration,” he said.

“They lost their shop,” Lantowsky said, “but Michele and Fred weren’t worried about themselves but wanted to help others.”

Lantowsky, a Shelton resident and paid firefighter in Stratford, has been working with Shelton’s public safety director in the aftermath of the blaze to help those impacted by the Jan. 6 event.