Interior work continues at former downtown restaurant site

Work is progressing on the inside of the new restaurant and bar that will occupy the former home of Caliente, which closed a few weeks ago.

The new establishment at 127 Center St. is being described as “a gastro-pub” and will be called Center Street Social. It is expected to open on Aug. 1 or soon thereafter, according to John Barounis, a co-owner.

Old wood from a West Virginia barn is being installed on the inside to create a new look. Exposed brick on the inside will remain. A new kitchen and some partition work also is being completed.

Barounis said late last week that tables and chairs to match the new motif were expected to be delivered soon.

Business recently sold to new owners

Caliente Bar & Grill was a Mexican restaurant and drinking establishment that had been opened by brothers Danny and Dave Orazietti — best known for the two Danny O establishments in Shelton — about four years ago.

The brothers had renovated the location of an old biker bar for Caliente. They recently sold the business to Barounis, who owns five restaurants and bars in New York, and Derrick Lee, who has been involved in restaurants and bars in Fairfield County. The Oraziettis still own the building at 127 Center St.

The new owners have said they plan to open a pub-style restaurant offering “comfort food” at the downtown site.

Barounis said they are eager to open their doors. “We want to get the patio going, with the summer here,” he said.

The co-owners said Center Street Social will be designed to attract families with their food menu — it will include a kids’ menu and family-friendly dining area — but also be a place for adults to share some drinks, especially after work and after dinner time.

Center Street Social should offer Sunday brunch, live music, karaoke and a daily Happy Hour, the owners said.

There is a concentration of drinking and eating establishments in downtown Shelton.