Doria’s Restaurant to leave Middlebury location

MIDDLEBURY — Doria’s Restaurant will be shutting its doors for good following close of business on Saturday, April 17, after a two-year run in the Battell Block on Middlebury’s Merchants Row.
Meanwhile, four separate parties have contacted Battell LLC, owners of the building, expressing interest in establishing a new enterprise in the high-profile downtown space.
It was during the spring of 2008 that Jim and Sharon Doria opened their restaurant in the location that formerly housed Amigo’s Cantina. Their son, Josh, headed up a kitchen serving a primarily Italian menu, with some Mexican fare.
Jim Doria acknowledged the business went through some tough times during the recent recession, though he added that things had been on the upswing during the past five months.
“Business had been increasing and the college kids were starting to come down,” Doria said, crediting musical acts with helping to infuse new interest in the spot.
Doria said he had hoped to extend the restaurant’s run in the building, but that Battell LLC had declined to extend the lease.
“It was not our choice (to leave),” Doria said.
Both Jim Doria and Bruce Hiland of Battell LLC declined to cite specific reasons for why the Doria’s lease wasn’t renewed.
News of the restaurant’s departure caused a stir among some of its loyal customers, who recently circulated a letter in the community voicing their displeasure.
“It’s not yet another establishment that caters primarily to college students, nor those ‘from away,’” reads the letter, signed by Lerin Peters, Crawford Blagden, Bob Fitzpatrick and Matt Kardas. “Instead, it’s a place where families, professionals, senior citizens, students, townspeople, visitors — all are welcomed, so a real sense of community exists therein.”
The letter asked people to urge Battell LLC to renew Doria’s lease. That became a moot point last week when the Dorias announced that April 17 would be their last day.
Doria said he and his family have no firm plans at this point as to what they will do next. He said he was grateful for the support the restaurant received during its run.
“I think we got a pretty good, loyal following,” Doria said. “Without these customers, we would not have made it as long as we did.”
Hiland is confident that space will be re-occupied in short order. The location features around 2,300 square feet at the street level, with a comparable amount of basement space. Hiland said three of the four inquiries for the space have been restaurant-related.
“I certainly expect someone will be providing a good community service out of that space in the very near future,” Hiland said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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