Chomp eyes move to Water Street in Warren

Bursting at seams on Child Street, restaurant owner hopes for town approval of move

By Ted Hayes
Posted 4/3/21

Chomp Kitchen and Drinks, which despite its tiny location at 440 Child St. has become one of the area's hottest restaurants, is looking to move into a larger home at Warren's restaurant …

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Chomp eyes move to Water Street in Warren

Bursting at seams on Child Street, restaurant owner hopes for town approval of move

Posted

Chomp Kitchen and Drinks, which despite its tiny location at 440 Child St. has become one of the area's hottest restaurants, is looking to move into a larger home at Warren's restaurant epicenter, Water Street.

Owner Sam Glynn is negotiating the possible purchase of 279 Water St., which is comprised of three buildings at the Warren Town Wharf, to house his new Chomp. As the property lies in the Waterfront Overlay District, it will require a special use permit from the Warren Zoning Board, as well as setback and lot coverage variances. The planning board recommended the project last month, setting up an appearance before the zoning board on Wednesday, April 21.

The restaurant, which would seat up to 60 guests inside and 20 on a patio outside, is one of three buildings at 279 Water St. owned collectively by 279 Water St. LLC. Apart from the warehouse facility that Chomp would inhabit, the other two buildings house the Water Street Cafe and the Muse gallery. A representative for Chomp told the planning board last month that there are no plans to displace those businesses if the deal goes through and Chomp purchases the property.

Instead, Mr. Glynn said, the plan is to establish a more spacious Chomp than he and his staff of 14 have been working in for the past eight years.

"Every year we continue to get busier and busier," he said. "We're bursting at every possible seam. With the kitchen that we have, and the amount of food we put out, it shouldn't work but to our team's credit it does. We would love" a larger dining area and just as importantly, a more logically laid out, spacious and usable kitchen.

Apart from the promise of more space, the Water Street move would make a lot of sense from a business perspective and staying in Warren is huge, he said:

"Obviously, the location's great. And being able to stay in a location that's fantastic and build a restaurant that can withstand the demand we have on a nightly basis is very attractive," he said. "Warren's awesome and it's always been so supportive of Chomp over the years."

Despite the effects of the pandemic, 2020 was the busiest year ever for Chomp. A lot of its growth had to do with delivery and take-out options, and Mr. Glynn said there are no plans to do away with delivery. He is also designing a take-out window that would face Water Street, to better serve customers who want a burger and a beer but still feel uncomfortable eating out.

Before voting eight to one (Mike Gerhardt opposed) to recommend the special use permit to the zoning board, planning board members last month asked several questions about parking in the area. Chomp attorney Cort Chappell told members that parking will not be an issue under Chomp's plan, as the restaurant will take advantage of common spaces allotted it within the Wharf complex, and will add more spaces on its property. Between the two, the restaurant will have enough spaces.

"I believe I can walk you through parking showing we are not going to need a variance, Mr. Chappell told the board.

If the zoning board approves Chomp's application, Mr. Glynn said there will likely be a four-month buildout period, with the restaurant possibly opening to the public by the early fall.

Once the new location is open, the original location on Child Street would close to the public but remain in Mr. Glynn's possession. It would likely be used for wedding catering and other internal restaurant uses, he said.

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