SALEM — The restaurateur behind Tuscan Kitchen has submitted plans for a market and cafe for one of his several Depot properties.
"It's sort of an offshoot of Tuscan Kitchen," Joe Faro said, "where we'd make all the products that are served in Tuscan Kitchen, and you can see them make it, and you could also buy it to take home."
Faro showed the Planning Board his vision for Tuscan Market earlier this month, planning director Ross Moldoff said. The market would be located in the former Craftmania building on Willow Street.
Planners last year approved Tuscan Kitchen, the restaurant Faro opened in November at Main Street and Route 28. With it, they approved Faro's use of the Craftmania building, one of several parcels he owns in the area, for a warehouse and kitchen.
But now he is proposing taking 4,000 square feet of the building, facing the restaurant, and making it into a market and cafe. The rest of the building would be a warehouse and a kitchen where workers would make bread and other items served at the restaurant and sold in the market.
The market would keep with the open theme of Tuscan Kitchen, Faro said, where patrons can see food being made. At the cafe, people could order homemade gelato and panini sandwiches, he said.
"We are hoping to be open before the end of the year," Faro said. "A lot of that really depends on, obviously, the planning process."
The bakery, now located in the basement of Tuscan Kitchen, would move into the Craftmania space, Faro said. It would be replaced with a 50-seat function room called The Wine Cellar, he said.
"You'll have over 3,000 bottles of wine in the room with you," Faro said. "It's all stone and wood, a very, very pretty event room."
The board first reviewed the plans on May 10 and will review them again June 14, Moldoff said.
"He's going to very much upgrade the building," he said.
Early conceptual plans showed Tuscan Market as a freestanding building, part of a multi-phase project called "Tuscan Village."
Faro said the plan for Tuscan Market was phase two of his development of the area — with mixed-use retail, residential and office space, along with a small park called Tuscan Villa, to come.
He said he plans to work with the town to redesign the Pleasant Street signal as part of his development in the area.
"We're in the process of finalizing those plans, too," he said. "That's very exciting."
He also plans to work on the portion of the rail trail that runs through his property, he said.
Faro's plan for mixed-use development would fit with the vision Planning Board members have had for the area. They proposed a zoning overlay that would encourage mixed use, pedestrian-friendly development. Voters overwhelming passed the ordinance in March.
"The overlay zoning is very nice," Faro said. "It kind of promotes that downtown feel, so that was actually very nicely done."
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