Milford eateries and retailers reopen

MILFORD – Restaurants and retailers in and around the oval have reopened – some of them anyway – as many try to jump start their businesses and the local economy while customers are weighing their options of going to outdoor eateries, shopping and supporting the local retail stores or maybe just getting out of the house for a bit of fresh late May air.

Café on the Oval has created dining in its parking lot; the deck is open at Pasta Loft; and tables and chairs sit outside Bar One and Greenleaf Restaurant.

As customers enjoyed outdoor dining at the Riverhouse Café, next door, at 193 Union Square, there’s been a lot of buzz and construction as owners Chip Pollard and Gage Perry work to complete the soon-to-be-opened Station 101, a taproom heavy on craft beers and pub fare like paninis and “nosh” food items.

Pollard was proud that much of an old filling station’s look was maintained as the he and Gage feverishly toiled to refurbish and re-appropriate the space, saving as much of the history of the landmark spot as possible.

Repurposed doors were used as counters where the shiny new tap system was installed. New coolers have arrived and are ready for installation. A red Pegasus, from iconic Mobile stations of yesteryear, hangs in the lobby window where tires were fitted. And the bar itself has garage doors which open, replicating the feel of an old gas station.

“We’re even going to have fake pumps put in the front, to add to the look of a vintage filling station,” Pollard said.

The location was most recently the site for Payless Towing, but Pollard said he thinks he and Perry are on to something with the retro look, matching much of the original detail, right down to the red and white trim around the building’s façade, the new bathrooms (with classic, kitschy lighting) and new red and white tiled walls to match the outside of the building.

“We left the doorways to wear the old entrances would be outside for the restrooms,” he pointed out. “We’ve closed off those entrances but kept the look. We want to keep the exterior as close as to the original look as possible.”

There will be outdoor seating that looks over the river, and the signage will be prime. In addition to their sign, a throwback to the old auto service stations of the ’40s and ’50s, a huge 16-foot replica will be painted on the cement in front of the bar.

“I’m betting people will love to just stand here in the middle of that sign to have a picture taken,” he said. “This is place is going to stand out.”

Across the street at Pastiche Boutique, (263 Union Square), co-proprietor Rachel Cronin, who owns the shop with Karen Coulters, said business has ebbed and flowed a bit since they fully reopened last week.

“People have been slowly starting to come in,” she said. “It’s a weird time for everyone. People don’t know exactly what to do.”

Their goal, Cronin has said, is to “enhance the creative vibe in Milford.” The store prides itself on customer care and personalized service. They carry unique and current fashion apparel, jewelry, home décor, scents, and accent furnishing.