The building that once housed Melina’s Restaurant at 29 N. Main St. is planned for a renovation to become the new home for Sostanza, an “American-fusion” style restaurant to be owned and operated by Spiros Makris, the owner of Jim’s Family Restaurant, also on Main Street.
Sostanza’s menu is planned to be more upscale than Jim’s, and will include steak, fresh fish, local poultry and fresh pastas, according to Teri Ellsworth, who will serve as the general manager of the restaurant. The restaurant will also feature a spacious dining room and full-service bar area, as well as a menu of rotating specials, which will include unique food items such as elk or buffalo steaks.
Makris declined to comment on the project, but Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy said he has been working closely with Makris and Ellsworth for several months. Dunlavy said only a few more permitting hurdles remain to be overcome before renovation work begins.
“The financing for the project has been approved and is all in place, and all we need to do now is look at and sign their documents,” Dunlavy said. “After that, they will be ready to move forward as soon as possible. Because they are part of the RDA [redevelopment agency], the city is also helping them with incentives, such as facade grants to help fix up the building.”
Dunlavy said the building has been inspected and found to be structurally sound, and old equipment that was once used by Melina’s is being cleaned out.
“Right now, they’re cleaning out the inside of the building and doing an evaluation of the roof,” Dunlavy said. “They’re also checking what needs they’ll have on the inside.”
In a statement released earlier this year, Ellsworth said Sostanza is intended to offer outdoor dining as well as a second-phase project called “Tayst,” which will provide catering and a to-go lunch service. Tayst is expected to take over the old Bevan’s Hardware building directly to the south of the new restaurant.
Dunlavy said he’s excited about having a fine-dining restaurant as a destination spot in the downtown area — especially following announcements that Big 5 Sporting Goods, Gold’s Gym and Sears all plan to establish operations downtown in the coming months.
“We’re excited about new businesses like this one coming in, and in my opinion, I think that downtown is still the place to be,” Dunlavy said. “Sostanza is a great project for downtown.”