There’s a new addition coming to the streets of downtown Milford

Touch of Italy, an Italian restaurant, is moving into the old M&T Bank building at 1 NW Front Street.

Larry Pack, spokesperson for the restaurant, said this was an opportunity the company couldn’t pass up. They were looking for a chance to expand the restaurant’s operations to the southern parts of Dover. And with Milford in the midst of revitalizing, they thought this was a perfect time to do it.

“We felt that we could not only build a successful restaurant but it would fit in well with the community of Milford,” Pack said. “

Pack said he expects the restaurant to open in October. He said they were impressed with the building being a well-known rendezvous point in the city.

“If I were to say meet me by the Wilmington Trust everyone knows what that means,” he said. “We feel that our guests will find us convenient at that location.”

The old M&T Bank closed its doors April 2015.

Shupe said the city started working with Touch of Italy when he reached out to Bob Ciprietti, one of the owners of Touch of Italy.

“I called Bob and offered him a chance to come here and tour downtown,” Shupe said. “I probably had Bob up here three times taking a tour of downtown Milford.”

During the course of one of those tours Shupe told Ciprietti’s about M&T’s plan to close the bank.

Once they move in this will be the fifth Touch of Italy restaurant in Delaware. The Touch of Italy started with a bakery in Rehoboth Beach eight years ago. The first full service restaurant was built seven years ago.

There are also locations in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach.

Pack said plans are in the works to move their bakery and commissary facilities to Milford, which will be located within a mile of the restaurant.

Pack said he’s expecting the move to help the company and the city.

“You have the new hospital so we’re lucky to come into a place where we see the growth in the town,” he said. “And we hope we can contribute to the growth of the town which in turn contributes to the growth of Touch of Italy.”

City Manager Eric Norenberg agreed with Pack.

“It’s a key corner in downtown Milford and it’s a very prominent building so to have that building vacant for very long was a concern to the city,” he said. “We’re glad that a well-known and very popular restaurant such as Touch of Italy is going into that location.”

Mayor Bryan Shupe is excited because he believes the restaurant will create jobs and increase foot traffic to the area.

Shupe said the restaurant could create an estimated 30 to 40 jobs.

In addition creating jobs Shupe is confident the restaurant will have a domino-type effect on the community.  By increasing traffic into the city demand for services like food, gifts, clothes and souvenirs will increase.  

“More jobs will be needed because of that foot traffic,” Shupe said. “We hope people will see that huge investment and say something must be going on in downtown Milford.”