It’s been 18 years since Tuscany Grill opened on College Street in Middletown, and the women behind the business are still innovators in the downtown renaissance. After closing for extensive renovations, the restaurant has reopened and is ready to show off a new look.
Tuscany Grill is owned and operated by sisters-in-law Brenda and Lynne Reilly, who began building their business and their brand in 1984 with Brenda’s brother and Lynne’s husband, the late chef and restaurateur Tim Reilly.
The two women built their lives and raised their families amid the growth and development of the family heritage of serving fine food at a fair price in Middletown.
That tradition started in 1937 when grandparents Anthony and Rose opened the Rose Garden Restaurant on Stack Street. They went on to own and operate the Cabin Restaurant in Meriden from the 1960s to the 80s.
Meanwhile Brenda and Tim’s mother, Catherine, opened the Banana Boat restaurant in Vero Beach, Florida in 1979, with Tim as the head chef.
Five years later in 1984, Tim, Brenda and Lynne Reilly went out on their own, opening J.T. Reilly’s in Portland. They quickly expanded into the catering and banquet business.
In 1995 they pioneered the revival of downtown Middletown with the opening of Tuscany Grill and were instrumental in its development as the dining destination of Middlesex County. As the family grew so did the business and a second restaurant, Baci Grill in Cromwell, opened in 1999 with expanded facilities for banquets.
Living a life of happiness and success, tragedy struck in 2009 when beloved brother and husband Tim lost his five-year battle with cancer. The women mourned their loss and committed to carrying on the family business.
Tuscany Grill is now 18 years old and like every girl who gets to a certain age and needs a little work done, it was time. Brenda and Lynne embarked on a restoration and rejuvenation project and after closing for construction, have reopened Tuscany Grill with a facelift of sorts that includes new paint, equipment, furniture and flooring.
In addition, Tuscany Grill patrons’ much-loved big oval bar – great for food and beverage consumption as well as for checking out old friends and maybe new ones – has been refinished and is looking good.
Both Tuscany Grill and Baci Grill are owned and operated by Brenda Reilly and Lynne Reilly, and General Managers are Ruth Shea and Meghan Wrinn.
There are more women involved in the business representing a fourth generation of the family: Lynne’s daughters, Erin Reilly and Kelly Reilly; and Brenda and Lynne’s nieces, Maeve Reilly and Clare Reilly. Brenda’s daughters, Mariah and Isabelle, are also planning to join the fold.
“Tuscany Grill and Baci Grill are run on Girl Power,” the owners said.
For more information, visit www.tuscany-grill.com or call 860-346-7096.