By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Oct. 15, 2020) The owner of Boxcar40, an American restaurant, is scheduled to open a second location in downtown Berlin in mid-December at 104 N. Main St, depending on permitting.
“I’ve always wanted to own a restaurant in Berlin, and I love the town. I love the people,” said Paul Suplee, the chef and owner. “The opportunity came up and I could not pass it up.”
Suplee takes occupancy of the former DiFebo’s location on Nov. 1.
Boxcar on Main will be open six days a week for lunch and dinner as well as for brunch and dinner on Sundays.
Suplee said that the Berlin restaurant will be different from the Boxcar40 on Gumboro Road in Pittsville to encourage people to visit both locations.
Boxcar on Main will not have the barbecue foods famous at the Pittsville joint, but it will feature an American style menu with Southern cuisine.
“We have a nice menu of food coming out of that wood oven,” Suplee added.
Although DiFebo’s was known for its woodfired pizzas, Suplee said he will not be adding them to the menu.
Suplee plans to redecorate the interior of the restaurant, hang new chandeliers and paint before opening.
“I’m going to do two grand openings. The first is going to be for downstairs and regular service,” he said. “The upstairs will be open for parties and banquets. I’m going to build the upstairs out to be a very lounge-y bar.”
He envisions an intimate upstairs bar, where local artists can perform acoustic music.
“I’m going to really concentrate on the a la carte in Berlin and using the party space upstairs,” Suplee said.
Wedding and event catering will continue to be run out of the Boxcar40 Pittsville location, he added.
Suplee is also an associate professor of culinary arts at Wor-Wic Community College and a contributing columnist at Bayside Gazette for 15 years.
“I love Paul. I’ve known Paul for years, and I think it’s going to be a great fit,” said Lisa DiFebo-Osias, one of the owners of DiFebo’s. “I’m looking forward to his opening.”
DiFebo’s had its last dinner rush on Main Street Saturday night.
“I’m in California [on business], so I wasn’t even able to be there,” DiFebo-Osias said. “My [general manager] said ‘We’re really doing good work. Are you sure you don’t want to stay?’”
The Italian restaurant closed its doors in Berlin after three years.
“I found myself spending less time there since my son is no longer a student at Worcester Prep, and so it was becoming harder and harder for me to manage the distance,” DiFebo-Osias said.
She added that it is about a 35-minute commute to Berlin for her.
“For those that know DiFebo’s know that my family and I are always on property. Always. There’s never really a time where we’re not in the restaurant, cooking, serving [and] bussing,” DiFebo-Osias said.
About three months ago, the Bethany and Rehoboth restaurants were busy, and DiFebo-Osias wasn’t able to commute to Berlin to help her staff at that restaurant.
“I knew that my lease was coming to an end, and I had to go into a different direction,” DiFebo-Osias said. “I cannot have my name on a building that I was not physically able to get to.”
She added that she loved Berlin and those her restaurant served.
“I’m very proud of the work we did in Berlin,” DiFebo-Osias said. “I’m proud that we took a restaurant that might not have been as popular maybe and we produced great service, great food, excellent pizzas – not perfect ’cause no one is. But we really did a great job. I felt like we brought that space to life.”
The co-owners, Lisa, Jeff, Charlotte and Bob DiFebo, issued a statement on Facebook on Oct. 7: “We are so grateful for the opportunity we have had on Main Street. Please continue to support our Bethany and Rehoboth [Delaware locations] as well as our newest culinary adventure.”