An Italian restaurant is planned for the former Erie Railroad passenger station in Kent and it will have a railroad theme starting with its name.
The new restaurant will be named Treno, which means “train” in Italian. It will be operated by Michael Awad, who owns other restaurants in Kent.
This past week, Kiko and Associates auctioneers sold the equipment and memorabilia that had graced the previous restaurant in the station, the Pufferbelly Ltd.
The Pufferbelly closed Jan. 1 after 35 years in business. Among the artifacts sold in the auction were vintage luggage signs and photographs of trains.
Kevin Long acquired the Pufferbelly in 2008 from the previous ownership that started it in 1981.
“Thirty-five years is a good run,” Long said. “It was just the right time to make a change. I’m going to miss my customers. But the day in and day out of the hustle and bustle . . . no,” Long said with a laugh in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m not gonna miss that.”
Located at 152 Franklin Ave., the station was built in 1875 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Awad said Treno will have a “white table cloth” setting and serve upscale Italian food made from scratch.
He said several changes will be made inside the former station, including leveling the floor to make it wheelchair accessible.
Completion of the renovation work is expected by May. “Everything other than the walls are coming out of here and we’re gonna revamp this place,” Awad said.