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Roman Candle goes to Fitchburg
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Roman Candle, the retro-hip Willy Street pizzeria that has a satellite restaurant in Middleton, is set to open a third branch in Fitchburg in mid-January. The site is the former Kelly's Grille, 2685 Research Park Dr. (near Lacy Road and Fish Hatchery).

"We've previously rehabbed two 19th-century buildings," says owner Brewer Stouffer, referring to the original location and the 1920 Parmenter St. location. "We were excited that this was built in 2004 as a restaurant."

The kitchen will have a Blodgett stone-deck pizza oven installed, and the dining room is currently undergoing a revamp so that it will match the fun, orangey vibe of the other Roman Candles. R.C. will take over the restaurant half of Kelly's; the former bar side will be under a different ownership.

Stouffer and co-owner Tom Cranley believe that this location at the Fitchburg Technology Campus and near several growing Fitchburg subdivisions has the best potential for lunch of all the R.C. branches. The noontime menu will be more extensive here, and staff is currently developing new sandwiches (Italian meatball, Italian beef); Stouffer also envisions daily off-menu "blue plate" specials. Still, pizza will remain the cornerstone.

The space has an 800-square-foot patio area for outdoor dining. Inside, there will be a personal dining room for about 40 that could serve for rehearsal dinners and the like. There will also be a kids' play area within a separate family-friendly dining area.

"We also deliver," says Stouffer, noting it will be possible to reach more areas of the Fitchburg-Verona-Oregon area. The whole area is "vibrant, and there are no locally owned sit-down pizzerias."

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