The newly renovated Kozeta’s, 597 Bridgton Road in Westbrook, is slated to open in two weeks. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — Owners Kozeta and Mike Dhefto have reopened their restaurant, 2½ years after losing it in a fire.

Kozeta’s, at 597 Bridgton Road, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with pizza and a number of specialty Greek and Albanian items on the menu. Kozeta Dhefto, a Greek immigrant, said it had long been her dream to own her own restaurant and cook.

“We worked two full-time jobs until we could get the restaurant, and when it burned I was devastated,” Kozeta Dhefto said.

Kozeta’s opened in September 2013, closing after the fire in February 2017.

The Dheftos, Westbrook residents, are still working to obtain a liquor license, and they’re also looking for help in the kitchen.

“We need more employees, so we are looking to hire in time for when we reopen,” she said.

While the building is renovated, both inside and out, the menu will include the same items Kozeta’s is known for, but perhaps with a few more soups.

“I have been going back to Greece, and my cousins who have restaurants there, they want me to add more soups, so I think I will do that,” she said.

Dhefto looks forward to being back in her kitchen and cooking.

“I cannot wait to be cooking, it’s been so long since we closed,” Kozeta said. “I know if someone comes and tries our food, they will come back, so I think we will do well.”

Firefighters were called to the restaurant just after 1 p.m. Feb. 6, 2017, by Dan McCarthy, owner of Tickets Unlimited at 591 Bridgton Road, who saw heavy smoke coming from the building, according to the fire department’s report. The Dheftos were in the restaurant at the time, but customers had cleared out 10 to 15 minutes before. The fire, which caused upwards of $250,000 in damages, was contained within 35 to 40 minutes by firefighters, including those from Falmouth, Portland, Scarborough and Windham, who aided Westbrook firefighters.

The fire started in the rear of the building. The fire report indicates “ignition was the result of improperly discarded smoking material.”


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