Victoria’s cooking up a new look celebrates 23 years with a makeover
By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
“When life throws you lemons, make limoncello.” – Victoria Connolly
When life throws you COVID and road construction, it’s a good time to remodel. That’s just what Victoria’s Delights is doing this summer.
“It’s like heavy redecorating, it’s not really any construction,” shared owner and founder Victoria Connolly. “I always had a dream of what I wanted it to look like, I just didn’t have the resources.”
Her vision is to capture the feeling of Paris bistro in the intimate space of the historic 1875 building at 12 S. Washington St. “We really want to be true to the age and style of the building,” she said.
First of all, they’ve removed the plaster off the walls to the original brick. She’s also refinishing the original tin ceiling, changing the flooring, painting, upgrading the furniture, redoing the kitchen and replacing equipment. These changes will help fix some acoustic issues and improve the overall atmosphere.
She doesn’t want to reveal too much else, to keep an element of surprise for regular customers.
“It was time for a fresh look. After 23 years, this is my last redecorating and remodel job, this is my grand hurrah. It should last me until I’m ready to retire.”
Victoria’s opened in August, 1997. Preferring not to live beyond her means, she started out small, buying tables and chairs second hand here and there.
When she heard the M-24 construction project would be tearing through downtown, she recognized it was her opportunity to make it the restaurant she had pictured in the beginning. Nothing could have prepared her for COVID-19 though.
“All I can say is it’s a good thing I’ve been in business 23 years. If I was a young business, I don’t know if I would have been able to survive this.”
On the bright side, both happened at once. “I couldn’t have done Covid one year and the road construction the next year.”
Since she knew the construction was coming, she had some time to prepare, and she thinks that gave Oxford restaurants, paradoxically, a small “advantage over restaurants that weren’t expecting such a drastic decrease in sales.”
Since they were not able to do much seating in the little restaurant, she started the work a little earlier than planned and expanded the scope of the project slightly.
She plans to reopen in mid to late September. “Hopefully we’ll be able to welcome all our guests back. If not, we’ll do limited seating until we can seat to capacity, and we’ll go back to doing our takeout.”
In the meantime, she’s still doing takeout and seating reservation only at her Goodison (Rochester) location, Victoria’s Reserve at 4505 Collins Rd.