BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Palma’s Diner in Bristol is planning to return after a stolen police cruiser damaged the restaurant in January.

Employees at Palma’s Diner on Stafford Avenue want to get back to work. The owner’s son told News 8 that the reopening date would be April 3 if all goes well.

“Obviously, our staff has been with us since day one, and they are very important to us. As much as this has hit us, it’s hit them just as hard,” said owner Paul Palma.

Staff was left picking up the pieces after the stolen police cruiser crashed through the front door while employees and customers were inside.

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For Paul Palma’s family opening this restaurant was a dream come true.

“This is mainly my mom’s business. It was her dream since coming to America to open her own restaurant. She’s worked in restaurants all over the place, local, you know, further away,” Palma said.

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The construction will start early next week for the diner.

“Which is a relief to us other than that, you know it’s been stressful, but now that things are moving, we’re feeling a little bit better,” Palma said. 

Palma told News 8 that the damages might amount to more than $35,000, but he’s paying the staff out of pocket for now.

The city of Bristol is looking forward to welcoming back the diner that has been around for eight years.

News 8 spoke to the chief building official, who said he’s eager to sign off on opening the restaurant after the repairs are completed.

The report below is from Good Morning Connecticut on Feb. 22, 2023.