HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Carbone’s Ristorante, once a Hartford icon, is returning to the city.

The restaurant spent eight decades in Hartford until it closed because of the pandemic. Now, the owner is looking to reopen in the old movie theater at Columbus Boulevard and Front Street.

The Italian restaurant used to be on Franklin Avenue. That old location still sits there, with antique furniture, old menus and unopened bottles of wine visible through the windows.

The city is ready to welcome Carbone’s back.

“The Carbones have long been a very engaged family here in Hartford, whether it was the political days, or just running the restaurant,” said Michael Freimuth, the executive director of the Capital Region Development Authority.

Freimuth said that the development authority will subdivide the movie theater complex into a new restaurant as part of a $3.7 million project. The renovations on the 11,000-square foot space are expected to be finished by next fall.

The old Carbone’s location received structural damage while it was closed, so it will be knocked down and rebuilt. The preliminary plan calls for 21 apartments that would be over a takeout restaurant and retail space.

The Franklin Avenue project is set to be a $5.5 to $6 million project. The plan still needs to clear financial hurdles and get the approval of the Capital Regional Development Authority.

Vincent Carbone would not speak to News 8 on-camera about the plan because it hasn’t been finalized, but said he’s excited to return.

As for people in Hartford, they’re ready to step back into the old school Italian restaurant.

“Everybody loves Carbone’s,” Shiloh Pandueo said. “It’s delicious. I can’t wait.”