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New businesses move into space formerly occupied by Café Paragon

Chase Bank extends its service to College Hill, locating on 234 Thayer this summer

The Ocean State’s first Chase Bank is coming to Thayer this summer — but that’s not all. In the space formerly occupied by Café Paragon, Brown students will have access to all their basic needs: the bank, current occupants Vivi Bubble Tea and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, an upstairs space with student housing and a shop that sells glass wares.

Chase Bank’s move into 224 Thayer Street is a part of the company’s retail expansion into the Greater Boston area, wrote Carolyn Evert, vice president of northeast regional communications for JPMorgan Chase, in an email to The Herald.

“We are actively hiring for our Providence branches, and we expect to have two branches open by the end of 2019, with a total of 12 branches in the next few years,” Evert wrote.

JPMorgan Chase recently added bank branches in the greater D.C. and Philadelphia areas and plans to have “approximately 30 percent of branches … in low-to-moderate income communities,” according to a company press release about its New England expansion.

“New branches will include modern design elements and feature open, collaborative spaces with ample room for meetings and ‘Chase Chats,’ a new series of small group sessions focused on financial health,” the release described.

The bank will join nearby Santander and Citizens Bank branches, which are also easily accessible from campus. The University was not involved with the bank’s opening near campus, wrote Brian Clark, director of news and editorial development, in an email to The Herald.

The Mitrelis Family Limited Partnership, which owned Café Paragon and currently owns 224 Thayer and Andreas’ down the street, plans to remain involved in the building by developing the remaining space for both housing and retail use, said Tammy Mitrelis.

The housing is intended for students and will have shared kitchens and bathrooms, Mitrelis said, adding that pricing will be “probably competitive with the neighborhood.”

A “glass gallery” or smoke shop will also occupy a part of the building, Mitrelis said. It will be the third such shop within a few blocks, joining Kind Connection and Spectrum India, which also sell glass wares.

The Mitrelis family has a long relationship with College Hill. Paragon first opened in 1994 before closing summer 2018, after two decades in business. According to their website, the restaurant had earned accolades for “Best Burgers, Best Salad and Best Octopus,” from Rhode Island Monthly and the Providence Phoenix. Before Paragon opened, the family had also owned a restaurant called Spats, which was previously located within 224 Thayer.

During the past five years, Kartabar, Au Bon Pain, Nice Slice, Shanghai and Johnny Rockets are among the establishments that have closed on Thayer.  Many of those spaces now host new tenants, such as By Chloe and B. Good.

Rémy Poisson ’22 , who grew up in Providence, said he was sad to see the restaurant close. “I went in high school a lot, they had really good french fries. I usually would go in the summer because it was nice to eat outside, and they had these little chairs outside.”

“It’s one of the last of a dying breed on Thayer Street, it’s a restaurant, … we’re kind of in short supply now. As for menu items, their baked ziti was absolutely delicious,” said Jack Wrenn ScM’18 GS.

“I was under the impression that they were renovating. I held out hope. I only discovered they were actually closing last week,” Wrenn said. “I loudly lamented it … ‘No, my baked ziti!’”

A previous version of this article incorrectly named Jack Wrenn’s degree as MA’18 GS. In fact, he is ScM’18 GS.


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