MIDDLETOWN — In one epic pivot amid the COVID pandemic, Newport Restaurant Group will open a 3,600-square-foot gourmet market named Foodlove in Middletown, perhaps as early as June.

The new business will feature upscale prepared foods, local artisan goods, homemade ice cream, sushi, pizza and more.   

The $3-million project was financed by a silent angel investor, a first for the group, said Paul O’Reilly, president and CEO of the employee-owned group whose restaurants include Castle Hill Inn, Hemenway’s, the Mooring and 22 Bowen’s. 

Investment in Foodlove comes at a time that their business is both suffering and shrinking, O’Reilly said. With restaurant business operating at only 40{09c3c849cf64d23af04bfef51e68a1f749678453f0f72e4bb3c75fcb14e04d49}, there was no option to finance the project in-house, he said. The investor will remain unnamed, he said.