A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m going to keep my introduction brief today because as I write this it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and my husband is a huge Patriots fan, and we are having some family and friends over to watch the game.
Today I’m really missing my son – who is the biggest Pats fan in the family – and would probably have filled the basement with his friends to watch the game. He assured me that despite having an exam coming up Tuesday in his toughest class, he’s watching the game with his UConn friends.
As you read this many of you will be in that post-Super Bowl stupor, perhaps even taking a “mental health” day off from work.
How about the ads? I really like football, but like many people I also really like watching the Super Bowl commercials. A few have already been posted on social media and I have really enjoyed several of the previews. Please let us know your favorites in the comment section below!
If you have tips about businesses opening or closing, or doing something worth sharing, please provide that information in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
Here’s this week’s Buzz:
- Have you noticed the activity at the former Coldwell Banker location on LaSalle Road? Jimi Brahimi – a former sous chef at Max’s Oyster Bar – has teamed up with his brother-in-law Ermal Caushi (former general manager at Peppercorn’s) and the two will be opening Division West sometime this spring. More details on the restaurant will be available shortly, but according to Brahimi it will be an “American bistro.” There will be a large bar area and restaurant seating on the main level, and additional seating on the lower level. Director of Community Services Mark McGovern noted that it’s remarkable how many spaces in West Hartford are being turned into restaurants from other occupancies, requiring extensive build-out and investment.
- Two of the events that to me have always signaled that spring is around the corner are 1) pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training (next week!) and 2) the re-opening of Rita’s for the season. According to Rita’s Facebook page, Italian ice and custard will once again be available on Friday, Feb. 10! Rita’s is located at 1134 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood.
- I haven’t been able to find out where this store will be located, but it’s on the company’s website and I have gotten confirmation from a very reputable source that Rambler’s Way plans to open in West Hartford sometime this year. Rambler’s Way is a “sustainable” clothing company, with products made in America from “ethically-sourced” wool and cotton fabrics. The company was founded by Tom Chappell – former owner of Tom’s of Maine. I’ll provide more details as soon as I can!
- Chick-fil-A will have its grand opening on Thursday, including a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce at 9 a.m. Some hardy “chikin”-loving fans will be camping out beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday as part of the company’s “First 100” event. Guests hope to be one of the first 100 guests through the door, and will be rewarded with free Chick-fil-A meals every week for a year. Participants must reside in specific zip codes surrounding the restaurant, and a complete listing of eligible zip codes and rules can be found at www.chick-fil-a.com/Locations/Openings. To read more about the West Hartford location and Owner/Operator Daryl Jackson, click here.
- ICYMI – Ocho Café will be opening in the former Bertucci’s space in Bishops Corner. Owner Edgar Brambila said the Mexican Restaurant will be open before Cinco de Mayo. He’s shared his plans for the menu and decor, and those details can be found by clicking here.
- The Town of West Hartford was successful in its case to obtain an injunction against Los Imperios last week. A Superior Court judge ruled that higher fines can now be assessed if the establishment sells liquor by the bottle – and she also clarified what “by the bottle” means. However, to the best of our knowledge Los Imperios has not reopened since being forced to close on Jan. 27 due to a Department of Labor stop-work order related to workers’ compensation insurance and other employment matters. Click here for more information.
- There has been plenty of discussion – and opinions voiced – about the future of the West Hartford Center’s central business district. Two separate forums will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7 (6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) at Town Hall for the public to provide input as part of an ongoing process with a working group of business owners, town officials, and residents. There is also an online survey that can be completed. If you have a strong opinion, make it known before a new zoning ordinance change is submitted to the Town Council! Click here for more details.
- Congrats to Hughes Health & Rehabilitation! The long-term and acute-care facility has received so many awards for quality care that it has been honored by the Town of West Hartford as well as the state. Click here for more information.
Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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