The transition from Posh Tomato to Goldberg’s Gourmet is complete, and the new restaurant is now open for business.
By Ronni Newton
Visitors to West Hartford’s Blue Back Square will now have a new place to get breakfast, lunch, and dinner – at any time of the day and on weekends into the wee hours.
After doing some relatively minor retrofitting, the space formerly occupied by Posh Tomato at 38-44 Isham Rd. has been transitioned to Goldberg’s Gourmet. There wasn’t a change in ownership, because Chad Kirby and Dan Taskila were co-owners of Posh and already co-owned Goldberg’s.
There was a “very soft” opening with free giveaways while equipment was still being delivered and set up on July 1, Kirby said. Although some equipment is not yet in place, Goldberg’s Gourmet officially opened to the public on July 5.
Assistant Manager Phoebe Rita said that interior changes were relatively minor. The seating area and warm-toned wooden walls are the same, but the soda dispenser has been replaced by a coffee station. At the counter, the clear glass “sneeze guard” has been replaced by Goldberg’s signage.
Goldberg’s has indoor seating for 21, and 16 seats on the courtyard side of the patio – prime seating for outdoor concerts.
“We have new bagel racks made by the contractor,” Rita said. They’re now the envy of the other Goldberg’s locations (1131 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood and on the campus of Trinity College), she said.
What has changed is the menu. “We’ve ‘gourmeted’ the menu,” said Rita, to go with the Goldberg’s Gourmet name. The menus for Elmwood and Trinity will also be updated, she said.
New additions include a larger assortment of salads, including a spinach, kale and avocado salad, a South of the Border Caesar, and a shaved brussels sprout salad. Kirby said he tweaked some recipes that he already liked and tried to make them healthier. So far the new salads have been a hit, he said.
The new menu also includes a Goldberg’s bagel burger, and the roast beef sandwich is now called the “roast beast.”
Hot pressed sandwich additions include sausage parm and a spinach dip panini. Kirby and the Elmwood manager have also developed a new menu item – the potato fritte – which is a hash brown type combination of cheddar, scallions, and mashed potatoes, Rita said.
New items on the available-at-all-times breakfast menu include the “beach body burrito” (egg whites, spinach, avocado, feta cheese, cucumber dill spread, and tomato) and the “blue cow” (over easy egg, roast beef, caramelized onions, and blue cheese crumbles).
Kirby said he’s also in the process of getting equipment for cold brew coffee – maybe even a nitrogen tap. Look for cold brew to be available in the next several weeks, he said.
The Blue Back Square location isn’t large enough for a prep kitchen, so all that is currently being done in Elmwood or at the Trinity restaurant, Kirby said. He’s considered opening a commissary space to do prep work for all three locations at some point in the future. There are also plans in place to renovate the Elmwood location, and to move that kitchen to the basement to allow for more seating.
Goldberg’s bagels are made from scratch, and most of the meats (roast beef, chicken, and pork) are currently prepared fresh in the Elmwood location. The salad dressings are made there, too.
“We’re using the best ingredients that we can. The Italian sausage and beef is purchased directly from the Newington Meat Market,” and deli meats that are not house-prepared are all Boar’s Head, Kirby said.
The fresh ingredients are delivered to the Blue Back location several times a day. The Blue Back location has a panini press, grill, toaster, fryer, and microwave, Rita said.
Goldberg’s Gourmet has extensive hours of operation, and as of now the complete menu is available whenever the restaurant is open. On Fridays and Saturdays they are open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday hours are 7 a.m. through 10 p.m. Kirby said he would consider applying for a permit to be open overnight if the late night business appears to be substantial.
Kirby said that the Elmwood location doesn’t sell much lunch food – only about 10 percent of the business – but salads and sandwiches are already 60 to 70 percent of the Blue Back sales.
For those who are concerned with finding a parking space while picking up take-out or a dozen bagels, Kirby has a solution. “Call in and we will offer curbside delivery,” he said. Orders will also soon be available through the “Tapingo” app, and a quick call after placing that order will allow for curbside delivery, too. An iPad mini with a swipe will process the credit and debit card transactions quickly at the curb, or customers can pay cash as long as they have exact change.
Goldberg’s Gourmet doesn’t have a liquor license right now, but Kirby said he’s considering applying for a license to sell beer and wine if he can find space for the required locked storage cabinet.
“It would be great to be able to put a beer garden in along the courtyard,” Kirby said.
Goldberg’s Gourmet currently employs seven people, and Kirby said they are looking to hire more. Rita and Assistant Manager Abby Smith have stayed on through the transition from Posh, and positions were offered to all of the other former Posh employees as well.
“We’re very excited,” Rita said. People have already had a positive response and are looking forward to the late night option. Goldberg’s in Elmwood closes at 4 p.m. during the week and at 2 p.m. on weekends, so having a place to get a bagel fix later in the day should be a positive.
For more information call 860-967-3783 or visit the Goldberg’s website.
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