After close to 18 years, chef/owner Billy Grant has made the decision to close his namesake West Hartford Center restaurant.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford restaurateur Billy Grant announced Monday that he has made the very difficult decision to close his namesake restaurant, Grant’s Restaurant and Bar, which opened in August 2001.
“This is a very hard moment for me,” Grant told We-Ha.com in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I’m announcing that after 17 years, my brothers and I made the difficult decision to close Grant’s Restaurant and Bar,” Grant said in a statement Monday morning when he first publicly announced the plans. .
On Monday afternoon, Grant told We-Ha.com that this is a “bittersweet moment.” His employees learned of the closing on Sunday and Monday, Grant said, and since the announcement he has received a great outpouring of support.
In January, Grant had announced a new menu for the 977 Farmington Ave. restaurant.
Amid a very competitive and increasingly-crowded West Hartford dining scene, Grant expressed high hopes of bringing renewed vitality to Grant’s with a return to the restaurant’s food-centered roots and at the same time bringing more youthful and innovative flair to the menu courtesy of his newly-hired and talented chef de cuisine, Ashley Flagg.
He said that his lease for Grant’s was expiring and he and his brothers were trying to negotiate new terms, but things were not working out.
It soon became clear to Grant that the best course of action would be to close down the West Hartford Center restaurant, and that it was the right business decision for him and his family.
“This are hard. The Center is changing,” Grant said.
“We’re going to concentrate on the Bricco brand, on what we do best,” Grant said, adding that he hopes to add brunch at both Bricco locations soon.
The immensely popular Restaurant Bricco, located at 78 LaSalle Rd. in West Hartford Center, and Bricco Trattoria in Glastonbury, will remain open.
“I’m blessed, really thankful to the West Hartford community,” Grant said. “We are very fortunate to have had this run [with Grant’s],” he said. And Bricco, which has been a West Hartford fixture for 23 years, was one of the first restaurants to open in the Center as we know it now.
Rather than preparing for the night’s dinner service, the bustle of activity at Grant’s on Monday involved cleaning out the space. Some of the furnishings are being brought to Bricco locations, Grant said.
Grant expressed his sincere thanks to all of his hardworking and dedicated employees. He said Monday that he is doing his best to offer all of his employees opportunities to stay within the organization – including Flagg.
“We would also like to thank all of our customers,” Grant said. “We would not have been in existence for this long without you. There are many of you who have been long-standing customers over the years and your loyalty and support has most definitely been appreciated. We hope to continue serving you at either of our Bricco restaurants.”
Grant said he loves the West Hartford community, and expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Town of West Hartford, his colleagues in the industry, the farmers and suppliers with whom he works, and to the media for supporting Grant’s over the years.
“Even though we are closing this chapter, it is not goodbye and we look forward to our continued relationship in the future. We hope to keep seeing many of you at Restaurant Bricco and Bricco Trattoria,” Grant said.
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Not April fools. Sadly this is true.
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