A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m certainly not whining about the weather this week!
Sunday’s weather was exactly that San-Diego-perfect type of day that I dream about during the winter – just right for virtually any type of springtime outdoor activity. I drank my coffee on the patio Sunday morning, and had lunch outside, too! All over town I saw people walking dogs, gardening, mowing the lawn, running, biking, and enjoying the weekend.
I took a run through West Hartford Center around noon on Sunday, and restaurants were packed with outdoor diners! I’m sure the business owners are happy to have crowds strolling around again.
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:
- Over the weekend I was able to touch base with Chad Kirby, co-owner of Goldberg’s and Posh Tomato. Although he doesn’t yet have an exact date, Kirby confirmed that permit applications have now been filed and plans are underway to transform the Posh Tomato restaurant in Blue Back Square to Goldberg’s Gourmet. “There won’t be a lot of changes to the Posh Tomato space,” Kirby said. But although the physical look and feel may remain similar, the food will undergo a complete transformation. “We feel that Goldberg’s is a better fit for Blue Back Square than Posh. Blue Back jumped at the idea of having Goldberg’s there, with our reputation,” said Kirby. Kirby said that he’s “very excited,” and once the change is ready to be made, the downtime will only be 10-14 days. One the Blue Back store opens, New Britain Avenue will also get a facelift, he said. Both the soon-to-open Blue Back Square location and the New Britain Avenue location will have the same menu, said Kirby, with some new and different breakfast and sandwich options (to be announced soon) that will augment the classic offerings at both restaurants. Kirby also said that he will likely apply for a special use permit to permit Goldberg’s Gourmet in Blue Back Square to be open from 1 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, to accommodate the late night crowd after the bars close. He said he spoke with the town planner and learned that restaurants in West Hartford are not allowed to be open between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. without a special permit. Kirby said he has no plans to serve alcohol at Goldberg’s Gourmet, but thinks that having food available during the overnight hours would be a great asset. If he can’t get a permit, Kirby said the restaurant will still have some sort of late night hours.
- There has been lots of chatter on Facebook about Moe’s Southwest Grill closing, and this time the rumors aren’t false. However, franchise co-owner Matt Rusconi said he wants to keep Moe’s in West Hartford and is working very hard to secure a new home but “no new location in West Hartford is officially selected.” As to the rumor of the move to Windsor, that will be an additional location, but the West Hartford location is not moving there, Rusconi said. “The only thing we know for sure about West Hartford right now is that our last day in our current location in Blue Back will be May 5, 2016. Cinco de Moe’s.” However, he said, “It’s important to note that it’s not just a matter of ‘if’ we will be back, just ‘where’ and ‘when.’ In the interim, we will still be able to accommodate all catering needs. We’ll have the same number and we deliver, so we won’t miss a beat there,” said Rusconi. We will definitely keep readers up-to-date on any new developments. Thali will move into the Moe’s space at 54 Memorial Rd. in late summer or early fall.
- Let’s just get all of the sad news out of the way … Patrissi Nursery has closed. I wasn’t able to get too many details, but when I called the recorded message on the answering machine said that the business will be “closed this season” although “all perpetual accounts” will still be handled by Tom Calvi. A message left on the machine was not returned. I took a trip down to Ringgold Street, and the space was completely devoid of all product.
- One more piece of sad news: Longtime West Hartford Center business L.C.R. will be moving from 981 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford Center to Avon. A post on L.C.R.’s Facebook page reads: “To take advantage of the move we are offering a huge sale throughout the store. 60% OFF Furniture, Lighting, Art, Accessories, Pillows, Throws, Rugs Gift and Tabletop. So come in and explore while you still can. It’s going fast! And come visit us in our new Avon location late June.”
- Back to good news … Congratulations to West Hartford resident and TIAA-CREF Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Connie Weaver. She is one of eight local women who will be honored at the Hartford Business Journal’s 14th Annual Women in Business luncheon on Thursday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Other honorees include: Kathy Boucher, president, Decker Creative Marketing; Maureen Cooper, COO, Fiduciary Investment Advisors; Jill Rubin Hummel, president and general manager, Anthem Blue Cross of Connecticut; Tara Knapp, vice president of development and public relations, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare; Amanda Mueller, senior vice president and director of public relations and social media, Cashman + Katz Integrated Communications; Mary Jo Olenick, chief marketing officer, The S/L/A/M Collaborative; and Tizziana Weber, director of communications, Pratt & Whitney. “These eight individuals are greatly admired throughout the Greater Hartford business region,” Joe Zwiebel, president and publisher of the Hartford Business Journal, said in a news release. “We are proud to recognize these deserving individuals who serve as outstanding examples for their industries.”
- West Hartford jewelry designer Armen Manukyan, owner of Armeny Custom Jewelry Design, is partnering with the Ron Foley Foundation to assist them in their efforts to raise awareness and funding to fight pancreatic cancer. According to a news release, Manukyan has created a special line of jewelry in sterling silver with rhodium plating, set with natural amethysts because purple is the signature color for pancreatic cancer. The pieces include stackable rings, pendants, and earrings featuring the foundation’s horse logo. The unique pieces will be available at the auction Ron’s Run for the Roses, the Ron Foley Foundation’s signature Kentucky Derby-themed fundraiser that will beheld May 7 at Folly Farm in Simsbury. Click here for more details about the event.
- ICYMI, there were several big business stories this week. Bar Louie had its soft opening on Friday, and based on the crowd that was there on Saturday night, the word is definitely out! The grand opening – “Go Big” – will be held on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23. Go Big will featured discounted signature martinis (Yes, I have already sampled one – the Diva – and it was fantastic!) and an assortment of free appetizers. For more information about West Hartford’s newest restaurant, click here.
- Also ICYMI, plans for West Hartford’s newest mixed-use development, 616 New Park, took a giant step forward last week with the securing of a large share of funding for the $20 million project. The project will combine workforce, veteran, and market-rate rental units with commercial occupancy on the ground floor, and is being developed by Trout Brook Realty Advisors – the development arm of the West Hartford Housing Authority. Located next to the Elmwood CTfastrak station, 616 New Park is also a key element of West Hartford’s planned emphasis on transit-oriented development for the New Park Avenue neighborhood. Click here for the complete story.
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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Disgusted that the Blue Back property management group has dissed the Moe’s folks and so many of us by prioritizing higher end restaurants over an original tenant and their focus on community. Me, my wife and our seven year old feel as if the Blue Back group is not interested in families like us as custumers and would rather open high end restaurants and bars. We feel left out and we are not alone, my guess is that we represent the majority of folks in town about the direction of Blue Back and West Hartford Center.
Jesus, relax. They’re moving two spots down to the left.