A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I wasn’t sure I would be able to find enough business news to write this column this week, but even though many West Hartford-ites are either on vacation or delivering children to college campuses, there is still plenty of information to be shared.
Yes, I am still on vacation, but also still making sure people are informed about what’s happening in West Hartford during breaks from beaching, biking, and eating and drinking way too much. Many thanks to Joy Taylor, Jackie Palermo, Gillian Hixson, Ryan Keating, and Tom Hickey, whose bylines have all appeared on We-Ha.com while I have been away.
The beach is my happy place, but I witnessed firsthand the power of nature this week caused by Hurricane Gert. Although the storm was about 300 miles offshore from our south shore Nantucket beach and the sun was shining brightly, it created 12-15 foot surf and extraordinarily strong riptides, and just down the beach from where our family was sitting a 40-year-old man drowned.
I’ve been coming to Nantucket for more than 30 years, and although we have been here for hurricanes when no one would dare venture outside, Wednesday was a beautiful beach day other than the fact that the beach was officially closed to swimming due to the dangerous surf.
The tide came in rapidly, cutting the width of the beach from about 150 feet to about 20 feet (really), swamping everyone’s chairs and towels and other belongings (my son’s phone dried out overnight in rice), as everyone backed up practically into the dunes. We watched as in about 15 minutes the water carved a channel that turned into a raging river complete with rapids – fun for boogie-boarders but dangerous for those who weren’t able to hop off before the channel led them right into the surf. One young girl was swept out into the surf and caught in the rip, and both she and her dad, who attempted to rescue her, had to be saved by the lifeguards. They were among the dozens rescued that day.
On Thursday, the beach was almost back to its normal width and the waves were calm.
I’ll be back in West Hartford this week, reluctantly leaving the beach and sadly facing the end of summer as we move Sam back to UConn on Saturday and both kids start the fall semester on Monday.
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:
- There’s not yet an official opening set for the Delamar West Hartford Hotel, but an opening date of Sept. 7, 2017, has been announced for the opening of its restaurant – Artisan Restaurant, Tavern and Garden! The West Hartford location will be the third for the award-winning restaurant, which also has locations in Southport, CT, and Newfane, VT. Vegetables and herbs have already been growing in Artisan’s expansive garden, and the opening will coincide with the late summer harvest in the restaurant which according to a news release “celebrates the theme of craftsmanship, combining 18th Century classic Scandinavian design with New England-inspired farm-to-table seasonal cuisine, artfully prepared by Executive Chef and Partner Frederic Kieffer,” who is also chef at L’Escale at the Delamar Greenwich. Other Artisan collaborators include Rick Wahlstedt, restaurateur (owner of L’Escale in Greenwich, as well as Le Bilboquet, Japonais, and Le Colonial), and Charles Mallory, founder and partner of the Greenwich Hospitality Group. The “unique and innovative casual fine dining restaurant” emphasizes a “garden-to-plate” experience. The 1,500 square foot garden and pergola will offer outdoor seating for 70 – 30 seats under the shaded pergola which in the evening will be lit by mason jar pendant lights and 40 seats in the romantic lantern-lit garden. Inside there will be seating for 30 in the cozy and casual Tavern and 50 in the casually-elegant main dining room. The private dining “Copper Room” seats another 16 people. Look for a feature story coming soon with much more information to come about the menu, which is described as “New England-inspired cuisine “influenced by the rhythm of the seasons and farmstead offerings, delineated on the menu by source – The Garden, The Mill, The Sea and The Land.” Chef De Cuisine is area native Chef Tom Kaldy (who has years of experience with the management team at Cavey’s in Manchester, CT) and General Manager is Bruce Ballet, known for his expertise in the industry and years of management at the former Besito Restaurant in West Hartford. Director of Operations is Hicham Amaaou, most recently of Artisan Southport.
- I’ve got some more food news to share, but before doing that I wanted to remind everyone to vote for the Best of West Hartford! This third annual competition is underway, and many local businesses have been doing a good job trying to engage their customers in the process. There are a few weeks left to vote, and you can easily do it from your smartphone so being on vacation is no excuse for not voting! Click here to vote for your favorite local businesses, and for more details.
- Back to food, an update on Vaughan’s Pies & Pints which is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. for lunch and dinner as well as Sunday from 3-9 p.m. In addition to pizza (and pints!), Vaughan’s, located at 968 Farmington Ave. (in the Brace Road parking lot) serves a great selection of salads with house-made dressings and some great appetizers/small plates like sliders, the Mediterranean platter, burrata, wings, and ceviche. More food photos can be found below!
- If you’re looking to do a bit of shopping this afternoon and support a good cause at the same time, it’s the second annual “Max Classic Boutique” at the Hartford Golf Club from 4-7 p.m. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner will be served and merchandise will be available from Coco Lilly, Elyse Ryan Jewelry, The HodgePodge, Hope & Stetson, I Heart Eyewear, Initial Reaction, Smathers & Branson, Soulshine Embroidery, and more. A portion of each purchase benefits the Max Cares Foundation. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.
- Renovations have been ongoing at the American Legion on Memorial Road, which has been closed since early June as the space is being transformed into Flora. Chef/owner KC Ward (who also owns the Rooster Co. in Newington) said that things are moving along with the construction and Flora’s scheduled opening date is now Oct. 1. Click here to read more about the restaurant.
- I’ve been following up on two LaSalle Road eateries scheduled to open very soon. Look for news on Icy Rolls and Division West coming very soon!
- West Hartford’s Home Depot is getting a bit greener as it becomes one of three of the chain’s Connecticut stores (and one of 50 nationwide) to add solar panels to the roof. According to the Hartford Business Journal, the approximately 1,000 rooftop solar panels which will be installed will reduce electricity demand by as much as 35 percent per year.
- ICYMI – Zaytoon’s Bistro opened last Friday at 165 Park Rd. (just east of Oakwood Avenue), and offers fresh and distinctive Mediterranean food. Click here for the complete details.
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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Building a hotel on the banks of Trout Brook and calling it Delamar sounds a bit pretentious.
It should be called “what you get when a developer promises you green space”, but in a different language, of course.