Bishops Corner Business Elmwood The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: December 5, 2016

Maruichi is scheduled to open on Dec. 10. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

It’s December, and West Hartford is definitely taking on a holiday/winter look. Based on the weather forecast, it may even be snowing as you are reading this.

Everything is also looking rather festive (winter doldrums are ahead, but right now the arrival of the winter season has many people excited) and last Thursday’s very successful Holiday Stroll certainly added to the spirit. The Center and Blue Back Square look so beautiful all lit up!

Decorations and lights have appeared on many houses around town as well. When I was growing up my family would always drive around on Christmas Eve and look at all of the lights around our town, and it’s something my husband and I also did for many years when our kids were young. There’s just something so magical about it.

Decorating at our house is partially done. I should say that the part I do, mostly on the inside of the house, is partially (maybe 25 percent) done, but the part my husband does outside is 100 percent done. Unless we’re hit with a barrage of breaking news stories, I hope to get it finished early this week.

In addition to covering the Holiday Stroll and After Stroll (where I even sang a bit of holiday karaoke), I also covered Sunday’s Blue Back Mitten Run where the holiday spirit was on high volume. While I was at the race, my husband was also getting into the spirit, selling Christmas trees at St. James’s Church!

And note to our kids: We are trying to wait for you to come home to get our tree. I should say that Dad wants to wait while I am afraid there won’t be any good trees left.

There were quite a few business stories this past week, and all have been linked below, just in case you missed them!

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:

Maruichi is scheduled to open on Dec. 10. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Maruichi is scheduled to open on Dec. 10. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Build-out is almost complete (I peeked in the window) and Maruichi is preparing to open on Dec. 10! Owners Masa and Satoko Watarai said in an email that the Japanese food store and deli at 37 Raymond Rd. (former Cuvée space) will sell: “condiments, snacks, frozen food, Japanese vegetables, meat, fish, and bread. We will also offer other Asian food such as Korean, Thai, and Chinese. There will be many prepared foods like Una-don (Eel Bowl), Ten-don (Tempura Bowl), and Bento Boxes for the customers to enjoy right at the store.” Maruichi will also offer authentic sushi from Brooklyn’s highly-acclaimed “Taro Sushi” restaurant and freshly-baked bread from Manhattan’s Parissiene Japanese bakery. According to the Watarais, most of what they will sell will be imported directly from Japan, or produced by Japanese companies in the U.S. The majority of the fish and meat will be obtained locally, although some will be flown in from Japan, and will include American Kobe beef, silky pork, and high quality sashimi and sushi. They will also offer the famed Ogawa Coffee, an artisan roast from Kyoto, Japan. The Watarais said that other than a store in Boston and the Fuji Mart they own in Greenwich, most of the products they will be selling are not available anywhere else in New England. There will be a grand opening sale (details to come) and in January the owners plan to also open a cafe that will offer coffee, green tea, green tea ice cream, bubble tea, and more. They also plan to offer homemade Japanese sweets such as An-mitsu, Dango, and Taiyaki. “We are excited to be a part of the West Hartford community and hoping that Maruichi will bring something positive and special to West Hartford area,” said the Watarais.
    Construction is in full swing on the Delamar West Hartford Hotel (note work taking place on Sunday afternoon) with a planned opening in late spring 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

    Construction is in full swing on the Delamar West Hartford Hotel (note work taking place on Sunday afternoon) with a planned opening in late spring 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Last week I had a chance to meet with Lisa Johnson, director of Public Relations for Greenwich Hospitality Group, owner of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel. She said that construction is on track for the hotel to open in the late spring. Johnson confirmed that the West Hartford’s Delamar will include Artisan, the same in house restaurant as the Delamar Southport. Under the direction of Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer, who will also serve as executive chef in West Hartford, Artisan has received a four-star review from the New York Times. Artisan will also include a tavern and large outdoor garden seating area. In addition, Johnson said that the Delamar hotels have become known for having “innovative and very effective” spas offering unique and top-of-the-line products. One other attribute that Johnson mentioned that West Hartfordites are bound to like: all Delamar hotels are pet friendly! Dogs weighing up to 100 pounds are welcome, and the hotel even offers “turn down service” for pets.
  • The We-Ha Vineyard Vines line brings shopping/supporting local to a new level, and just in time for gift giving is now in stock – much earlier than expected – in West Hartford Center at Silver Dahlia (970 Farmington Ave.) and at Blue Back Square’s Ooh La La (80 Memorial Rd.). Items include the Shep shirt, Classic Tote, Tie, belts, polo shirts, and hats for men and women. Those who pre-ordered items should watch their email for pick-up instructions coming later this week. 
  • Holiday season is also a time when many focus on giving to those who are less fortunate, and Anthony Sousa, one of the owners of Blue Plate Kitchen in Bishops Corner, posted the following on the Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford Facebook page last week: “For the month of December, Blue Plate Kitchen is partnering with ImmaCare Inc. formerly Immaculate Conception Shelter for a Winter Coat Drive. Please join us, in helping those in need, stay warm this winter. During our hours of operation, we will be collecting Men’s Winter coats & sweaters. (no, we are not discriminating against age or gender, this happens to be our donation effort this month. Please do not troll me). I encourage you to donate any gently used or new winter apparel to many other drives occurring in our community. City Steam Brewery is hosting a Big Sisters & Big Brothers Drive as well, accepting all apparel and also toys.” Sousa also said that Blue Plate Kitchen will donate a breakfast entree voucher for a future visit to anyone who brings over a coat.
  • Congratulations to Fleet Feet Sports West Hartford – named one of the “50 Best Running Stores in America” by competitor.com. Fleet Feet was the only Connecticut store to make the list!
  • Congratulations also go to several West Hartford restaurants/restaurateurs/restaurant employees who were recognized last week by the Connecticut Restaurant Association. Max Restaurant Group was named to the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame, Julie Francini of Restaurant Bricco was named “Server of the Year,”and Plan B Burger Bar was named “Casual Restaurant of the Year.”
  • Mayor Shari Cantor and representatives from the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce were at BK&Co. last Wednesday officially cutting the ribbon on the new store at 983 Farmington Ave. If you haven’t been there yet, the new store is really beautiful!
  • There were quite a few business stories featured in the past week, including what seems to be very well-received news about Shake Shack‘s plans to open in the redeveloped Sears property in Corbin’s Corner. The entire new development – which so far will also include Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and REI – will be called The Corbin Collection. Click here for the Shake Shack story.
  • Another big story last week was the announcement that Rhonda and Ronnie Zieky, who have owned Sally & Bob’s Eatery since they bought it from Rhonda’s parents, Sally and Bob Dworetsky, in 1983, will be retiring. They sold the restaurant to a young West Hartford couple with plenty of food service experience, and Helen Brower and Cesar Contreras are beyond excited about owning Sally & Bob’s and continuing the legacy. Brower said it’s “a dream come true.” Click here for the complete story. (For those who may not know, my real name is Ronda, and of course I go by Ronni. My maiden name even started with a “Z,” so for me writing about Rhonda and Ronnie Zieky is extra fun!)
  • If you don’t like the isolation of working at home, there’s a new option in West Hartford! John Paul Vasellina opened WeHa Works, West Hartford’s first co-working space, in October. A vibrant community of professionals have already signed on as members. Click here to read more.
  • Finally, ICYMI, The West Hartford Housing Authority/Trout Brook Realty Advisors broke ground Thursday for a large-scale ($2,5 million) renovation of Elm Grove Apartments in Elmwood. The 40 apartments are home to seniors and those who are disabled, and all units will be getting a makeover during the next 10 months. Click here for the details.

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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