A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
What a glorious weekend! Yes it was windy, but I will take wind any time it can also be in the 60s or 70s in January in Connecticut!
I hope everyone had a chance to get outside and enjoy the spring-like weather. The Center was crowded on Sunday with people strolling around, eating ice cream, and there were even people dressed in shorts and flip flops. I saw a bunch of convertibles with their tops down, too.
Millie enjoyed a few extra long walks over the weekend, including her first trip all the way around the reservoir (courtesy of Katie, Matt, and his brother) and as I write this on Sunday night she’s curled up in a ball, down for the count. A tired puppy is a very good puppy.
My weekend included watching lots of sports, including attending the West Hartford Day UConn women’s basketball game at the XL Center on Saturday. It was great to see the women bounce back from their loss to Baylor with a resounding victory over Houston. There are two more UConn West Hartford Days coming up and I hope many readers will take advantage of the discounted tickets and support the Huskies.
The depressing part of the weekend was taking down the Christmas decorations and putting the tree out at the curb in time for the second week of pick-up by the town.
Best of luck to my daughter, Katie, who begins her final clinical rotation Monday at the Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine (PTSMC) clinic in West Hartford. PTSMC’s tagline is “PT for Life,” and she is looking forward to working with managing partner Tom Kassan, helping patients regain their active lifestyles.
Watch for the live version of West Hartford Business Buzz on Monday at 11:30 a.m., when I make my monthly appearance on NBC Connecticut’s CT Live!
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:
- Kaliubon Ramen is set to officially open in Blue Back Square (54 Memorial Rd., former INDIA location) on Wednesday, Jan. 22! I got a sneak peek at the inside on Sunday courtesy of co-owner Kevin Xu (also of Ginza Japanese Cuisine in Wethersfield), who is opening the second Kaliubon Ramen location with the same partners involved in the popular Wethersfield location – Raymond Zheng of Ginza group’s Feng Asian Bistro, and Bill Chen, one of the founders of the Ginza group. The inside looks great, with really cool customized ceiling lighting and wall lighting that can change colors and pulse to music with the swipe of a smartphone. “The layout was perfect for us,” Xu said of the space, and although the kitchen has brand new equipment that includes a 10-burner stove and and two ramen cookers that can cook 10 servings of ramen all at once, the footprint is the same as the former INDIA location. The restaurant seats 50, with room for about eight at the slightly expanded bar area that features a sleek new granite top. There are large booths in the back that can comfortably seat eight people, and tables can be added to the end to accommodate even larger groups. There are several 65-inch TVs, one of which shows the menu, another tuned to sports, and a third that can be used for karaoke, which Xu said Kaliubon Ramen will soon institute in the evenings after normal dinner hours. The goal is for the restaurant to be modern and fun, to attract not only a lunch and dinner crowd but also capture the attention of young people later in the evening. “We want to do something different, not just drinks,” Xu said. As for the menu, he said, Kaliubon Ramen will be sticking with and building on what has already gained them acclaim. “We don’t want to be too complicated, and will have the same menu as the Wethersfield location,” Xu said, with the exception being that poké will not be served in the Blue Back restaurant. After a few weeks, some new specialities – Asian tapas – will be introduced. The restaurant has a full liquor license, but will initially focus on a variety of sake as well as wine and draft beer (and bubble tea) before adding a selection of specialty cocktails. Kaliubon Ramen will have about 15 employees, Xu said, and the manager and head chef, as well as two experienced servers, will be moving from Wethersfield to the West Hartford location. More photos can be found below, including some that show the lunch and menu. You can also follow Kaliubon Ramen on Facebook and Instagram (@kaliubonramen).
- After 20 years at 510 New Park Ave., Coastal Tool opened a week ago in its new space down the road at 567-571 New Park Ave., the building that was to have been V-Mart. The new location is closer to the street and much more retail-friendly, with wide open aisles, and warehouse area now in the basement. The business was founded in 1980, and is open to the public – not just contractors. “We cater to the professionals, serious homeowners, serious hobbyists,” mostly those who are doing electrical, plumbing, and other building renovation work, said owner Rob Ludgin, who runs the business with his son, Andy. The tools are higher end, and include hand tools, power tools, woodworking machinery, and related accessories. Coastal Tool isn’t a full-service hardware store, but a tool store, Ludgin said. “We’re really a niche business. We don’t sell nuts, bolts screws, lightbulbs,” said Ludgin, but what Coastal Tool does offer is a high level of personal customer service. Ludgin said they pride themselves on building longterm relationships with their customers, but at the same time offer reasonable prices and quality product. A few photos of the interior can be found below.
- Harry and David had such a successful holiday season at Westfarms that they have extended their lease through the end of this year, spokesperson Amanda Sirica confirmed. Harry and David is located on the upper level near Macy’s.
- Congratulations to Frida (1150 New Britain Ave.), which hosted the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Shari Cantor, and other town officials on Friday afternoon for an official ribbon cutting.
- If you’re planning ahead, or just like to think about things that represent spring and summer, this is very welcome news! Sub-Edge Farm, located on the Farmington-Avon line (199 Town Farm Rd.), is once again partnering with West Hartford’s New Park Brewing for a multi-producer CSA. Farm owner Rodger Phillips, who grew up in West Hartford and attended King Philip (elementary and middle) and Northwest Catholic, said sign-ups for the nine-week “Beer, Bread, Cheese, and Veggie” CSA are now underway. Click here for more information or to sign up.
- The Ron Foley Foundation still has a limited number of tickets (there are 1,000 tickets altogether) for an amazing Kentucky Derby weekend experience valued at $21,500. The drawing will be held at Wood & Tap in Hartford on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Details about the weekend are on the flyer, and click here to purchase tickets or for more information.
- West Hartford-based Xes Beauty Lounge is kicking off its 2020 “Self-Care Wellness Campaign” with a series of informative events. “Many women are dealing with fibroids, infertility, and PCOS,” said Xes owner Evelyn Mason-Miller. “We tend not to talk about these issues because we feel ashamed. Talking and sharing with others going through the same emotional turmoil is important for self-care.” The first event will be Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 6-8 p.m. at the West Hartford Co-Working space at 430 New Park Ave. on the Hartford/West Hartford line, and will feature guest speaker Dr. Ilana Ressler, a reproductive endocrinologist, board-certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, who will provide information and a Q&A. There is free, ample parking available on-site. Call Evelyn 860-233-9377 for more information and to RSVP.
- Congratulations to West Hartford resident Samuel F. Blatt, who has passed the Connecticut Bar Examination and has joined Hartford-based Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. as an associate attorney, representing fiduciaries in the administration of Trusts and Estates. Blatt, a Glastonbury native, received his B.A. in political science from the University of Connecticut where he was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. He then began his pursuit of a legal career, first by obtaining a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from the University of Hartford and through his work as a paralegal with the firm when he was hired in 2014. While working full-time as a paralegal, Blatt enrolled in the UConn School of Law, attending classes in the evening and at the same time working with low-income and disabled individuals as part of the University of Connecticut School of Law Elder Law Clinic. He was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for his work in 2017. According to a press release, Blatt and his wife, Stephanie are self-professed foodies. “They can be spotted frequenting the many amazing restaurants in West Hartford and the Greater Hartford area. Frequently described by his friends and colleagues as an ‘old soul,’ Attorney Blatt’s newest hobby is collecting vinyl records, which he considers to be the perfect way to unwind and unplug at the end of a long day.”
- Congratulations to West Hartford residents Taylor A. Shea and Nathaniel T. Arden. Shea has been elected partner, and Arden has been promoted to counsel at Robinson+Cole effective Jan. 1, 2020. Shea represents privately and publicly held companies in all aspects of corporate and transactional law, including commercial finance transactions, private equity and venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate and commercial matters. She is a member of the firm’s Business Transactions Group and its Manufacturing Industry Team, and is resident in the firm’s Hartford office. Arden, also resident in The Hartford office, advises hospitals, health systems, physician groups, community providers, and other health care entities on a variety of health law and business issues. His practice focuses on health care-related regulatory and transactional matters, as well as health care-related information technology issues. Arden has an extensive background in the healthcare industry, and he worked at a large academic medical center prior to joining the firm. He is a member of the firm’s Health Law Group.
- Sponsorships and participation of the staff and customers at the Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union’s West Hartford branch at 973 Farmington Ave., in support of Kids Camp, Alzheimer’s Hartford Walk, West Hartford Holiday Stroll, and other town events, contributed to credit union’s winning of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award (for the third year in a row) following its extensive collaboration with Channel 3 Kids Camp, an organization dedicated to providing educational camp programs to children across the state, Nutmeg announced in a press release. “Each year, the Dora Maxwell award recognizes a Connecticut credit union that demonstrates a high commitment to community and social organizations,” the release states. “We are honored to accept the Dora Maxwell award for a third year,” said Nutmeg President and CEO John Holt. “Working with Channel 3 Kids Camp has become so much more than just a partnership over the years. It’s an important community tradition that we intend to continue into the future.” The credit union will now move on as a finalist in the running for a national-level award, which will be presented at the 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, DC.
- It’s week two of West Hartford Restaurant Week, and there is still plenty of time to enjoy some great food and support Foodshare – the recipient of a percentage of proceeds from meals ordered from the special prix fixe restaurant week menu at 19 West Hartford restaurants. The three-course meals include dessert, and this photo is of what my husband and I ate at Corner Pug on Saturday night! Click here for details and to access the list of restaurants and menus.
- ICMYI, Balos owner George Chatzopoulos confirmed Monday that the Blue Back Square restaurant (46 South Main St.) has closed temporarily and reopen with a new name and somewhat different concept. Click here for more 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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