A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
My husband reminded me over the weekend that we are at the mid-point of the summer.
Summer seems to be so much shorter than winter. It was Memorial Day, and then we blinked and it was the Fourth of July, and now it’s the middle of July and ads are starting to feature backpacks and dorm essentials.
Every time I am tempted to complain about the heat – like when I did several interviews in non-air conditioned locations last week, or when I ran 6 insanely hot and humid miles Sunday morning, I remind myself that I hate the cold.
One of the stories I worked on this past week did involve the cold – and despite wishing I had brought gloves and being tempted to break out the package of hand-warmers that was still stashed in my camera case – it was lots of fun! Can you guess what I was doing in this photo? Story to come early this week!
I won’t share the photo that I made Ted take of me today (because there’s not a good space for it, plus I don’t want to make anyone pass out), but I gave blood for the first time ever on Sunday. For many years I didn’t weigh enough, and I’m pretty close to the minimum right now, but after a few raised eyebrows they let me do it. The finger prick to check my hemoglobin was more painful the the actual blood drawing. It feels so good to have given the gift of life, and I will definitely do it again.
Thanks to everyone who provided suggested outdoor wedding venues near water! Katie and Matt now have a great list and are going to start visiting some places next week!
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:
- I had noticed the sign for “The Hungry Crab” was up earlier this week (1144 New Britain Ave. in Elmwood), and on Thursday morning on my way back from the gym I stopped to take a photo and found the door open. Despite being dressed in my gym clothes (there’s a reporter at NBC Connecticut who I’ve run into while covering breaking news who thinks that’s all I ever wear, and didn’t recognize me when she saw me in regular clothes and wearing makeup), I couldn’t resist checking it out. There I met Jason Chen, who has been managing the popular Cajun Boiled Seafood in New Haven and will be manager of The Hungry Crab for the owner (who lives in California where he also has several restaurants). Chen said there is one more inspection to pass, and opening should be in the next week or so. The Hungry Crab’s menu will be “Asian-Cajun,” a very similar concept to Cajun Boiled Seafood, a fusion of the owner’s Vietnamese and southern U.S. backgrounds, with menu items that include crabs, lobster, shrimp, and crawfish, served with a choice of sauces and at a heat level ranging from mild, to spicy, to “fire.” The concept is “seafood in a bag” – and it’s meant to be eaten with the hands, as well as sliders and po-boys. The West Hartford restaurant will also include a full bar, with beer, wine, and cocktails. More photos of the interior can be found below, and feature story to come as soon as they open!
- The build-out is moving at a rapid pace now, and Donut Crazy has the following message on al of its social media accounts: “West Hartford – Coming Late Summer … (No, Like ….. Really). The same message is even printed on the window of the storefront at 993 Farmington Ave. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to connect with the owner to clarify the exact meaning of “late summer,” but hopefully by Labor Day we will be enjoying Donut Crazy’s insane hand-forged doughnuts and cruffins.
- Work is moving along on Balos Estiatorio, the upscale Greek restaurant that George Chatzopoulos is developing in the former Besito space at 46 South Main St. According to Blue Back Square management, it’s under construction and still in the demolition stage, but the target date for opening is in September.
- I don’t have any details yet, but Health is Wealth Juice Bar will be opening at 74 Park Rd., right next door to Essential Health, which is also slated to open soon in the former Value Office Furniture location at the corner of Park Road and Tobey Street. Thanks to one of our readers for sending me the photo!
- As I said in the introduction above, fall will be here before you know it and we are hoping to build on the sports coverage that Marlon Pitter provided throughout the winter and spring high school seasons. And as much as he likes us, and likes covering high school sports, it can’t be a volunteer job. We-Ha.com is seeking a full-season football sponsorship to ensure consistent editorial coverage of home games for the upcoming season, as well as to sponsor “Athlete of the Week” features. We’re finalizing a flyer right now, but if you are interested (and I can think of some businesses for which this would be a a great fit), contact Marlon at [email protected] or 860-593-9985.
- Taste of Blue Back Square and The Center is Wednesday, July 25, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., in the parking lot in front of the former REI store. Attendance will be capped at 600 this year, and based on past experience where people have been turned away, it WILL sell out. Participants include (as of July 13): Bar Louie, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen, Rizzuto’s Restaurant, World of Beer, The Cheesecake Factory, India Restaurant, Cook and The Bear, Artisan, Grants, and Barcelona, with more to come. APK Charities is the non-profit beneficiary this year. Tickets are $40 each, and there are bulk discounts available. Click here to purchase tickets.
- I had a chance this week to ask Blue Back Square General Manager Robyn Rifkin about Mobile Rescue Tech Repair, after I had seen the sign at 63 Raymond Rd. last weekend. She confirmed that the business has signed a lease, and she said the target opening date is mid-August. Mobile Rescue is a technology solutions business, including cellphone repair. “There’s a great need, and we look forward to having this resource here,” Rifkin said.
- Seen on The Crown Market‘s Facebook page: “Butcher on the Run” is now available. Custom-butchered kosher meats are now being delivered to locations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. Click here for more information on ordering.
- ICMYI, Spaces, an innovative co-working facility, will be moving into the former REI store in Blue Back Square by the end of the year. 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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