A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
As usual, I’m writing this column on Sunday afternoon. It’s a beautiful day – as I can see from my home office window where my daughter is studying (that would have to be in quotation marks for most people, but she’s serious about her grad school program and really is studying) in the sunshine on the patio.
Today happens to be my birthday, and despite Sunday usually being a work day, I’m hoping that I have a chance to really celebrate with my family later today, and perhaps enjoy some time in the sunshine as well.
When you’re a little kid you can’t wait for your birthday to come. It’s so exciting to hit the double digits, to become a teenager, to become “legal.” Twenty-five always seemed like kind of a good age as well, and I also liked turning 30 because I felt like I would be taken more seriously in my job because back then I was one of the youngest in my position as a client executive at Marsh & McLennan.
I don’t try to hide my age now, but I’ve long ago stopped counting the years. You’re only as old as you feel, right? My right knee has been hurting and I haven’t really been able to run much over the past few weeks, but I am hoping that’s temporary and since I’ve been working out at the gym pretty regularly, and joining my husband in doing 20 pushups every night (and not on my knees), I feel overall pretty good and not too old.
It occurred to me on my birthday last year, however, that I had celebrated the last birthday my mother ever celebrated. And just a few days before the Fourth of July last year, I had outlived her. My mother, who had smoked since her teens, died far too young of lung cancer. I was in my 20s at the time, and my sister was still in college. Although I was already married, I didn’t yet have any children and my mother never got to be a grandmother.
The day that I had outlived my mother, I went for a run. And as I ran by Conard, I thought about my kids both having graduated from there, one in college, one in grad school, both now wonderful adults. I ran faster despite the tears that came to my eyes, thinking that I don’t want to miss out on anything. I vowed to continue to work out, to eat right, and to stay as healthy as possible.
Please excuse my sentimentality today. Getting old might get tougher – but it’s far better than the alternative. And if you’re only as old as you feel, other than the knee I’m feeling pretty young! The days may seem long but the years really are short and time really does fly.
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:
- Segueing from my comment above about the need to work out, it’s a good think that West Hartford offers so many great fitness options to offset all of our fabulous restaurants. Over the weekend, West Hartford’s newest workout facility, Knockout Fitness, held its grand opening at 20 Jefferson Ave., Unit 3 (just off New Park Avenue, behind New Park Brewing). Owner Antony Atallah, a former trainer at New York Sports, said although the emphasis is on kickboxing, Knockout Fitness offers a wide variety of classes, small group, and one-on-one training. The facility includes 18 heavy bags, and four different boxing/kickboxing classes, three strength and conditioning classes, and “one strong Zumba” a “HIT” (high intensity) class, Atallah said. One major differentiator is that they also offer massage, with two licensed massage therapists on staff. Knockout Fitness also has a supplement bar, offering natural nutritional products for pre- and post-workouts. Atallah said he has a masters in dietetics from UConn, and offers a “triple-threat” of nutritional coaching as well as training and recovery. “I just love West Hartford,” Atallah said regarding his decision to open a business in town. “The people here, it’s such a melting pot,” he said. Atallah said he is 100 percent Lebanese, and said he has always felt that all cultures are accepted in West Hartford. For more information about Knockout Fitness, including class schedules and grand opening promotions, visit their website. And I may just take Attalah up on his promise to make me able to do a pull-up!
- Have you noticed the new sign and windows along LaSalle Road? Construction on Song Restaurant (74 LaSalle Rd., in the former Labrazel Home storefront) began late last fall, and is nearly complete. Sally Zhu, who owns the restaurant with her husband Xingyu Huang, said Sunday that she hopes to be open within the month. Song is the latest venture for the couple, who also own Shu Restaurant in the Shield Street Plaza in West Hartford and Han Restaurant – Connecticut’s first hot pot restaurant – at 310 Prospect Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Damon’s Tavern just over the line into Hartford. Zhu said previously the name for the restaurant, “Song,” is derived from the Song Dynasty, during which Chinese cuisine began to encompass the variety of types of foods for which it is still known today. While Shu is Szechuan – and has developed a great reputation for the authenticity of its menu – Song will not feature quite as spicy a menu, Zhu said. Dim sum, noodles, dumplings, and wontons, will be the feature of the menu. We’ll certainly let you know when it’s ready to open!
- Speaking of opening, I’ve been trying to find out exactly when Rockledge Grille is going to be opening. It’s quite the bevy of activity over there, and while there is no firm date, an employee at Rockledge Golf Course said they are aiming for the week of June 11. I’m definitely looking forward to this new restaurant right in my neighborhood. Stay tuned for further updates!
- There were lots of things going on last Thursday night, including the seasonal launch party for Artisan’s gorgeous patio, and the grand opening and ribbon cutting for The Medspa at the Delamar! For more information about the newly-opened Medspa, click here.
- It’s definitely patio season throughout West Hartford, and the newest restaurant to add outdoor seating is Division West. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the patio is set to open at 36 LaSalle Rd.
- Knox Inc., which prepares and cares for all of the beautiful flowers that the business associations have sponsored in neighborhoods throughout town, is the recipient of a donated greenhouse – or will be if they can raise the rest of the money for it to be disassembled and moved from the site of the former Patrissi Nursery in West Hartford. According to Knox’s Facebook page, the greenhouse that was left on the property after the nursery was closed needed to be removed, and owner Norma Patrissi wanted it to be put to good use and got in touch with Knox. “She offered to donate it to Knox if the nonprofit was able to fund the disassembly and rebuilding of the greenhouse on Knox’s site. Normally, a greenhouse like this would cost almost $100,000.The recycled greenhouse will double the inside growing space for Knox’s incubator farming program. This means more Hartford-grown food that reaches the hands of local residents. The opportunity was too good for Knox Executive Director Ron Pitz to pass up. Knox knew it must raise the money quickly to make sure the greenhouse was salvaged. Thanks to substantial donations from philanthropists Curtis & Sheila Robinson of the Curtis & Sheila Robinson Foundation, and the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity at Saint Francis Hospital, we’re nearly two-thirds of the way to our goal of $50,000!” Anyone interested in donating to the CrowdRise Campaign Project can click here. The grand opening for the new greenhouse is scheduled for June 11, at 11 a.m., at Knox, Inc., 75 Laurel St., Hartford.
- A total of $80.7 million in assistance for relocation, expansion, and job creation was approved by the state Bond Commission Friday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced, and the impact will be the creation of 3,876 new jobs and the retention of 15,003 jobs throughout the state. Included is a $1.5 million grant for Triumph Engine Control Systems, LLC in West Hartford, which will assist with a more than $13 million expansion of its West Hartford facility on Flatbush Avenue. According to the release from the governor’s office, the company will retain 585 jobs and create 44 new jobs.
- West Hartford businesses and other volunteers participated in the inaugural Day of Caring on Saturday, assisting elderly and disabled residents as well as veterans with household maintenance and repairs. Pictured are (from left): Tyler Correia, Annette Shimansky, Jennifer Schunder and Jack Correia at the Shimansky’s home.
- ICYMI, the Park Road Association will hold the next installment of its series of workshops for small business owners this Tuesday at Zest 280. Click here for 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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