A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
There are so many things I could talk about in this introduction, but as usual I’m going to begin with the weather.
On Saturday I watched my son play soccer at the Glover Soccer Complex in West Hartford, and during the first half of the game experienced at least three different seasons – maybe four because at one point it felt cold enough to snow! It was a good thing I glanced at the weather radar before leaving the house because I might not have brought a jacket and certainly would not have brought my baseball cap and umbrella! At 10:20 a.m. when I got into the car it was warm and sunny, but by 10:40 the wind picked up and it started pouring. Fans were wrapped in blankets, struggling to hang onto their umbrellas. At halftime, the sun came out and there was a brisk, October-like breeze. And then the wind calmed and felt hot again.
Saturday was also my birthday (I’ve long since stopped counting, but having birthdays is certainly far better than the alternative) and I am very thankful to my family and friends for making it a truly special day. I can’t help but share a photo of the great coffee mug my sister gave me!
The next few weeks (until schools close for the summer) are going to be jam-packed with activities. Among them are the annual Celebrity Breakfast fundraiser for the Park Road Parade, which is Tuesday from 7-10 a.m. at Effie’s Place on Park Road. I’ll be personally serving up Patrissi Pancakes, Whiting Lane Waffles, and Effie’s Eggs between 8:30 and 9:30 and would love to wait on you. (I’ve served at the breakfast for at least the past five years and haven’t spilled coffee on anyone. Yet. They even made all the servers special posters this year and mine is attached below.) The great line-up of esteemed celebrity guest servers includes Mayor Shari Cantor, Police Chief Tracey Gove, members of the Town Council and Board of Education, several news anchors and reporters, business owners, and more. Click here for all of the details.
Also – and this is also in a bullet point below – if you’re considering attending the inaugural West Hartford Wine & Food Festival TODAY is the day to buy tickets. We’ve been authorized to offer a special one-day-only $25 off discount. Use the promo code “weha” (no hyphen in the code), and on June 17 you will be enjoying food from more than 30 of the area’s finest restaurants along with the chance to sample more than 200 different wines!
Because we delayed Business Buzz last week due to the Memorial Day holiday it’s been less than a week since the previous column, but there’s still plenty of news to share!
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:
- Back in March I had a conversation with SPoT Coffee President and CEO Anton Ayoub, and he said the Buffalo-based company was moving quickly to identify locations for expansion into West Hartford – and that’s exactly what they have done! The former White House Black Market store at 69 Memorial Rd. will soon be home to the first SPoT Coffee franchise café outside the State of New York. Parisco Cafés, LLC, is the franchisee, and according to a news release from SPoT, design will begin this month for the 3,800 square foot space in Blue Back Square and plans are for construction to begin as soon as a building permit is obtained. The cafés are described as cool and hip yet warm and friendly, and according to the news release, provide “customers with the highest quality service, signature made-to-order meals and award-winning micro-roasted coffee” in a café distinctively designed to be a gathering place for the neighborhood. According to the company website, SPot Coffee specializes in freshly-roasted small batch coffees. There are hot and cold options and Chai, as well as the “SPoTsicle” (a version of a milkshake) and protein shakes that “blur the line between healthy and decadent.”
Today only – there’s a special ticket offer of $25 off each ticket for the inaugural West Hartford Wine & Food Festival. Use the promo code “weha.” The list of restaurants is fabulous – and even includes a preview of Artisan – the restaurant owned by acclaimed chef Frederic Kieffer that will open in the Delamar West Hartford Hotel! The premium wines that will be served range in price from $20-$125 per bottle (click here for list of restaurants and wineries, as well as other specifics). In addition, sponsorship coordinator Jill Fletcher said that many additional sponsors have added their support to the West Hartford Wine & Food Festival, including Central Connecticut State University; Fay Dehaas and Lisa Martin of Cruise Planners/AMA River Cruises; Lux Bond & Green’ Robert Laraia of Northstar Wealth Partners; Michael Gualtieri of ProCourier; and Valerie E. Thomas & Associates. In addition, Bruce Stanger and Sandra Stanfield of Stanger Stanfield are underwriting the LYFT safe ride credit that is available to ensure safe travel for guests. Check out all the details at westhartfordwineandfood.com.
- The space that was White House Black Market and will soon be SPoT was also temporarily the location of the Pop Up store for We-Ha Vineyard Vines and other local merchandise. The Pop Up has been relocated to Lux Bond & Green at 46 LaSalle Rd., or you can purchase existing inventory, or pre-order the limited edition light blue We-Ha baseball cap (I can’t wait until these come in!) online at we-ha.com/store.
- Just in time for summer (I see a few 80° days in the forecast once we get through this seemingly endless rainy period), b Restaurants (aka locally as Plan B on Park Road) are offering a limited-time-only menu of BBQ favorites from Memphis, the Carolinas, and Texas, all paired with local beers. There are also appropriate side dishes, and Peach Cobbler for dessert! The special menu runs from June 19-July 16 (details here). There is also a BBQ contest! Enter your favorite BBQ recipe by June 11 online or at any of the b restaurants in Connecticut or Massachusetts for a chance to compete for a grand prize at the Cookout Competition on June 24 at Stony Creek Brewery. Ronni Newton- Celebrity Breakfast Flyer (1)
- From a news release: Max Restaurant Group will host a month-long fundraising effort to support Foodshare in the first annual “Fork it Over for Foodshare” campaign. During the month of June, all Max Restaurant Group locations in Connecticut will offer patrons the opportunity to add a donation to Foodshare when paying their check. “As a member of the Greater Hartford food industry, we think that it’s important that we partner with Foodshare, which does so much to fight hunger in our area,” said Richard Rosenthal, president of Max Restaurant Group. “We are committed to providing food for members of our community, regardless of their circumstances.” Max Restaurant Group will also donate $10 to Foodshare for every $100 raised across all Connecticut locations. Max Restaurant Group locations in West Hartford include Max’s Oyster Bar, Max Burger, and Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar.
- Rhoback, the winner of EDENS’ 2016 retail challenge, will be visiting the Edens Bishops Corner Shopping Center on June 5 and June 6. Rhoback will set up shop in their “homemade teardrop camper,” and will be selling “inspired active wear for men,” according to Assistant Property Manager Karen Fillian. Click here for more details.
- According to an article by Luther Turmelle in the New Haven Register last week, Tesla is looking to expand its presence in the state even if direct sales are not permitted, and may be looking at opening a gallery in West Hartford, among other towns. There’s currently one on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich. I happened to walk by it several weeks ago, and will have to say that it was pretty cool.
- As it prepares to open later this month, Cook and the Bear (50 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square) is now hiring! They are looking for hosts, bussers, and servers. From a Facebook post: “Experience is preferred, but not required. They are seeking candidates that thrive in fast pace environments, excel in customer service, and are responsible with money handling and can multi-task in high volume situations. They ask that all candidates be proficient in hospitality and can clearly communicate with staff and guests. Weekend availability is a must; ideal schedule would be 4-5 days a week. Part time availability is negotiable. Please respond with a resume, preferable PDF, and attach a cover letter or a few words stating why they are the next logical next step in your career. Please no phone calls or dropping by in person. Send emails to: [email protected].”
- I’ve been keeping tabs on all of the other restaurants that are under construction, and it looks like The Simple Greek is about ready to open in Corbin’s Corner, and Vaughan’s Pies & Pints should open within the next few weeks in West Hartford Center.
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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