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West Hartford Business Buzz: March 11, 2024

The former G-Monkey space at 625 New Park Avenue is being converted to Sichuan Alley. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

Business Buzz is sponsored by NBT Bank, and we are very thankful for their support! 


By Ronni Newton

I must have been really off my game last weekend while writing this column because I realized that I completely forgot to recognize the arrival of meteorological spring! All snowman decorations – and even all of the hand soaps with “winter” anywhere in their names – have been banished from my home until at least late November.

Sure, there will be cold days ahead but my neighbor’s crocuses are blooming (see the new cover photo on the We-Ha.com Facebook page), my daffodils are budding, and tufts of green are appearing in the lawn. On Sunday morning there was also a natural birdbath (aka my garden, that was full of standing water after Saturday night’s deluge) that was being enjoyed by a pair of doves.

The area of my yard where I plant a vegetable and flower garden is currently filled with water – and was being used as a birdbath by some doves until Millie spotted them. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A happy birthday shout-out to my sister, whose birthday was Sunday, and to my daughter, whose birthday is this Thursday. We had a wonderful celebration brunch on Sunday!

It was a week full of sports and both Conard and Hall teams had some great wins. The Conard hockey team is the only public school team still in the playoffs, and they have a game tonight vs. the Suffield co-op at 5:30 p.m. at Quinnipiac. Also, after defeating North Haven on Saturday night, 59-43, the defending state champion Northwest Catholic girls are heading to the finals of the Class MM girls basketball tournament at Mohegan Sun this weekend to face Sheehan. The NWC boys are in the quarterfinals and play at Ridgefield tonight.

I reported last week on the Conard musical production of “Les Misérables” – and this is a don’t-miss, truly remarkable show. I am constantly amazed at our talented students and you will not believe that this is a high school performance.

Also last week was the presentation of the superintendent’s budget for the upcoming academic year.

Ted and I had a great time at the Children’s Charity Ball at Farmington Gardens on Saturday night. I’m waiting for some details about the funds raised by the Bridge at this annual event (their 25th!!) and then will share a complete photo gallery.

Ted and I had a great time at the Children’s Charity Ball on Saturday night.

That was our dining out on Saturday night, but I have some food photos from attending happy hour with my running group at Max Burger one day last week. I ordered tacos – but completely forgot to take a photo of them!

Loaded tots and a Brewtus Maximus at Max Burger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Pulled pork springrolls at Max Burger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Asian kale salad at Max Burger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

5-oz classic burger at Max Burger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Cauliflower bowl at Max Burger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

This week will by a busy Town Council week with the hearing tonight at 5:30 p.m. on the application for a zoning change and creation of a special development district for 1700 Asylum Avenue  – the eastern portion of the former UConn campus. Tuesday night is a regular Town Council meeting, where the Fiscal Year 2025 budget will be presented.

If you’re looking for news about West Hartford in print please note that many stories from We-Ha.com, as well as other local news, is published in the twice-monthly issues of the West Hartford Press.

If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide details in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].


Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Rendering of exterior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

  • The permitting process is underway and I am excited to share the news that Sichuan Alley will be opening in the former G-Monkey space at 625 New Park Avenue. Sichuan Alley currently has two locations in Singapore and the West Hartford location will be similar, owner Michael Jiang told me in an email. “We will be serving Sichuan-style rice noodles, tapas and drinks,” he said, and are planning to open by the end of May. A website describing the Singapore locations notes that one of their popular dishes is “Mian Yang Rice Noodles” with a choice of different broths and a plethora of toppings, and “President Rice Noodle/Noodle” and “Braided Beef Rice Noodle/Noodle” are also top sellers. The small plates at Sichuan Alley include B-52 Fried Chicken and Sichuan Sour Vegetable Fish, the write-up states. “To top it off, customers can quench their thirst with our special homemade drinks (Chengdu Fizz, Mister Kiwi and Island Day) carefully crafted to complement the bold flavors of our dishes.” The renderings were submitted along with the permit applications and the space looks great!

The former G-Monkey space at 625 New Park Avenue is being converted to Sichuan Alley. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Rendering of exterior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

Rendering of interior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

Rendering of interior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

Rendering of interior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

Rendering of interior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

Rendering of interior of future Sichuan Alley. Town of West Hartford image

  • Building permits have been submitted for IVX Infusion Health, which will be opening on the lower level of the Bishops Corner shopping center at 2533 Albany Avenue – a few doors down from the soon-to-open Nautical Bowls. More details to come, but based on the plans the space is 2,742 square feet and they will have two large “family” size infusion rooms as well as three smaller rooms. According to their website, IVX Health is headquartered in Tennessee and located in 14 states throughout the country, and has three other locations already in Connecticut (Glastonbury, Orange, and Norwalk). IVX Health is in-network with many major insurers, and “serves those with complex chronic conditions by delivering high-quality, personalized care in a private, comfortable setting so patients can continue to live their best lives.”

IVX Infusion Health will be opening at 2533 Albany Avenue in Bishops Corner. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Confirmation of a few updates coming to Westfarms include: a large space (more than 6,000 square feet) for JD Sports which is being built out on the lower level (partially in West Hartford) and according to spokesperson Amanda Sirica will be opening in the third quarter of this year. Also, Tempur-pedic will be opening in the second quarter in the previous Lucky Brand space on the upper level, and Icing will be relocating in the second quarter to the space previously occupied by The Body Shop.

JD Sports will be opening at Westfarms. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • For the month of March, in addition to the regular Joe Cusano, head chef at Le Mazet in West Hartford, will be the guest chef at Gather55. He will be adding the following dishes to the menu: appetizer –  Steak Tartare, Panisse and Quail egg; entree – Coq Au Vin D’Alsace, White Wine and Mushroom; and dessert – Hazelnut Creme Brulee, Hazelnut and shortbread. In an announcement, Cusano said, “At Le Mazet, we wanted to give back to the community. Our Team at Le Mazet treats everyone who walks into the door like family and we wanted to give some of that love back into the community.” With a “pay-what-you-can” philosophy, Gather55 Restaurant, an initiative under Hands on Hartford offers various dining options throughout the day. Breakfast and lunch patrons may participate by paying the full posted price of the meals or a minimum price of $3.00, or participate by choosing to volunteer time with Hands On Hartford, depending on your ability to pay that day. Wednesday through Saturday, white table cloths, a curated wine selection and a two or three-course prix fixe menu created by rotating guest chefs welcome diners. Dinner service is another avenue for Hands on Hartford to raise money to support their overall initiatives. During the day, services staff at Hands On Hartford and partnering agencies will have “on the house” meal vouchers to help support those who are not able to pay or volunteer. In the evening, diners who would like to dine at no charge should send an email to [email protected] or call or text 860-929-2316 and make a request at least 24 hours in advance. Patrons may order food to go.

Interior of Gather55 at 55 Bartholomew Ave., Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

  • Two West Hartford residents are among those being honored as Malta House of Care Wonder Women, and will be celebrated at the Bushnell on May 16 (5:30-8:30 p.m.) “Since 2011, Malta House of Care has hosted the ‘Celebrating Wonder Women’ awards ceremony and fundraiser for two reasons: to honor extraordinary Connecticut women who make outstanding contributions and positively influenced their communities in extraordinary ways, and to support the Malta House of Care, which provides free primary health care to uninsured adults in Greater Hartford. This year’s class joins an exclusive group of 81 local women who have received this special honor since the organization’s first class in 2011,” states a press release about the event. The West Hartford residents (description from the press release) are: Abby Sullivan Moore, the passionate Founder and Leader of Footwear With Care, who has transformed her successful writing career into a powerful force for social change. Since 2016, Abby has spearheaded this nonprofit, providing essential support, including shoes, medical foot exams, and health services, to Hartford’s homeless. Inspired by the compassionate actions of Hartford Police Officer Jimmy Barrett and fueled by the awareness of the significant lack of decent footwear and regular foot care for the homeless, Abby sprang into action. Her remarkable initiative and unwavering passion has led to organizing numerous events and consistently providing aid to over 1,000 individuals each year.  She describes the connection with those her nonprofit serves, “With their new boots or sneakers, they walk a little taller. So, do I. I am grateful to be part of the entire process.” Abby stands as an inspiring advocate, demonstrating that individual passions can create profound and positive change. Also being honored is Jessica Zachs, the chair and CEO of Dignity Grows, who stands out as a dedicated philanthropist committed to nurturing dignity and health equity for women who cannot afford monthly menstrual hygiene necessities, resulting in chronic school absenteeism, job instability and health issues. Recognizing the profound effects of Period Poverty, Jessica swiftly took action in 2019, educating and motivating volunteers to make a change for women and girls in the Hartford community. Within 18 months, her efforts gained national attention, leading to the establishment of Dignity Grows chapters in cities across the nation. Jessica’s visionary leadership not only involves directly providing crucial hygiene support for hundreds of thousands of Americans but also recognizing the need for her organization to play a pivotal role in advocating for policy and systemic change at the national level. Her compassionate force for change leaves a lasting and meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and communities. In her own words, “Having lived in the Greater Hartford community for over 30 years, I have been involved with many organizations. Nothing has personally impacted me in the way learning about Period Poverty and hygiene inequity has. Meeting neighbors from across the Hartford region and sharing the work of Dignity Grows has been life-changing for me.” The honorees also include Deb Bibbins (Simsbury), Cate Grady-Benson (Farmington), and Gladys Rivera (Hartford).

Courtesy of Malta House of Care

  • Congratulations to Dr. Dori Gatter, whose West Hartford Holistic Counseling (17 South Highland Street) was named the “Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year” for Connecticut for 2024 by the Small Business Association. “Each year it is an honor to celebrate Connecticut’s outstanding small business owners, whose achievements over the past year standout. This years’ award winners embody the hard work it takes to succeed in pursuing the American Dream,” Catherine Marx SBA’s Connecticut District Director, said in a news release. “Indeed, entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. They foster the vibrant local communities for living and working that contribute to our nation’s economic strength.” The Small Business Resource Expo and award ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 2, at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. More details can be found here.
  • Congratulations also to Ignite Med Spa and Wellness (945 Farmington Avenue) which will be celebrating their first anniversary this month, and will hold an open house on March 28 from 4-7 p.m. There will be raffles, demonstrations, and beverages. Since opening, Ignite has expanded their wellness programs to focus on weight management and lifestyle changes, and offer semaglutide and tirzepatide. In addition, Reiki practitioner Lynne Thibault has joined Ignite and she is completing her certifications to offer health coaching as well. In addition to their expanded services, Ignite also offers facial treatments, derma-planing, spa body treatments, laser skin care, Botox, dermal fillers body sculpting (EmSculpt NEO) body contouring (Exion) cellulite treatments, and also offers sub mental treatment for the chin area through EmFace – a non-surgical facelift. They also offer halo therapy in their salt cave. More details about the business including links to schedule appointments or shop in the online store can be found on the website. Owner and nurse practitioner Jessica Fett (who has a degree from Duke, and I love that she says on the website that she is a Blue Devil who plays well with Huskies because I do, too!) has created a “Nitty Gritty Healthy 7 Week Challenge” journal with prompts and space to document all aspects of life that affect health and wellness, and will soon be publishing a “Nitty Gritty Healthy Guidebook” as a companion to the journal.

Jessica Fett is the owner of Ignite Med Spa and Wellness at 945 Farmington Ave. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

  • And finally, congratulations to Kilwins, which is also celebrating their first anniversary this month. “It’s been an incredible year in the heart of West Hartford in Blue Back Square, and Kilwins want to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the community for welcoming them,” states an announcement of the celebration. The anniversary bash will be “filled with excitement and sweet surprises to show their appreciation,” and will be held on Saturday, March 16, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. “Enjoy fun-filled festivities, including free product samples of their signature treats, delightful activities for kids, and fabulous giveaways. It’s their way of saying thank you for making their first year memorable.”

Kilwins is located at 38 Isham Road in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

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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1 Comment

  • Abby Sullivan Moore is a clown in my opinion. I was an original member of the Board of Directors for her shoes for homeless non profit – Footwear With Care. I worked with her on this from 2016-2020. I resigned from working with her organization because in 2020 she said on Facebook — “you are not Christian if you say All Lives Matter” (as opposed to Black Lives Matter). She also put another clown on her board State Senator Dr. Saud Anwar who doxxed and threatened Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie because he didn’t like some of Rennie’s commentary around mid-2020.

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