A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I hope everyone who celebrates had a very happy Easter Sunday!
I hope many of you are happy with the progression of March Madness. My immediate family consists of two Duke graduates, one UConn student, and one soon-to-be UConn student. My sister is also a UConn graduate. Thankfully the UConn women are continuing their run, because other than that my family isn’t so happy. Our family did a bracket with a meal on the line, but we are all doing so badly that we may need to just take ourselves out to dinner.
Business-wise, this has been a banner week for news in West Hartford, with restaurant news leading the way. Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Luncheon was like one giant Business Buzz story – with several items that were a surprise to everyone in the room! I’ve been able to flesh out some of the details about the surprises, but look for more information in the coming weeks.
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:
- This one came as a surprise to me when it was announced by Director of Community Services Mark McGovern at the Economic Development luncheon! Posh Tomato, which opened in Blue Back Square just last April in the former Pinkberry spot, will soon be closing and will be replaced by Goldberg’s Gourmet. It’s not as major a transition as it sounds, since the owners of Goldberg’s Bagels (Chad Kirby and Dan Taskila) are also the owners of the Posh Tomato franchise. The owners will be dropping the franchise and transitioning the lease to their other business. After a brief closing, the space will reopen as Goldberg’s Gourmet – providing Blue Back Square with a much-needed place for bagels and coffee, as well as another casual option for sandwiches. More details are definitely forthcoming!
- An announcement was also made at Thursday’s luncheon about the owner of McLadden’s taking over the Charles Schwab space next door for a new restaurant concept once Charles Schwab moves to the Kaoud building at 10 South Main St. I followed up with McLadden’s owner Mike Ladden who said that while he is “excited about something I have been working on for three years,” he is not ready to provide any details at this point. More information will probably be available in several weeks, he said.
- The Chamber of Commerce Economic Development luncheon was mentioned above, but if you haven’t read the entire story, please do! Mark McGovern’s presentation provided a comprehensive look at the West Hartford business climate, with details about recent happenings as well as what’s on the burner for the near future and what is in the planning stages. I added a ton of links to the article for additional details about nearly every business that was mentioned. Click here for the complete story.
- One of the major pieces of restaurant news to break this week was the lease signing by Five Star Restaurant Group which plans to open Thali on Memorial Road in Blue Back Square. Thali is owned by Chef Prasad Chirnomula, who has built quite a following with his restaurants in Fairfield and New Haven County. The proposed menu for the farm-to-table Indian restaurant sounded amazing when I first heard it, but after reading the Facebook comments in response to the story I published, I am even more excited about this new restaurant. Click here for more details.
- Other Blue Back Square restaurant news is the hiring of Ed Jones from Firebox as executive chef for Cook and the Bear. Here’s that complete story!
- The Town Council held a public hearing about increasing the allowable density on properties in the Center. There are a lot of pieces to the proposed zoning change, but please note that even if the ordinance passes, it is not carte blanche for projects to go forward. New projects and renovations will have to apply as a special development district and receive approval by the Town Council. Here are all the details.
- Bluemercury had its soft opening on March 11, but is preparing for a gala grand opening this Saturday that will surely delight the area’s “beauty junkies.” Bluemercury, which is located at the corner of Farmington Avenue and LaSalle Road, will be serving up champagne and cupcakes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on April 2. Deluxe goodie bags will be available to the first 10 customers.
- After abruptly closing earlier in March, Sylvan Learning Center at 2533 Albany Ave. in Bishops Corner did reopen as promised on Monday, March 21, under new ownership. The following details were posted on Sylvan’s Facebook page: “The new owner, Peter Bartoli comes with nearly 20 year of experience teaching, managing and owning a Sylvan Learning Center. He has owned and operated the center in Southbury for the past 15 years. Our new Center Director, Jennifer Berth, has 15 years of experience teaching and managing a Sylvan Learning Center. As strong educators with 30 years of collective experience managing educational programs, the students in West Hartford will be in good hands moving forward.”
- Other Bishops Corner news is the planned opening of European Wax Centers at 2529 Albany Ave. According to Edens management, the facility should open in the next few weeks. More details will be provided as soon as they are available.
- The seating is all arranged and Bar Louie looks about ready to be serving customers in Blue Back Square, but we still have another week or two before the grand opening date – currently planned for April 8 and 9. I am definitely staying on top of this and will let readers know as soon as the doors open!
Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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