Bishops Corner Business Elmwood Park Road The Center

West Hartford Business Buzz: May 8, 2017

Cook and the Bear is in the final stages of preparing to open in June. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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

By Ronni Newton

Katie Newton with her UConn diploma. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

My daughter is now a college graduate.

I actually made it through Saturday’s UConn graduation without shedding a tear, probably because I distracted myself by being behind the camera, trying to document every single step of the graduation ceremony.

Katie graduated from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (B.S., Allied Health), with the ceremony held in the cavernous Gampel Pavilion, and although my press pass didn’t get me much closer to the action, my camera lens did and I was able to snag some pretty decent photos.

UConn basketball player Amida Brimah also graduated in the same ceremony, with a degree in agricultural economics, and his towering figure wasn’t hard to spot as he stepped up to receive his diploma. His family, who from what I heard was visiting the United States from Ghana for the first time, was sitting just a few rows in front of us.

The towering figure of UConn basketball player Amida Brimah was hard to miss in the graduation ceremony. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

And even though I said I made it through graduation without shedding a tear, I didn’t say I made it through the past week without getting emotional.

On Thursday morning, during a run, I was recalling that right before my son graduated from Conard last June I had gotten very emotional when I heard the Taylor Swift song “Never Grow Up” just as I passed by the Conard stadium.

I have 200-plus songs on my iPhone, and I keep the music on shuffle mode when I run because I like the surprise of different songs. I don’t hear “Never Grow Up” very often, but wouldn’t you know, it starting playing on Thursday morning just as I was passing Conard. I totally lost it and could barely keep running through the sobs.

Earlier in the week, seeing the photos that Katie posted with her sorority sisters, all in their caps and gowns, also brought on the emotions. There’s a group of eight or nine of them who have formed such a tight bond since freshman year, and even though they all have jobs or plans to attend grad school, it’s tough to think that most are going their separate ways.

In 2020, both of my kids will graduate from UConn together.

One of my favorite quotes these days is: “The days are long but the years are short.” I didn’t know where it came from until I just looked it up (Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun), but it’s so true. And 2020 will be here in the blink of an eye.

Now, on to the business …

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:

Cook and the Bear is in the final stages of preparing to open in June. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • We have an update to share about Cook and the Bear!! I’ve gotten quite a few messages lately asking when the restaurant, a collaboration between Tyler Anderson (Millwrights) and Jamie McDonald (Bears Smokehouse Barbecue) is going to open its doors at 50 Memorial Rd. in Blue Back Square. Director of Operations A.J. Aurrichio said Friday that plans are for a June opening. “We are putting all the fit and finishing touches on and are excited about opening here,” Aurrichio said. If you follow Cook and the Bear on Facebook, you’ll see that the booths were installed on Friday. Aurrichio also said that the restaurant has signed up to participate in Celebrate West Hartford on June 10 and 11, so whether they are open or not by that weekend, it will be a great opportunity to check out some menu offerings!
  • The Wise Old Dog got its new liquor license and is preparing to move this week from 610 South Quaker right next door to 612 South Quaker (former Lindy’s Laundromat). Owner Jacob Studenroth said Sunday that the official grand opening of the new location will be Friday, May 12. The store will be closed for several days this week to allow for the move. Look for a feature story with photos of the new space coming later this week!
  • Melissa Weinstock, owner of Grace & Grit at The Yoga Shop West Hartford will be selling special pink “project:OM” gear and will be donating a percentage to fight breast cancer in coordination with a special class at that also benefits Susan G. Komen. The all-levels class ($20 donation), which is scheduled for May 12 at 6 p.m., is part of a nationwide Mother’s Day weekend goal to have one million people practicing yoga to fight breast cancer. Click here to register.
  • There are lots of exciting things brewing for Taste of Bishops Corner, which is turning into a neighborhood festival as well as a food tasting event. Moe’s Southwest Grill, which just opened in Bishops  Corner last week, has signed on to participate along with Abby Dabby, Blue Plate Kitchen, Crown Market, Harry’s Pizza, Koma, Panera, and the Pond House featuring Zest280. Some details should be coming soon about a special gluten free option as well. Maximum Beverage will be providing the libations at the event which will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on May 17 on the patio between Maximum Beverage and Blue Plate Kitchen. Free and easily accessible parking is available – including in the back where you can take the stairs or elevator. There will be music, free chair massages courtesy of Massage Envy, Orangetheory giveaways, gift baskets from Pet Valu and European Wax Center, and other amazing teacup and raffle items. The event will benefit the Jewish Community Center, Hall High School Pops ‘N Jazz, and of course the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association. The Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association (BCNA) wants to remind everyone to bring their ideas to share their vision of Bishops Corner. Special Thanks to our Bishops Corner event sponsors Anytime Fitness, EDENS, and Simon Konover and our local businesses including Argelia Gowns, JP Carroll Construction, Lux Bond & Green, and Oscars Tux. The BCNA also offers special thanks to Eat IN Connecticut, Merchant Solutions, Taylor Rental Party Plus, Town of West Hartford, West Hartford Chamber or Commerce, West Hartford Magazine, and We-Ha.com. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

    Duetto earrings by L.Klein. Submitted photo

  • L. Klein Jewelry is debuting its spring line at Lux Bond & Green, and will hold a trunk show in the West Hartford store (46 LaSalle Rd.) on May 12 and 13. According to a new release from owner and designer Lauren Klein Zeligson, “After enjoying 14 years in the home decor industry and designing products for her West Hartford boutique, Labrazel Home, Zeligson is now finding her passion in jewelry design. Having received an excellent response to her introductory collection of exquisite 18 karat gold jewelry, she is looking forward to expanding her business with a glamorous spring line. The new introductions include over 20 pieces, offering a much broader selection with many new styles to complete the collection. Adding a bit of sparkle to the line, many of the designs are accented with diamonds, while other pieces combine lustrous yellow gold with gemstones, including moonstones, aquamarine, crystal quartz and black agate. All L. Klein jewelry is hand made in Italy by world-renowned artisans using centuries-old techniques. ‘My focus has been on design and craftsmanship,’ says Zeligson ‘and I am very excited to be offering so many incredible new jewels, with great gift options just in time for Mother’s Day!” The L. Klein brand stands out with a signature “L” on every piece, a personal stamp signifying quality and beauty. For more information, visit LBGreen.com or LKleinJewelry.com.
  • I went to a press preview for the West Hartford Wine & Food Festival on Thursday, and there is so much exciting information to share about the event that I am going to make it a separate story rather than just including the details here. But if you don’t want to wait for a day or so to read more, you can click here for the event’s website and find out more or purchase tickets!

    Tate Norden (left) and Adam Belward, owners of Iron & Grain, celebrated their second anniversary in business with a party and fundraiser at the Noah Webster House. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Also on Thursday, Iron & Grain celebrated its second anniversary with an event at the Noah Webster House. Iron & Grain was serving up its delicious fare and a selection of local brews, and food truck friends Yardbird & Co. and Greekin Out were also there. The celebration was also a fundraiser for the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Several more photos from the event can be found below.
  • Congratulations to West Hartford resident Nina F. Elgo, appointed last week by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to the state Appellate Court. For more details about Elgo, click here for the complete story in the Hartford Courant.
  • ICYMI, Moe’s Southwest Grill is now open in Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner. The lines were out the door for the soft opening – a fundraiser for Conard Class of 2017 Safe Grad – on Thursday, and the place was hopping all weekend, too. West Hartford certainly is very glad to hear “Welcome to Moe’s” once again! Click here for more information.
  • Also ICYMI, thanks to Abigail Albair of the West Hartford Press and West Hartford Life for sharing this story about the transformation of the New Park Avenue corridor!
  • Finally, Mayor Shari Cantor was in Dublin, Ireland, this weekend, and had the chance to meet her counterpart the Lord Mayor of Dublin! She shared some West Hartford items with him – including a We-Ha Vineyard Vines tie and a Noah Webster blanket. She also shared the photos with us!

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor presents the Lord Mayor of Dublin with a Vineyard Vines We-Ha tie and a Swell water bottle. Courtesy photo

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor presents the Lord Mayor of Dublin with a Noah Webster blanket. Courtesy photo

Remember, if you have any business news to share, add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

Iron & Grain celebrated its second anniversary Thursday at the Noah Webster House. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society Executive Director Jenn Matos at the Yardbird & Co. food truck. Iron & Grain second anniversary. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A group of local residents enjoy the Iron & Grain second anniversary. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Jim and Noreen Dakin and Mike Walsh enjoy the Iron & Grain second anniversary. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The crew from Greekin Out at the Iron & Grain second anniversary. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].


  • Love the business news. Don’t know why you have to share you’re personal info with us all. Gets me more frustrated each week as it is getting longer and longer.

  • Hey This is Mark…I’m a native We-Ha in born and raised on Ballard Dr. I just caught this site while streaming…and …I LOVE IT!!!! I graduated from Hall High…and now live in Upstate NY Monticello I’m an On-air talent for the local radio station here …WVOS-FM 95.9 going on my 11th year this Oct. If you like you can stream on line at wvosfm.com….Bold gold media group…and listen live…I’m on from 6-10 pm weeknights and you’ll love the music….”The Greatest Hits Of All Time” Thanks and thank you for this website…..SEE YA!!! Oh by the way my on air name is Mark St. James

  • Possible enhancement, if it’s not too much work: Maintain a listing of restaurants/businesses that are opening soon (and have been announced in a prior Biz Buzz) but haven’t opened yet. It would be helpful to be able to look at the current BIz Buzz and see a “Coming Soon” section to help remember that a certain restaurant, for example, is going to open in June, that may not be listed in the current article. Just a suggestion.

    • Hi Rick! Thanks for your suggestion! I have a running list on a piece of paper on my desk, but even that’s tough to keep updated. I kind of hesitate to put it out there publicly on a regular basis because there are often delays in opening for a wide variety of reasons and I don’t want to create a negative impression for the new business that is working hard to open. I’ve been trying to post the updates when I can actually get an update straight from the business owner.

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