A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
I’m writing this column on Sunday evening, and I have been kind of laying low and taking it easy on this warm and humid Sunday after running my 13th Hartford Half Marathon (my 15th half marathon overall) on Saturday. My quads are a little sore and I’m a bit tired, but because I didn’t really push myself, I actually feel pretty good.
I was very competitive about my running for years and I always thought I wouldn’t want to run a half marathon anymore if I couldn’t do it in less than two hours. Even when I was running on a barely-recovered sprained ankle one year, I still beat the two-hour mark. Then in 2014, when it was cold and rainy and I kept getting toe cramps and having to walk, I missed the two-hour mark. The race took me just over 2:05 that year.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that it’s okay to have slowed down, and to just enjoy the journey. Yes, I could probably go faster than I do if I spent more time running and cross training and less time reporting on the news in West Hartford, but I will have to say I really enjoyed running Saturday’s race as a run – not really racing.
Even with this crazy work schedule, I did a fairly good job fitting in my long runs for the half marathon this year, that is up until a few weeks ago when I was out of town two weekends in a row. That’s when the eating and drinking and other fun activities got in the way. And other than the time I was at the beach over the summer, work seemed to get in the way of many of my weekday runs or other exercise plans.
But Saturday’s race was great. It’s so much fun having the race go through the familiar streets of West Hartford. The crowd support was incredible. Thanks to Hall High School cross country coach Jeff Billing for sending me this photo of his team out there in force, lined up along Trout Brook Drive cheering on their assistant coach Everett Hackett – who placed third overall in the half marathon in 1:05.47 – as well as all of the other runners.
There was great music along the course. I took the time to high-five people along the way, to read the encouraging signs, to look for friends who were cheering on the runners, to hug one of my longtime running partners who wasn’t doing this particular race, to notice the person dressed in a t-rex costume and the people handing out pancakes.
Most of all I enjoyed running the entire race with my running partner Laurie Bertini – from the start until we held hands to cross the finish line. We trained together all summer, alternately pushing each other when we struggled, and promised to stay together for this entire race. And we did.
Congrats to all who ran on Saturday. There were probably more than a thousand West Hartford residents who ran either the marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, or 5K. A special shout-out to my husband, Ted, who has not lost his speed as he has gotten older and placed second in his age group in the half marathon (1:32.04). He crossed the finish line with Conard 2017 graduate Gwen Geisler (someone we have known since she was born) who also finished second in her age group!
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:
- Being a West Hartford restaurateur makes you a celebrity in this town, but Tyler Anderson’s celebrity status is about to grow even larger. Congratulations to Anderson – chef/owner of Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern in Simsbury and a partner with Jamie McDonald and A.J. Aurrichio in West Hartford’s Cook and the Bear – for being the first Connecticut chef selected as a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” A four-time James Beard nominee, Anderson was named Chef of the Year by the Connecticut Restaurant Association in 2014, is chef chair of Taste of the Nation Hartford, and is involved in many other local philanthropies. Anderson has had success in past TV competition, winning “Chopped” in 2009. The upcoming 15th season of “Top Chef” premieres Dec. 7, and look for an upcoming feature, including an interview with Anderson (which is being scheduled by the network) prior to then.
- The crew of the WHC-TV show “Moms Time Out!” (Adria Giordano, Cami Ferreira, Lori Verrengia, and Karyl Shaughnessy) held a “Mom’s Night Out” last Thursday at Zohara. It was such a fun evening, but it was also a fundraiser for the American Red Cross efforts in Puerto Rico. According to Giordano, between a donation from Zohara and show sponsor Untapped Potential, the event raised $575. “More than that was the amazing turnout of women supporting women, lifting each other up and supporting each other,” Giordano said. “We love playing even a small part in helping to bring moms and women together. Such an amazing night – I could feel the energy.”
- I had hoped to be able to report that V-Mart, a Vietnamese grocery store that also offers hot and cold prepared food, was getting close to opening in the former (and long vacant) Hartford Electric Supply Company building at 567-571 New Park Ave. The build-out has been ongoing since the spring, however, according to a company representative in the Providence, RI location, there have been delays and the opening won’t happen until at least early 2018.
- West Hartford-based Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH) is holding its major fundraiser of the year – Autumn’s Palette Wine Tasting & Auction – on Friday, Oct. 20, from 6-10 p.m., at The North House, 1 Nod Rd., Avon. Auction items include a Premier Limousine ride to an exquisite dinner for eight at renowned restaurant The Golden Lamb Buttery, Brooklyn, CT. Details according to the press release: “Guests may savor a collection of notable red and white wines while sampling generous tasty hors d’oeuvres and swaying to the sounds of the Cocktail Hour Jazz trio. Bidding begins with a silent auction of cultural and sporting event tickets, jewelry, vacation packages, specialty foods, gift certificates, luxury goods, and more. A rousing live auction of the evening’s most exclusive prize offerings will cap this celebratory night. Later, exhausted bidders may wind down over assorted desserts and coffee. Ticket are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Proceeds from Autumn’s Palette will aid MATH in creating a neonatal program for mothers and babies in Port-au-Prince, and will fund the hiring of medical personnel for MATH’s surgical services at the community hospital in Dame-Marie, Haiti. MATH is Helping Haitians Heal Haitians. For tickets and more information visit www.medicalaidtohaiti.org.”
- Another local non-profit, West Hartford-based Ron Foley Foundation, which supports awareness, support, and treatment of pancreatic cancer, is holding its “Rock Away” fundraiser on Nov. 10, featuring “a night of music with the acoustic sounds of Rick Ortiz.” Registration is available by clicking here or at ronsrun.org.
- Another not-to-be-missed event is the Back Alley Vintage Market, presented by Blaze & Bloom, at 485 New Park Ave. in West Hartford. The vintage flea market, which will feature more than 30 vendors selling their unique antiques, vintage, furniture, home decor, clothing, jewelry, and handmade goods, as well as food, drinks, and music, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (raindate Oct. 22 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.). According to a news release, vendors include: Nest Studio, House She Loved, Verse Bags, Over the Moon, Blooming Gardens, Junkarama Mama, Traveling Chic Boutique, Balkin Woodcarving, Tied in Chains, Bling by Caro, Vintage Vibes, Maplewood, Big Wheel Vintage, Rust N Stuff, Verdilune, Stock the Bar Candles, Hippy Moon Goddess, Persimmon Pearl, Handmade by Linnidian, Renee Morales, Dawn Manogue, Chanterelle, Pamela Woodling, and Eina Rieger, Traveling Chic, and Adore. Food and drink will be provided by New Park Brewery and Iron & Grain.
- Connecticut’s food and hospitality industry is raising money for Puerto Rico through a special “CT Loves PR” week beginning Oct. 21. West Hartford’s Lindsay Perkins, through her company Lindsay Culinary, is just one of the local participants. She is organizing “Bake for a Cause” on Friday, Oct. 27, from noon-5 p.m. at the Mandell JCC. She is asking the community to donate baked goods or other treats (can be homemade or bought) like cupcakes, cookies, brownies, or bags of popcorn. Buyers are needed, too! And there will also be coffee available, as well as a cookie decorating station, with 100 percent of all money raised donated to Unidos Por Puerto Rico. For information or to donate a baked good, contact [email protected] for all event information! Look for information later this week on participating restaurants in West Hartford (17 of them at latest count), and to stay updated about the overall effort, follow @CTlovesPR on social media. #ctlovespr #prstrong
- In the ICYMI department, American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 is christening its revamped meeting space at 45 Raymond Rd. tonight, and then Flora, West Hartford’s new plant-based restaurant, opens to the public for dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 17. For a sneak peek at the inside of the restaurant as well as the menu offerings, click here.
- ICYMI, the Town of West Hartford is preparing to hire a new operator for the restaurant at Rockledge Golf Club. The existing contract for Angelo’s on Main expires on Dec. 31. Click here for the complete story.
- Also ICYMI, Los Imperios‘ landlord has filed a court action to have the establishment evicted. Click here for more information.
- Congratulations to West Hartford Clerk Essie Labrot – named Town Clerk of the Year by the Connecticut Town Clerks Association! Click here for the details.
- Congratulations are also in order for West Hartford resident Bernard Kosto, MD, recently elected president of the 170-year-old Hartford Medical Society (HMS). According to a news release: “Dr. Kosto graduated Yale in 1957 and earned his medical degree in 1962. He served as a U.S. Public Health Service Fellow in Argentina and active duty with the U.S. Naval Reserves as the Assistant Chief of Urology at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kosto built his career in private urology practice, Hartford Hospital (Emeritus). He lives in West Hartford with his wife, Gale.”