A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.
By Ronni Newton
Before I can even begin to write about West Hartford business, I need to ask for a virtual moment of silence for a young woman from West Hartford who lost her life far too soon.
Rest in peace, Jeffny Pally.
On Saturday I was telling a few friends that I don’t usually plan my Business Buzz introductions far in advance. Sometimes I don’t even know what the lead story for this column is going to be until nearly the last minute, but something newsworthy always seems to arise.
On Sunday morning I was driving my son back to UConn. He had come back to West Hartford Saturday night to attend an event with his girlfriend, but had to be back on campus somewhat early to get ready for the homecoming parade. He was scrolling through Twitter on his phone, and told me when he saw the tragic news about a UConn student having been run over by a fire truck.
“The second UConn student to die this year,” he said. There was no further information available yet, and although we both agreed that it was really sad, we – in retrospect somewhat dispassionately – moved on to another subject.
I dropped him off at his dorm, and was heading back to West Hartford. I love driving to Storrs at this time of the year, and although I hate that winter follows autumn I was admiring the spectacular colors of the trees and in my head writing the introduction to this column about the beauty of autumn.
I was on I-84, in Vernon, when I answered a phone call from my daughter. (I have Bluetooth in the car.) “Mom, something awful happened,” she said. I had those immediate thoughts that any parent has when their child begins a phone call that way. “What, what, are you okay?” was my response.
She told me that a UConn student had died early Sunday morning, and I told her I had heard that, but didn’t know anything more about it. But then she told me that the girl was from West Hartford, had gone to Hall, and was one of her sorority sisters.
I instinctively jumped into reporter mode, asking her a ton of questions. But then I quickly realized that although I would need to write a story about the incident as soon as I got home, I needed to be a mom first. My daughter is 21, and is a very mature young woman. But although she has personally known people who have died – including our dear friend who passed away just last week – it’s always been an older person. Not a classmate, a peer, a friend.
I was ready to turn the car around and head back to UConn, but my daughter said that all of her friends were just going to be together, and that’s what they needed to do.
I didn’t know Jeffny Pally personally, but I wish I had had the chance to meet her. She had a beautiful smile, and from everything I have heard she was a wonderful friend, a bright young woman who had her whole future ahead of her, a shining light extinguished much too soon.
My heart goes out to the Pally family. Please give a little extra hug to all of those you love.
There’s no good segue right now, but this is a business column, and we do have some good business 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:
- There are quite a few restaurants poised to open in West Hartford in the next few weeks/months, and Noble & Co. is getting very close. I got a peek at the 43 LaSalle Rd. space on Friday (see additional photos at bottom), and owner Mike Ladden said the construction will be complete in the next week or so, with an opening sometime in November. The build-out seems to have happened at a remarkably quick pace, but Ladden said that the plans had been in place for quite some time, and as soon as Charles Schwab moved out in July, he had a team ready to begin work. The restaurant is going to be gorgeous! From the striking distressed wood bar backed by glowing copper which will soon house scores of liquors, to the intricate gray and white floor tiles that appear vintage, to the black and white damask wallpaper, crystal chandeliers, Venetian plaster vaulted ceilings with medallions – no corner has been left untouched, even the restrooms. “It’s a glitzy roaring 20s, but the feel is also classic,” Ladden said. At the same time, he said, the restaurant won’t be conservative and “old school.” The art which will soon adorn the walls, the music, and the food will all have an edgy, cosmopolitan feel. Inspiration comes from New York, Boston, and Ladden’s travels to St. Barts. “It’s something that hasn’t come to West Hartford yet,” he said. Ladden has hired Alex Petard – a third-generation French chef who most recently worked at Le District in New York City as executive chef, and Michael Voight, who comes from Vinted in Blue Back Square, as chef de cuisine. Petard said he is still finalizing the menu, but “The food will be gastronomic, designed with local and international flavors, and fun.” He said he will use French techniques, a focus on local and regional ingredients, and include elements of French cuisine as well as South American, Central American, and Asian fusion on the menu. Dessert will be worth every calorie. The bar will have a “craft cocktail focus with a strong wine presence,” Ladden said. Stay tuned for more details about the opening!
- In other soon-to-open restaurant news, Cook and the Bear co-owner Tyler Anderson said that there have been some delays but everything is now on track. A mid-November opening is likely for the 50 Memorial Rd. space in Blue Back Square.
- Chef Prasad Chirnomula said in an email that INDIA – which will be the name of the new restaurant at 54 Memorial Rd., right next door to Cook and the Bear – will be also be opening in mid to late November.
- TODAY at noon is the last chance to order your custom We-Ha Vineyard Vines clothing and accessoriesto be delivered in time for the holidays. “Our best sellers have been the hats and belts and we hope to see a bunch more orders,” said said Tom Hickey of West Hartford Magazine. “The ‘buzz’ and impression I’m getting is that ‘everyone’ wants it. I mean, it doesn’t get any preppier than VineyardVines!” This custom We-Ha VineyardVines idea grew from a conversation between Tom and VineyardVines founders (and brothers), Shep and Ian. Getting approval by VineyardVines took several months and it’s exciting to offer this custom clothing to residents and fans of West Hartford. After a whole-hearted endorsement from Mayor Shari Cantor for the “We-Ha” moniker (since spelling out West Hartford is too long and felt too formal for this preppy-wear), the idea was officially launched in September. Now they are counting on customers to step up and order so that minimums can be met and clothing can be produced! Order online or at Silver Dahlia, at 970 Farmington Ave.
- Congratulations to the Keating Insurance Agency, named a finalist for the Hartford Business Journal’s 2016-2017 Family Business Award. A family-owned business since its founding in 1969 by Michael J. Keating and his wife, Dorothy, the business has been run by Michael F. Keating and his sister, Marguerite Glassman, since 1999. Ryan M. Keating just returned to West Hartford and has joined his father’s business, continuing the legacy into the third generation.
- Max Burger is participating in the #endbullyingnow campaign. The West Hartford (124 LaSalle Rd.) and Longmeadow. MA, locations will be putting their money where your mouths are, donating a percentage of sales on Thursday, Nov. 3 to the National Conference for Community and Justice youth leadership and bullying prevention programs.
- The last I heard about New Asia’s move across the street from 1160 to 1155 New Britain Ave. was that it was planned for late fall/early winter. But the sign is up with an “opening soon” banner. More details to follow!
- ICYMI, the West Hartford Town Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night establishing a work group to address zoning updates in the central business district – primarily West Hartford Center. This action follows the withdrawal/denial of two proposed zoning amendments earlier this year. Click here for the complete story.
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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