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West Hartford Business Buzz: September 18, 2017

Work is underway on Harvest Wine Bar, which plans to open by the end of the year at 64 LaSalle Rd. Photo credit: Ronni Newton
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A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Before you read anything else: VOTE!

Voting in the third annual Best of West Hartford closes at noon. You don’t want your favorite West Hartford business to lose out on accolades and the chance to be honored at the awards show on Sept. 27, do you? Click here for the direct link to the voting.

Back to the regular column …

Now that it’s officially the last week of summer, it’s been feeling quite a bit like summer out there. I’m happy for the little reprise of warm weather, and although I purchased a few mini pumpkins this week, they were for my daughter and husband. No pumpkins for me until after 4:02 p.m. on Friday, when autumn officially arrives.

What a difference a week makes in other ways, too. When I was writing this column last Sunday, I was incredibly worried about my father, who was with his wife at her former sister-in-law’s condo in Hillsboro Beach, waiting for Irma to hit. Although they spent a few uncomfortable, un-air-conditioned and power-less days cooped up together, by Wednesday they were back home, with power, in their own undamaged condo. They survived Irma unscathed, as did virtually all of my friends in Florida. I know that many, many others did not fare as well, and my prayers continue for them.

Last week was a busy week of news with Breakfast on the Bridge, openings (Delamar West Hartford Hotel and Division West), unexpected twists and turns in the budget process, and an update on the UConn property. There was the scary news Thursday when my friend Sally’s husband, Tim Lynch, was running in the MDC reservoir and came upon an injured bicyclist who had spent the night lying on the side of the path. By Friday night, I was glad for a break courtesy of “Avenue Q” at Playhouse on Park – a hilarious escape that I highly recommend!

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:

Work is underway on Harvest Wine Bar, which plans to open by the end of the year at 64 LaSalle Rd. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • At the beginning of the year, I started a list of restaurants/eateries that were planning to open in West Hartford in 2017. I had to write them down because there were too many to remember! I’ve kept that list updated as openings have taken place (there have been 15), and I’m continuing to keep tabs on the rest – including Harvest Wine Bar. A barrier was recently erected in front of the former BK&Co. and Contessa space at 64-66 LaSalle Rd., as work began in earnest on the farm-to-table restaurant. “We are hoping to be open by the end of the year, the last few weeks of December,” said Vicente Siguenza, who owns and operates the restaurant brand with his siblings Kleber Siguenza and Nube Siguenza. Vicente said he has been spending plenty of time in West Hartford and is looking forward to the opening. The menu, according to their website, offers “modern American custom cuisine with Asian, Latin, and Mediterranean influence.” Harvest Wine Bar currently has three locations (Greenwich, New Haven, and Westport), and the owners also have several “sister” restaurants in Fairfield County with slightly different concepts. I had a chance to eat at the Greenwich location a few months ago, and it was fabulous! More information will certainly follow as the opening nears.
  • In case you missed the message above, don’t forget to VOTE for Best of West Hartford. The location and format for the awards show has changed and because of the exciting venue change (to the Cinépolis Theaterin Blue Back Square), the event has been rescheduled for Sept. 27, so the voting was extended until Sept. 18 at noon. Click here for more information about the event and click here to vote!
  • Now here is something that sounds like great fun for a great cause! William Raveis will be hosting a “Crawl for the Cure” event – a pub crawl (technically a restaurant crawl) in support of the Damon Runyon Foundation – the leading charity supporting innovative young cancer researchers. According to news release from William Raveis, 100 percent of donations fund cancer research and Damon Runyon Scientists have made many of the most important discoveries in cancer research. The Crawl for the Cure will be held on Monday, Sept. 25, from 5-8 p.m., at Max Burger (on the patio, from 5-5:45 p.m.), Barcelona (from 6-6:45 p.m.), and Elbow Room (on the rooftop, from 7-8 p.m.). Tickets (available by clicking here for $30, or $35 at the door) provide access to the restaurant, appetizers, one free drink voucher for wine or beer, and a raffle ticket. For additional questions please email [email protected] or call Celeste at 860.521.4311.

    131-137 South Main St. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Every time I drive or run by (often, because I live off South Main), I’ve been wondering about the three empty storefronts (131-137 South Main St.) that were formerly the two Revival Home locations and South Main Pizza locations. Quite a bit of work has been going on lately and I caught up with Commercial Real Estate Broker Alexis Augsberger of CBRE-New England for an update. He said the property owner has recently made some upgrades to the shopping center, and that the three spaces available total about 9,500 square feet. “It’s all about finding the right fit for the three spaces,” Augsberger said. They are talking with a few potential tenants, but want to make sure that whatever business or businesses take the space “complement the rest of the center.”
  • Opening next month in West Hartford will be Farmers Insurance – Steve Somen Agency. Somen said he has partnered with a friend, Isaac Adams, a fellow Canton resident who also left the corporate world last year (Travelers and The Hartford) and plan to open two offices in the area with the first one launching in October at 224 Whiting Lane. Marketing will begin in late September with a formal opening planned for Oct. 20. They plan to initially employ two to four people, and grow the West Hartford office to total of six to eight employees in the next six months. When asked why he chose West Hartford for his first office, Somen said, “West Hartford was ideal for us for many reasons including its central location in the valley, the vibrancy of the town districts, proximity to family and friends and the dense population for a business focused on customer interaction and a local presence. We both have friends and family in the surrounding towns. My sister moved to West Hartford in the late 80s to complete her medical residency at Hartford Hospital and my wife and I followed her here in 1999. My two kids grew up in Simsbury and my son and his wife just bought their first home in West Hartford last year. We spend a great deal of time in this area (and visiting my daughter in the Boston area). Isaac also has a son who is in his 3rd year of college back in the midwest.”
  • Xfinity announced last week that the company will offer the new generation iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Customers will be able to pre-order iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus beginning Sept. 15 at and Xfinity stores, and both will be available in stores starting on Sept. 22. For complete pricing details, please visit West Hartford’s Xfinity store is located at 1253 New Britain Ave.
  • ICYMI the Delamar West Hartford Hotel held its official opening last week. For a complete feature on the hotel, including tons of photos of the inside and outside, click here. To read about the fanfare that took place at the ribbon cutting, click here.
  • Also ICYMI, Division West opened last week. Click here for that story.

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!

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We-Ha is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that “has it all”! 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]

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