West Hartford Business Buzz: July 25, 2022 – We-Ha

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

By Ronni Newton

I complain about the cold so I won’t let myself complain about the heat – but it certainly has been hot for the past week!

I went for a few early-ish (7 a.m.) runs last week, and after Thursday’s run I had to get ready somewhat quickly for a meeting, and the portable air conditioner in our bedroom decided to stop working and flash an error code that made no sense to me, and I couldn’t get it to work, and I pretty much felt like I never stopped sweating for the entire rest of the day.

I do still prefer the heat to the cold though.

Summer is usually somewhat quiet, but I went to two ribbon cuttings last week (see below) and there were also quite a few breaking news stories. Maybe August will be quiet …

After buying food to make dinner Friday night, Ted and I made the last-minute decision to instead attend the Michael Cavanaugh: Music of Billy Joel concert by the Hartford Symphony at the Talcott Mountain Music Festival. We enjoyed the fantastic music, and a wonderful picnic on the lawn.

Flatbreads, hummus, and some chilled chardonnay at the Talcott Mountain Music Festival. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

No dinner out Saturday night because we didn’t want to waste the ingredients we had bought but to make sure we supported a West Hartford business – and because we wanted a cold treat on a hot night – we had some frozen custard from Rita’s. (The waffle cone was Ted’s, but he let me hold it for the photo.)

Rita’s in a waffle cone. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Rita’s chocolate and vanilla twist in a cup. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

We did enjoy a delicious brunch in Boston on Sunday with Sam and his girlfriend, Kate – before picking up Katie and Matt at Logan Airport. We discovered a new thing: pancake tacos!

Pancake tacos from Amrheins in Southie. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Mushroom and spinach omelet from Amrheins in Southie. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Corned beef hash with eggs over easy from Amrheins in Southie. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

I’m going to write this again and continue to email all who try to post comments to stories with their first name only (or some made-up moniker): I will not publish your comment until you provide your full name! Once a commenter gets through the approval queue the first time, future comments are posted automatically, and there are some commenters who are grandfathered because this requirement is only a year or two old. I have emailed all who have tried to comment without complete names, and in every case they haven’t bothered to respond or provide their names. If there’s silence for a week, I delete the request. Just wanted readers to know. Despite my including this message in both the introduction and as a bullet point in last week’s column, someone attempted to comment on the column with an obviously made-up name!

The state changed its COVID reporting a few weeks ago and while detailed reports aren’t issued daily the number of positive tests over the past week for each town is updated each day. The most recent report (as of Saturday) indicates 78 positive tests in West Hartford over the previous seven days – a number that’s higher than it was last week. The positivity rate is at 13.5{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} – and of course that doesn’t include the home tests that are positive but not reported. I have several friends who have tested positive recently, but thankfully all have had relatively mild symptoms. One day I hope to be able to delete this paragraph completely, but in the meantime, please continue to have patience since not everyone has the same level of comfort, continue to look out for each other, support our local businesses – and stay safe and healthy.

If you have information to share about local businesses, please provide details in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].


Connecticut Physical Therapy Specialists is the sponsor of this week’s Business Buzz!

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

Boqueria, a New York-based Spanish restaurant, will be opening in the former Balos (and before that Besito) space in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • I have confirmed that Boqueria has signed a lease for the sizable restaurant space most recently occupied by Balos (and before that, Besito) at 46 South Main Street in Blue Back Square. I don’t have any details yet from the ownership (I have reached out) but what I have been advised is that the opening is planned for early 2023. According to their website, Boqueria specializes in Spanish paella and tapas, as well as creative cocktails, and is also known for a festive atmosphere. There are several New York location as well as two locations in Washington, DC, and one in Chicago and Nashville. Balos, which an upscale Greek restaurant, was only open for about 18 months following an extensive renovation that they did before opening. The initial plan when Balos closed in January 2020 was that it was temporary and they planned to rebrand, but we all know what happened shortly after that, and then sadly the owner, George Chatzopoulos, passed away earlier this year. It’s hard to believe that Besito (which I really liked!) has been gone for long, but it closed abruptly in July 2017.

Kilwins will be opening at 38 Isham Road in Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Another exciting new business coming to Blue Back Square is Kilwins – which will be opening at 38 Isham Road, where most recently Trollbeads was located until it closed, along with all other New England locations other than Holyoke, MA, in mid-June. “Since 1947 Kilwins has been a celebrated part of Americana having earned a reputation for providing high quality chocolates, ice cream, and confections [including Mackinac Island Fudge] combined with excellent service,” the website states. The franchise business has locations throughout the country, but the West Hartford shop will be the first in Connecticut. The Kilwins website says they will open in 2023, but it can’t come soon enough!

Nothing Bundt Cakes is now open in Corbin’s Corner. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Nothing Bundt Cakes is open in Corbin’s Corner as of Sunday, and will be the subject of a feature story later today!

Brook Goff (center) cuts the ribbon at the new headquarters of Goff Law Group at Corporate Center West in West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Congratulations to Goff Law Group, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary and move to a beautiful new office suite at Corporate Center West. Attorney Brooke Goff, whose personal injury practice continues to grow and now includes four locations spread throughout the state of Connecticut, cut the ribbon Friday along with staff, business partners, and the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

Attorney Brooke Goff

Brooke Goff (left) and law partner Annette Smith. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Brook Goff (center) cuts the ribbon at the new headquarters of Goff Law Group at Corporate Center West in West Hartford. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Goff Law Group celebrated its new offices and anniversary with custom doughnuts from Donut Crazy. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conference room at the new Goff Law Group office at Corporate Center West. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Congratulations also to Oath Pizza, which had its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Thursday! CEO Drew Kellogg said it was the first new location the business has opened in four years, and Chief Marketing Officer Stacie Hayes added that the West Hartford location, which is corporate-owned, is the first to showcase the new branding. I’ve already tasted many of the pizzas – all of which get a thumbs up – and sampled the Farmer’s Garden veggie pizza this time. I’ll definitely order it again!

Oath Pizza CEO Drew Kellog (center, in blue shirt) and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor cut the ribbon at the new Blue Back Square location on July 21. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Farmer’s Garden Pizza from Oath Pizza. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

  • Where Healing Begins Wellness Center will have its grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 30, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at their offices at 10 Grassmere Ave., West Hartford. Founder Lorena Soto Bunker said she is dedicating the center to her parents, who are from Puerto Rico. Among the activities that differentiate this wellness center are that salsa lessons will be offered “to connect my community and roots,” she said, in addition to yoga for adults and kids, Reiki healing, and various forms of therapy.

Courtesy image

  • The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce held its golf tournament last Tuesday at Wampanoag. Among the 84 golfers participating were Kevin Keenan and Paul Listro, who joined their successors, Westfarms General Manager Alberto Arebalo and Head of Security Jerry Erwin.

From left: Alberto Arebalo, Kevin Keenan, Jerry Erwin, and Paul Listro. Courtesy photo

  • Congratulations to West Hartford resident Michelle Bonner who has been named director of Public Relations at Adams & Knight in Avon. Bonner was previously marketing director at the Mandell Jewish Community Center in West Hartford, and she also shared that at the JCC Kelly Boscarino is the new marketing director and Kate Sullivan is the new assistant marketing director.

Branden Kaufmann. Courtesy photo

  • Congrats to West Hartford resident Branden Kaufmann, a student at Johnson & Wales, who was recently named a 2022 recipient of the Max CaresFoundation Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Scholarship. Twelve scholarships, totaling $25,000, have recently been awarded to recent high school graduates from The Hartford or Springfield areas and currently enrolled college students that are pursuing an education in the fields of culinary arts and hospitality management. “As the restaurant industry continues to rebound, the Max Cares Foundation is proud to continue its investment in the next generation of our industry’s leaders,” Max Cares Foundation Board President Rich Rosenthal said. “We are particularly excited to have grown our number of awardees in the Greater Springfield region as well as served our most diverse applicant pool ever. Based on this years scholarship recipients, we think the future of the culinary arts and hospitality sector looks very bright!”

Joyce Aparicio. Courtesy photo

  • Coldwell Banker Realty in Connecticut and Westchester County, New York announced in a news release that a West Hartford resident is one of two locally affiliated real estate agents and teams that have been honored by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) with the Top 250 Latino Agents in America Award for 2022. According to a news release, this award recognizes the most successful Latino real estate agents in the United States, whose hard work, ambition and contributions have helped thousands of individuals to realize their dream of homeownership while supporting NAHREP’s mission to advance sustainable Hispanic homeownership. The winners include Joyce Aparicio, affiliated with the Coldwell Banker Realty office in West Hartford, who is ranked No. 20 among the Top 100 Latino Agents in the Northeast and No. 241 among the Top 250 Latino Agents in the entire United States, with 50 transactions in 2021.

Joshua Woods. Courtesy photo

  • Halloran Sage has announced that West Hartford resident and attorney Joshua Woods has recently their Hartford location. He practices in corporate transactions and real estate, guiding clients through negotiations, documentation, due diligence reviews, and closings. He also provides legal counsel to private companies in financings, day-to-day affairs, and mergers and acquisitions. He earned his JD from Western New England University School of Law and his BBA from Hofstra University.

Sivan Hines. Courtesy photo

  • The Board of Directors of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities, has appointed Beatriz Gutierrez and Sivan Hines to join the Board. According to a news release, Dr. Hines is a new resident of West Hartford and is the inaugural senior director of College Partnerships and Scholar Success for Hartford Promise, a large-scale scholarship organization for Hartford public school students. In her role Hines focuses on operationalizing Hartford Promise’s integrated college success model that provides students the financial resources, support services and key relationships that lead to college success and economic mobility. Prior to moving to West Hartford, Hines worked as a pediatrician for more than twenty years in the Atlanta-based Wellstar Pediatric & Adolescent Center, helping to grow the practice into one of the region’s largest and most successful pediatric practices.  In addition, Hines has demonstrated a deep commitment to community, serving on the boards of directors of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Covenant House of Georgia, Atlanta Youth Academy, Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, and the Brown Medical Alumni Association (current president-elect).  Dr. Hines earned both her Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization and Neuroscience and her Doctorate of Medicine from Brown University.

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].

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