West Hartford craft beer and comfort food fans will have a new place to eat and drink when Blue Plate Kitchen opens in the Bishops Corner Shopping Center in late 2013.
Jay DuMond, owner of City Steam Brewery in Hartford, said Tuesday morning that Blue Plate Kitchen, serving "modern comfort food," is scheduled to open in November in the former Petco space in Bishops Corner.
"Other than the fact that it will feature all of City Steam's beers, it's a different restaurant," DuMond said. The range of beers to be offered will be "whatever we can legally sell," he said.
Although the menu has yet to be developed, it will be "soup to nuts comfort food," DuMond said. "A fine chef will be one of my partners," he said, and anticipates a modern take on traditional comfort foods, such as short ribs. The pricing will be "comfort food range," he said, with some higher priced specials available for dinner.
That "fine chef" is Eric Cianci, who has worked with DuMond in the past and will be returning from Florida. Anthony Sousa, currently of City Steam, will be general manager and another partner. DuMond said his wife and a few limited investors have also partnered for the venture.
The atmosphere will have a modern, industrial feel, with an open ceiling, rather than a pub feel. The 2,950 square foot interior will have seating for 90, but a large outdoor patio area will seat 60 more.
"It will be located on the plaza and have a great outdoor seating/gathering area," Ryan Panitz, communications director for Edens which owns the Bishops Corner Shopping Center, said Tuesday morning.
DuMond lives in West Hartford, and has extensive restaurant experience in the Hartford area. "I live in the [Bishops Corner] area, and always felt the need here for a mid-price restaurant that would have an active bar," he said.
DuMond said he has been looking for a site for about three years, but this was the only spot that caught his eye. He said he has a lot of respect for Edens because they worked to attract local tenants to the shopping center rather than just national chains.
The landlord still has work to do on the space before turning it over to DuMond, who said he has "been in the business too long to speculate" an exact opening date. The space is pre-approved for a restaurant occupancy as well as outdoor dining, so no zoning approval will be required. DuMond hopes to be open by the end of the year.
Neighborhood Market by Walmart, Noodles & Company, and Maximum Beverage have recently opened in the Bishops Corner Shopping Center.