Family Plans to Open Wine Bar and Bistro in Collinsville

Francesca’s to offer a cozy, European style setting.

Francesca Nadeau thought she had successfully retired from the food business when she happened to notice a for-rent sign in downtown Collinsville.

The wheels began churning and now she, husband Don and son Jonathan are busy converting 105 Main St. (the former Husk: New American Tacos) into a wine bar and bistro with a European flair and dubbed Francesca’s.

The family plans for lunch and dinner seven days a week, offering Italian and other Mediterranean themed food, with a few Asian specials.

“I think we’re going to have a nice little niche with that,” Nadeau said.

The family’s inspiration is Sofia Wine Bar, Café in New York City, a spot with a reputation as a cozy place to relax with friends.

“It’s what we want to re-create — just a really nice spot to hang out and spend an evening,” Nadeau said.

In Collinsville, Francesca’s will offer a little more in the way of food than their friends in New York City. However, the plan is start small, with offerings such as panini, fresh salad and tapas, and gradually build with input from customers.

“Really we’re going to let our crowd dictate a lot of what they want,” Nadeau said.

Jonathan Nadeau and friend Alan Cooke will handle the kitchen duties. Both are graduates of the Advanced Italian Arts program at the Connecticut Culinary Institute and have experience working in Italy and at area restaurants. 

“The level of experience for their cooking is off the charts,” Don Nadeau said.

Francesca’s will also include an eight-seat bar built by Don, a retired Bristol firefighter and builder. Now they are in the process of working on the space as well as the kitchen area located in a separate structure behind the restaurant. 

The family is seeking a full liquor license and plans to offer beer and other drinks in addition to wine. They are awaiting the liquor license and have a few other details to work out, but Francesca Nadeau is hoping for a late summer opening.

The Nadeaus live in Harwinton and for 10 years were part owners of Martino’s, an Italian Market and Deli and Bistro in Bristol.

Don Nadeau said the family is really looking forward to opening, getting to know the town better, catering to the customers and developing relationships with other restaurant owners in the area.

“There’s no ceiling for our capability,” Don Nadeau said.

Wyatt October 09, 2012 at 08:59 PM
@Ed. I've spent time in and around Collinsville. Here is what I based my comment on: 1. I recently took a bike road up to the Nepaug Reservoir and this is what I saw - lawns not mowed (some had grass 3 feet tall), junk littering people's yards, broken down and rusted cars between properties, homes in disrepair, spray painted rocks and signs, and overgrown yards that look like they haven't been kept up in a decade. I saw similar things all around Collinsville, including broken down signs, garbage, broken fences, rusted out junk, and more. People seem to take no pride in their property or their homes - very, very different feel from Avon or Simsbury where people keep up their properties much better.
Ed October 09, 2012 at 10:15 PM
You picked the one, small section of Collinsville that contains a large percentage of low-end rental housing, and in particular two specific run down properties. Every town has them, even your beloved Avon and Simsbury. I can take you on a bike tour of those towns and show you the exact same things. Or, if you prefer, I can take you on a more extensive tour of Canton where you'll see quite the opposite. The vast majority of Canton looks nothing like what you describe. You might want to take a look at census data if you have doubts. Labeling an entire town "red neck" and unworthy of NYC sophistication based on a trivially small sample of the town's appearance is simply ridiculous. It's also, as I said, crass, rude and snobbish.
Tim October 10, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Wyatt, are you really that vain? I mean your short bike ride was the basis of your Collinsville opinion? Did you ever think for a second to consider another potential reason for the blighted properties? Mortgage payments. Just in case you haven't heard, the good ole US of A has a mortgage crisis on it's hand. Over 6 million homeowners are 30 days or more behind on their payment or in foreclosure. That said, when's the last time you were in the Old Farms Crossing section of Avon? Finally, have you even stepped foot in Francesca's Wine Bar?
Ed October 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM
My wife and I had dinner with a friend at Francesca's this last weekend. Excellent food, excellent service, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices. What's not to like? I'm totally psyched to have an Italian/Mediterranean bistro in Collinsville. Highly recommend. We'll be back.
Pam October 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Just ate at LaSalle's and noticed Francesca's as I left! Look great; and from most of the comments here, sounds great,too! I look forward to trying it very soon!


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