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ctman987

Restaurants in the city

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I just read an article in the Providence Journal about all these new restaurants....many of them national chains opening up in Providence. These include places like Ruth Chris, Flemings Prime Steakhouse, The Melting Pot and Jimmy John's. The city is already home to places like the Cheesacke Factory, Fire + Ice and McCormick & Schmicks.

Hartford has a pretty good restaurant scene that is slowly but surely growing. The nice part is that most restaurants downtown are locally owned and operated except for basically Morton's Steakhouse. Now I have mixed views on these upscale chain restaurants downtown. When these restaurants are opened they are not opened in bulk...there is one of them for a metro area so if a place like this were to open downtown people would have to go downtown to eat at it. The other side is this brings stiff competition for the other city restaurants that are locally owned and operated.

The problem with Hartford is that it needs to draw these restaurants to the city. Right now Hartford has to compete with (in my opinon) West Hartford Center/Blue Back Square for restaurants like these. The Cheescake Factory and Fleming's Steakhouse (correct me if im wrong) have signed leases for space in West Hartford not in Hartford. There is no real place to compete with Providence ...right now and lets hope they do not build a casino either because that will hurt Downtown Providence.

Anyway heres the article...what do you think?

http://www.projo.com/business/content/proj...19.2e24011.html

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TThe Cheescake Factory and Fleming's Steakhouse (correct me if im wrong) have signed leases for space in West Hartford not in Hartford. There is no real place to compete with Providence ...right now and lets hope they do not build a casino either because that will hurt Downtown Providence.

Anyway heres the article...what do you think?

http://www.projo.com/business/content/proj...19.2e24011.html

Sounds like Providence is competing more with West Hartford than Hartford. I don't think national chains would hurt Hartford's locally owned restuarants. I think the more you have to offer downtown, the better it is for everyone.

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Anyone who uses Providence as a measuring stick is shooting too low.

The best of Hartford is organic to the city. Yes, I like Mortons but places like Max's and Black Eyed Sally's are what make a city special. Chains are fine but they make every place look the same. Given me Timothy's or Moes for breakfast. And Trumbull Kitchen or City Steam for lunch. I actually think it's great that H21 picked a local upscale grocery and not a Dean and DeLuca (although D&D is great).

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Anyone who uses Providence as a measuring stick is shooting too low.

The best of Hartford is organic to the city. Yes, I like Mortons but places like Max's and Black Eyed Sally's are what make a city special. Chains are fine but they make every place look the same. Given me Timothy's or Moes for breakfast. And Trumbull Kitchen or City Steam for lunch. I actually think it's great that H21 picked a local upscale grocery and not a Dean and DeLuca (although D&D is great).

I would agree. The only thing that having big national chains in a city is good for it to attract conventioneers and tourists that can recognize a name and feel safe going there since they know the reputation and menu, etc. It's the local places that are always the best though and will attract actual residents.

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just a note here. providence, while gaining a lot of new high end chains also has a huge local independent restaurant scene as well.

given that most of these new restaurants are steak joints, they'll really only compete with the capital grille, as we don't have a lot of high end chains here. the local establishments won't be hurt too much by them because they get the locals and offer something most chains don't.

and, as recchia already said, these chains will help bring business travellers and conventioneers in.

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Speaking of local places. My wife and I ate at the new Ethiopian restaurant on Farmington Ave. It is in between Tisane and the Mexican restaurant. The food is definitely interesting and unique, and you eat with your hand not with silverwares. I think you suppose to use right hand only, but I am not sure. I like the food but wish the portion is a little larger; my wife doesn't like spicy food and things on the menu are mostly spicy :( . The place is just opened so they are still working some of the service kinks out. If you guys are looking for something unique and exotic it is worth a try. I bet there is no national chain of Ethipian food.

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Anyone who uses Providence as a measuring stick is shooting too low.

Being similar sized New England cities with similar histories of rise and subsequent decline, and seeing as Providence now is nationally recognized for it's dining scene (thanks in part to Johnson & Wales University being located here), I think the comparison is apt.

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Being similar sized New England cities with similar histories of rise and subsequent decline, and seeing as Providence now is nationally recognized for it's dining scene (thanks in part to Johnson & Wales University being located here), I think the comparison is apt.

I think the comparison is apt, however I think he just meant we should not be setting the bar of where we want to be to the level of another mid sized city, especially not one that many would call our chief competitor in New England. Pretty much whatever bar we set should be higher than where Providence or any other mid sized city is currently at and I totally agree with that.

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I think the comparison is apt, however I think he just meant we should not be setting the bar of where we want to be to the level of another mid sized city, especially not one that many would call our chief competitor in New England. Pretty much whatever bar we set should be higher than where Providence or any other mid sized city is currently at and I totally agree with that.

providence arguably has the best restaurant scene of any city in new england, including boston. i think providence is a pretty good bar to set at when talking restaurants.

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providence arguably has the best restaurant scene of any city in new england, including boston. i think providence is a pretty good bar to set at when talking restaurants.

Nobody said the scene in PVD wasn't strong, however ours is already no slouch and our purpose here is to blow competitors out of the water, not just get to where they are. That's the only point I think was being made.

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providence arguably has the best restaurant scene of any city in new england, including boston. i think providence is a pretty good bar to set at when talking restaurants.

For all fairness I will not talk compare Hartford and Providence....I will say though that New Haven has an amazing restaurant scene. Yes you will say it flourishes because of Yale...and it does. Providence has a reputable restaurant scene because of J&W. New Haven has an amazing restaurant scene because the fact that downtown is hopping first made many restaurants want to open downtown to cater to the students, then people wanted to start moving downtown because it was so hopping and many upscale restaurants have followed.

Personally I like the locally owned and operated restaurants in Hartford. We are not talking about dumpy locally owned and operated restaurants. Max Downtown, Hot Tomatos, Trumbull Kitchen (to name a few) are very nice restaurants, places that could be in NYC or Boston.

When you look at major cities there are certain areas of the city where there are chains. In NYC for example one place is Times Square. Theres McDonalds, Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone, Applebees, Cold Stone Creamery, TGI Fridays, etc. Then there are other areas of the city where there are little to no chains...Little Italy, SoHo, Chelsea, etc.

Hartford is not big enough to have a downtown where both can live equally. So basically a few chains downtown to make the tourists and conventioneers feel comfortable is good. Mortons is a start but more can be done. For example Ruth Chris's of Hartford is actually in Newington....come on.

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Places like Morton's and Ruth's are big expense account places and Morton's has been packed since the Convention Center opened. It also gets a lot of the business traveler crowd.

This would be a good time for Ruth's to leave the Berlin Turnpike and come downtown and get some of the business.

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Nobody said the scene in PVD wasn't strong, however ours is already no slouch and our purpose here is to blow competitors out of the water, not just get to where they are. That's the only point I think was being made.

I think a Capital Grill would work well in front street or something that not many cities in the North East have is a P.F. Changs. Tell me P.F. Changs wouldn't draw people from all over, the food isn't great nor bad, however people seem to love it and the atmosphere is nice. A Peiwei would fit good in blueback which is a smaller version of P.F. Changs. I think we might be seeing one or both of these open up in greater Hartford since Flemmings is now being opened which owns Outback, P.F. Changs and Peiwei.

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For all fairness I will not talk compare Hartford and Providence....I will say though that New Haven has an amazing restaurant scene. Yes you will say it flourishes because of Yale...and it does. Providence has a reputable restaurant scene because of J&W. New Haven has an amazing restaurant scene because the fact that downtown is hopping first made many restaurants want to open downtown to cater to the students, then people wanted to start moving downtown because it was so hopping and many upscale restaurants have followed.

Personally I like the locally owned and operated restaurants in Hartford. We are not talking about dumpy locally owned and operated restaurants. Max Downtown, Hot Tomatos, Trumbull Kitchen (to name a few) are very nice restaurants, places that could be in NYC or Boston.

When you look at major cities there are certain areas of the city where there are chains. In NYC for example one place is Times Square. Theres McDonalds, Hard Rock Cafe, ESPN Zone, Applebees, Cold Stone Creamery, TGI Fridays, etc. Then there are other areas of the city where there are little to no chains...Little Italy, SoHo, Chelsea, etc.

Hartford is not big enough to have a downtown where both can live equally. So basically a few chains downtown to make the tourists and conventioneers feel comfortable is good. Mortons is a start but more can be done. For example Ruth Chris's of Hartford is actually in Newington....come on.

a city flourishing because of a college is nothing to scoff at. i don't know why that always seems to be the case here. J&W has helped bring providence's restaurant scene to the national limelight... but there are a TON of local restaurants established all over the city, in downtown and the neighborhoods.

speaking of chains though... i wish hard rock would open up in providence... that's one chain i absolutely love.

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Whatever works for a city in my opinion is great. For example is Yale helps the downtown retail/entertainment/restaurant sector thats great. If J&W creates graduates who open restaurants downtown thats great. If Hartford's reputation as a major insurance city gets other insurers wanting to open in Hartford thats great. What works is fine with me

Anyway P.F. Changs would be great for the city. According to its website though most of its locations are in suburbs not the major urban cores (except for Boston). There NYC location is in White Plains, there Baltimore location isnt in Baltimore, no Philly location....do they want to invest in Hartford?

Capital Grille on the other hand I always felt would be great in Hartford. Theres ones in Providence, Boston, Philly and Baltimore...why not Hartford???

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Out west they seem to be a little more urban. Here in Phoenix there are a bunch of P.F. Changs since it is headquarters is here. There is one in the Biltmore section of Phoenix which is urban, there is one on the water front (it is actually a canal) in Scottsdale which is urban and there is some urban locations in California.

I think a location at Front Street would work well.

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I think Front Street could serve as a Times Square area for the city...a place where the city's chains are housed...still in the city but also not right next to many of the locally owned and operated restaurants around the Civic Center/Capital Community College/Union Station area

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I think Front Street could serve as a Times Square area for the city...a place where the city's chains are housed...still in the city but also not right next to many of the locally owned and operated restaurants around the Civic Center/Capital Community College/Union Station area

Exaclty, many out of towners are going to be in the general area around the Convention center, Wadsworth, and Front street. Not many are going to wander up near the Civic center unless there is some sort of event there. People like chains because they know what is expected, I think not only out of towners feel comfortable with this but also many locals who don't really know what Hartford has to offer. A family in Manchester might know P.F. Changs or the Capital Grill but has no idea about the smaller independant establishment thet are in the city right now. I agree we need to have independent places but I also think the chains will bring in more people who might not care to take a chance on a place they don't know much about, and there are many people who are like that.

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I think Front Street could serve as a Times Square area for the city...a place where the city's chains are housed...still in the city but also not right next to many of the locally owned and operated restaurants around the Civic Center/Capital Community College/Union Station area

how are chain resturants going to attract people to hartford? you can go to any number of them in the burbs w/o having to pay for parking or drive 15 minnutes to get there. they would have to be truly unique to the area to draw anyone in.

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how are chain resturants going to attract people to hartford? you can go to any number of them in the burbs w/o having to pay for parking or drive 15 minnutes to get there. they would have to be truly unique to the area to draw anyone in.

I agree but the restaurants we are talking about are at a higher level then the typical TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Applebees or Chili's. Places like Mortons, Ruth Chris, Capital Grille, Legal Sea Foods, PF Changs, etc. are not in bulk in one area which is why if there is going to be one in metro Hartford why not have it in Hartford. Wouldnt people rather have Hartford's Cheescake Factory or Ruth Chris in Hartford and not West Hartford & Newington??

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Cotuit - That is absurd. I'm in LA now. I travel all over the country, I eat in great restaurants, often on expense accounts or on the businesses I work with. No one has ever mentioned Providence in any way, certainly no one has ever "recognized" Providence as a great restaurant town. C'mon, get serious. Neither Hartford nor Providence can compete (or will ever compete) with New York, LA, Chicago, DC, Miami as dining meccas.

My point is that Hartford should strive to create its own places like these cities, not that Hartford will ever have the choices and quality available in, say, San Francisco. It is realistic to aspire to have many unique restaurants, and it is shooting too low to worry that Providence has a Roy Rogers and we don't - as was the original poster in this thread

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Cotuit - That is absurd. I'm in LA now. I travel all over the country, I eat in great restaurants, often on expense accounts or on the businesses I work with. No one has ever mentioned Providence in any way, certainly no one has ever "recognized" Providence as a great restaurant town. C'mon, get serious. Neither Hartford nor Providence can compete (or will ever compete) with New York, LA, Chicago, DC, Miami as dining meccas.

My point is that Hartford should strive to create its own places like these cities, not that Hartford will ever have the choices and quality available in, say, San Francisco. It is realistic to aspire to have many unique restaurants, and it is shooting too low to worry that Providence has a Roy Rogers and we don't - as was the original poster in this thread

providence has a better selection of restaurants than boston. i think that says something right there. the cities you mentioned are the largest cities in the country. providence and hartford will never compete with those on any level.

but hartford acheiving the restaurant scene that providence has is no small feat. it's a perfectly viable comparison, and not shooting too low either. it won't be easy for hartford to gain the restaurant scene that providence has. we have many of those unique restaurants taht you mention, and a bunch of chains as well. teh chains are important for the business travelers and conventioneers, while there are people from boston who make special trips to providence just for some of the local independent establishments. read up on some of the foodie type websites. i think you'll see what i'm talking about.

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providence has a better selection of restaurants than boston. i think that says something right there. the cities you mentioned are the largest cities in the country. providence and hartford will never compete with those on any level.

but hartford acheiving the restaurant scene that providence has is no small feat. it's a perfectly viable comparison, and not shooting too low either. it won't be easy for hartford to gain the restaurant scene that providence has. we have many of those unique restaurants taht you mention, and a bunch of chains as well. teh chains are important for the business travelers and conventioneers, while there are people from boston who make special trips to providence just for some of the local independent establishments. read up on some of the foodie type websites. i think you'll see what i'm talking about.

Providence does not have a better selection of restaurants than Boston, they may have a greater percentage of higher quality restaurants, but overall Boston has better restaurants. But either way if I'm driving an hour and a half to go eat I have Boston, Providence and New York all within that range, obviously I'm going for New York. Hartford is behind Providence, although catching it is a possibility. I think you have to include West Hartford in the mix, It's a mere three miles from downtown West Hartford to downtown Hartford... If you include those then the Hartford restaurant scene has the chance of matching if not surpassing Providence. Although right now, yes Providence has a better scene...

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But either way if I'm driving an hour and a half to go eat I have Boston, Providence and New York all within that range, obviously I'm going for New York. I think you have to include West Hartford in the mix, It's a mere three miles from downtown West Hartford to downtown Hartford...

The problem with this comment is the general consensus from people in CT west of the Connecticut River. Everything from leisure to restaurants has to be held to a NYC standard . It's almost like, why bother with creating a vibrant scene in Hartford when we can just hop on the train and go to NYC? Why is it important to attract restaurants( chain or non-chain) to the city center when we can make a night out in West Hartford? After all., it's only a few miles away. The logic is counterproductive to creating a vibrant urban fabric and further perpetuates the notion that Htfd should be nothing more than a place to work and go elsewhere.

As far as chains coming to Prov., I'm never going to go to Ruth Chris or Don Shula's football house?...but maybe conventioneers and people that visit the civic center will. I can tell you it's nice to be able to walk to quite a few independent restaurants from where I live and go to the few chains that I do like( Cheesecake Factory)...It's a lot better than having to go ONLY 3 miles to Seekonk, Mass like was the case only a few years ago. With all that said, I still think that Prov. doesn't have the daytime population to support all these places anyway, but hopefully with some incentives, a few new office buildings planned, and the relo of 195, this will be a catalyst for the area.

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The problem with this comment is the general consensus from people in CT west of the Connecticut River. Everything from leisure to restaurants has to be held to a NYC standard . It's almost like, why bother with creating a vibrant scene in Hartford when we can just hop on the train and go to NYC? Why is it important to attract restaurants( chain or non-chain) to the city center when we can make a night out in West Hartford? After all., it's only a few miles away. The logic is counterproductive to creating a vibrant urban fabric and further perpetuates the notion that Htfd should be nothing more than a place to work and go elsewhere.

As far as chains coming to Prov., I'm never going to go to Ruth Chris or Don Shula's football house?...but maybe conventioneers and people that visit the civic center will. I can tell you it's nice to be able to walk to quite a few independent restaurants from where I live and go to the few chains that I do like( Cheesecake Factory)...It's a lot better than having to go ONLY 3 miles to Seekonk, Mass like was the case only a few years ago. With all that said, I still think that Prov. doesn't have the daytime population to support all these places anyway, but hopefully with some incentives, a few new office buildings planned, and the relo of 195, this will be a catalyst for the area.

I don't think it's counter productive to include West Hartford Center as part of Hartford, it would be more productive to make it an extension of downtown Hartford, by bridging the two centers. I think it would be good to connect Front Street to West Hartford Center and vice versa. How bout a trolley down Farmington?

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