Barb’s Pizza closes West Hartford location, new owner plans to reopen space soon – We-Ha
Barb’s Pizza at 968R Farmington Ave. at West Hartford Center closed on Saturday.
By Ronni Newton
A sign on the door of Barb’s Pizza shared news that was greeted with sadness by those who arrived looking for a share on Sunday: The West Hartford Center restaurant closed for good as of Saturday.
But as the saying goes, when one door closes another opens, Barb’s Pizza will be opening another door very soon, and the door to the West Hartford Center restaurant won’t be closed for very long either.
Barry Arpaia and his partner, David Tremblay, are primarily restaurant promoters, and when they left a space in Cromwell to open the West Hartford space, it was because they really wanted to be at the Center.
“I am not an owner / operator,” Arpaia said Tuesday. He said he always planned to have someone else operate the West Hartford location.
Barb’s opened in January 2019 and, after starting the business, Arpaia planned to transfer it to a new owner / operator and return to Cromwell to open the Barb store there, which he and Tremblay developed at 51 , Shunpike Road.
Then the pandemic hit, and they stayed the course and kept Barb open.
Not only was he unable to find someone to run the restaurant, he also had great difficulty finding staff. “I couldn’t find help,” he said.
As restaurant business grows with outdoor spaces as well as restrictions being lifted on May 19, other restaurateurs in the area have also expressed the same problem finding employees, many offering signing bonuses and other advantages.
“I work 75 to 80 hours a week, I do everything,” Arpaia said. He made pizzas, washed the dishes, and ran the business, while a practically full Cromwell space, for which he was spending thousands in rent a month, couldn’t open.
“I am very upset that I have to leave,” Arpaia said. “We made a lot of friends here.”
Fortunately, just before Arpaia closed, he found an ideal buyer very excited to open the West Hartford space as a family business. He is not yet free to provide the buyer’s name, but says he comes with experience. “He is very competent. He will do a very good job.
According to Arpaia, the restaurant will be renamed in honor of the new owner’s firstborn, but that’s the only change planned.
“Everything will remain the same. There will still be slices. Beer on tap, wine, ”said Arpaia. The bicycle rack, which he had installed for the children of the city, will remain.
The pizzeria at 968R Farmington Ave. is expected to reopen under new owner and with a new name on June 1, Arpaia said. It’s the same day that Barb’s Pizza is due to open in Cromwell.
Cromwell’s location is magnificent, he said. “This is the restaurant that everyone wants to have.”
Hiring staff at Cromwell hasn’t been that difficult, he said, perhaps because there’s less competition from other restaurants and free parking.
The city of West Hartford has been great working with her, he said. He praised the help of Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Gorski, who helped install lights in the Farmington Avenue lane at the Brace Road parking lot to make access to Barb’s safer and more accessible.
“I’m so sad. I loved everything about West Hartford except we didn’t have any help,” Arpaia said.
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