NEW BRITAIN -Vincent Placeres opened Mofongo on West Main Street in March. Less than a year later he’s getting ready to open another restaurant with new flavors downtown.
The Kitchen will be a sit-down restaurant, bar and lounge located just a two-minute walk from Mofongo at 136 Main St.
Placeres purchased the site in the Andrews Building, owned by Jasko Development, from Grand Pizza owner Resmi “Tommy” Qoku and closed the deal this month.
While a menu isn’t finalized, Placeres said the new restaurant will feature dishes like gourmet pizza and pastas, appetizers and desserts.
Although Italian food will be served, he isn’t calling it an Italian restaurant. Placeres, whose father is from Puerto Rico and mother from Vermont, said The Kitchen will focus on the American side of the food spectrum.
“It’s just an idea that I had to not really distinguish myself as Italian food or American food, it’s kind of just an open plate so we can create whatever we want to create,” he said.
He added, “If I call it an Italian restaurant, you’re going to have somebody walk into the restaurant and they’re going to try my meatballs and say, ‘You know what? This is not as good as my mom’s meatballs,’ but if I just call it The Kitchen it’s an open pallette. I can create whatever dish I want to create.”
The Kitchen will open in three phases with expectations of opening as early as a couple of weeks from now.
The first phase will just consist of the bar and lounge area. The design will be modern upscale and offer specialty cocktails and a bar menu featuring items like bruschetta, double fried sticky wings and calamari.
The second phase will be the actual restaurant, which involves getting the entire kitchen menu done as well as the dining room. Placeres hopes to have that complete by sometime in January.
The final phase, Placeres refers to as the “fun part,” and will offer new entertainment for downtown. Downstairs Placeres said he wants to have comedy shows and live music featuring jazz and Latin nights as well as modern bands and artists. He’s hoping to have that portion of the business open by February.
Placeres hopes The Kitchen, like Mofongo, will bring in people of all walks of life no matter their background.
“I want it to be a community restaurant especially for the downtown New Britain people. (I want them) to feel comfortable, get some really good food. They can share some drinks and laughter over cocktail hour,” he said.
Placeres spent much of his youth in New Britain before a family move to Florida. He later relocated to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and back to Connecticut for culinary work, including a stint at David Burke Prime at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
When The Herald asked him why he wanted to open a second business in New Britain, he said he has always had a heart for the city and didn’t envision being anywhere else.
Citing Mayor Erin Stewart’s work to bring in more businesses into New Britain as well as giving it a “face lift,” Placeres said he loves it here and how much the community has improved.
“I think that I made the right decision less than a year ago to open Mofongo here and I know that I’m going to make the right decision opening The Kitchen here.”
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ADeRosaNBH