NEW BRITAIN - Comedy and Latin nights in downtown New Britain are on hold due to what the owner hopes will be a temporary closing of The Kitchen Eatery & Lounge.
Vincent Placeres closed his 136 Main St. restaurant, which opened in May, on Tuesday, saying he needs to find an investor to co-own and manage it.
“The Kitchen is a very big restaurant and there are a lot of operations that are involved, and so we are looking for another investor or a partnership to come on board to help us make The Kitchen bigger and better for New Britain,” Placeres said.
“There’s so many different things. There is a full bar, there’s a basement for entertainment, there’s the bakery, the normal operations, there’s the kitchen side. Any partner that comes on board would need to be hands- on, somebody who can really help with the daily operation.”
Placeres also owns Mofongo, a restaurant at 260 Main St. The city native said he considers Mofongo to be his “bread and butter,” which is why he wants to focus on that restaurant and let somebody else manage The Kitchen.
“This is bigger than we thought. We really need to bring another partner on board,” Placeres said. “I know we can do a better job, so I might as well just temporarily close the doors now to find that person and then reopen.”
Placeres said eight of the 11 people who worked at The Kitchen will be offered employment at Mofongo. He will help the others connect with other restaurants, he added.
Another city business owner, Steve Amato, said he enjoyed visiting The Kitchen. He ate there and took in in the entertainment offered.
“I hope he made the right decision for what he had to do,” Amato said. “Obviously, I would’ve preferred he didn’t close, as a fellow business person downtown. I hope he finds somebody because it’s a great spot and the location is nice.”
Gerry Amodio, the Downtown District’s executive director, said it is unfortunate that a downtown business has closed. However, he praised Placeres for his hard work, and said hopes The Kitchen can reopen soon.
“We are sad that this venture has shut down for now,” Amodio said. “Vincent has proved himself widely successful in his first restaurant.”
Placeres said closing The Kitchen was not an easy decision, but it was the best one for him and the two restaurants.
“I want to thank the city and the people that believed in me and the support the community gave me,” Placeres said. “We did have a lot of great nights where we had comedy and jazz and we had started Latin nights. I want to let everyone know that we are not trying to let them down, but we are trying to make smart business decisions.”
Placeres said anyone interested in a partnership should call 860-5058-7908.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.