NEW BRITAIN - Sunday marked history in the city - the 40th birthday of the grandson of the couple who, 20 years ago Sunday, sold the East Side Restaurant to the Augustino family.
According to Hunter Mathena, a New Britain real estate agent, he realized the coincidence when he was booking a section of the East Side to celebrate his 40th birthday.
Mathena’s grandparents, William and Ruth Bloethe, owned the restaurant for 47 years. They sold it on Feb. 11, 1999, to Nick and Barbara Augustino.
Mathena said he is grateful that the Augustino family bought the restaurant and have kept it a good destination because it helped his grandfather’s quality of life.
“Without those guys, my family dynamic would be much different and he was able to enjoy his golden years because of them.”
According to Nick Augustino, William Bloethe often reminded him that “East Side Restaurant is the oldest establishment in New Britain under the same name with three different owners and success.”
Augustino said that the restaurant was established about 90 years ago as the East Side Restaurant and the menus have never changed.
“We’ve been the same East Side Restaurant, the same German restaurant in New Britain and owned by three different people,” Augustino said. “When I came here to buy the restaurant, I saw what this man had to give me and the education of the food he prepared. No matter what, it was his operation and his food that makes the East Side. We were just lucky enough to find someone to teach us and that was him.”
Mathena said that while Augustino has kept the restaurant with a lot of the same traditions, his personal touches have kept it a destination.
“Nick found a way to reinvent it and make it more of a destination restaurant,” Mathena said. “He has a lot of people coming into New Britain that wouldn’t have been coming in otherwise. The restaurant is good for the city, it’s good for him and his business but it’s also a good feeling to my family because of the legacy, having a continuity of the business and not seeing it change.”
Mathena said his family stays in touch with the Augustinos and often visit the restaurant to celebrate family events.
“It was fitting and too ironic to not have the party here,” he said about his birthday celebration.
The East Side Restaurant will soon be opening a seafood restaurant on West Main Street.
To learn more about the East Side Restaurant, call 860-223-1188 or visit www.eastsiderestaurant.com .
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.