HARTFORD, Conn. — Hartford is welcoming City Steam Brewery back with open arms.
"This is a Hartford institution. In different incarnations it’s been here for 42 years," said Mayor Luke Bronin.
Nearly four months ago the building looked like this. A pipe burst back in February and caused extensive damage to all three floors of the building.
"The water was just running out the front door, running out the side door, running down to the basement, seeping through the floors down to the basement," said Christopher Leonard, general manager of City Steam Brewery.
Getting back on their feet was time-consuming and costly.
"New paint on the walls, new ceiling, new lights, new sound system for the comedy club," Leonard said.
That’s where the city stepped in to help. Giving City Steam a $100,000 grant from the Small Business Investment Fund for renovations.
"We’re working hard to help activate empty spaces to bring vacant retail stores back to life but we’re not doing our job if we let a place like City Steam fail," Bronin said.
Its employees aren’t letting that happen either. 99% of those who were working when it closed returned. Including Michael Donez, who’s been at City Steam for 17 years.
"Dedicated to come back and hopefully pretty much pick up where we left off," he said.
He said in a time when so many restaurants are struggling and closing their doors getting the support from Hartford to keep theirs open means a lot.
"The fact that they were willing to invest into this place, into this building, the restaurant, it’s nice to see. It’s nice to see that they care," Donez said.
As well as the support from their customers. City Steam Mug Club members Ox Gara and Meghan McDonald of New Britain were among the first ones there for their grand re-opening.
"It’s more than brand loyalty it’s a family here. It’s my living room in town it really is," Gara said.
"Not to be around them for so long it’s like a reunion and it’s so great to be able to do that," McDonald said.
With the hope that after this bump in the road, there are many more years ahead.
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