HARTFORD, Conn. — The popular Hartford restaurant The Place 2 Be is planning an expansion to the Lone Star State.
The all-day brunch restaurant with both lunch and drinks on the menu announced plans Wednesday to expand to a new location in Dallas, Texas. It will be their seventh in the country and first outside New England.
"I can’t believe we went from the south end of Hartford to now Victory Park in Dallas. It’s just surreal," owner Gina Luari said. "We want to gain a really strong foothold on that side of the country so we think Texas is the perfect one."
The new location will offer guests a rooftop patio complete with a bar and a view of American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Stars and Mavericks. The site was previously occupied by Dibs on Victory. The opening is planned for next year.
Luari said this wasn't something they had their eyes on. Instead, the eyes were on them.
"They sent people to us actually to dine at our locations and see what we do and they were impressed," she said.
The Place 2 Be has two sites in Hartford, one in West Hartford, and another at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. A location will open in New Haven next month and another is still in the works in Connecticut. Luari, an immigrant from Albania, opened the first restaurant on Franklin Avenue in 2016.
"We have a huge following here in Connecticut," she said. "There’s not a day that goes by where people are like, "Please open here" or "please open here" and they’re sending us locations every day on where they would like to see us."
She said the growth they've seen couldn't have been done without their supporters like Navy Durham of Meriden; a lover of the environment and menu.
"It’s a good thing for us too because not a lot of things come out of Connecticut," Durham said. "That’s great growth. It’s big. It’s big for us in our little small state to be expanding that big."
Luari said her vision of the nearly 6,900-square-foot site is a combination of brunch and sports. Each location has a different feel to suit the area's taste.
"Everything's bigger in Texas," she said. "Sunday Funday is a huge thing in Texas."
Luari said there's much more growth to come across Texas and Connecticut. She said they want to showcase what Connecticut can offer.
Two Food Network Chopped champions, Chef Xavier Santiago, Culinary Director, and Chef Maurice “Mo” Major, Assistant Culinary Director, take the culinary lead for the restaurant group.
Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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