There have been signs of change and renewed economy in my little corner of (West) Hartford, all along New Britain Avenue; I've been meaning to grab some photos, and I took advantage of today's sunshine and a few hours respite from yoga teacher training to document these.
The old IHOP, near the corner of New Britain and South Main, is quickly becoming an Indian-American restaurant called Bombay Olive. Looking forward to some new cuisine - reminds me a little bit of Great Taste in New Britain (also a converted IHOP, although it's been renovated several times and its heritage is less obvious these days).
Also new is a small place called "The Coolest Cow" (across from Pep Boys) - I stopped in once for a very affordable and yummy cup of tamarind ice cream, although they also advertise cubanos and sandwiches. My only complaint - they seem to close at 6 pm - far too early for warm summer nights when an after-dinner bike ride might take us there for a little dessert.
The entrance is on the side, not obvious from the road. And they have limited seating (a few tables inside, a few outside).
Down closer to our end of New Britain Avenue, the long vacant Caldor / Ames has fnally found new life as a Price Rite. Notice in this picture something missing - the Piper Brook restaurant (which I have long considered a good candidate for a queerish night spot a la Tisane; I could practically see the rainbow flags flying) has been bulldozed. The Dreams / Price Rite lot has been completely regraded and repaved, and nice plantings and curbs installed. It looks quite nice; another grocery store is welcome in this part of town.
Finally, the southern side of New Britain Ave, between the Price Rite and the Hartford line, has been improved - new curbs and curb cuts, brick inlays, small trees, and retro lamp posts in process. It all looks quite nice, and makes that stretch of walk between Hollywood (also being completely redone) and Shield Street much more pedestrian friendly and livable.