By Rob Glidden
The resurgent ShopRite plaza on Queen Street will soon welcome another new addition – Buffalo Wild Wings is preparing to move into the former Bernie’s building.
The former home of Bernie’s and Shaw’s has become the most prominent example of positive economic development in Southington. It had been desolate for a number of years, but the arrival of ShopRite and Moe’s Southwest Grill have brought an increasing number of cars into the nearby parking lots.
“It’s a known fact that once an anchor store settles into a dreary plaza, others follow,” said Chamber of Commerce President Art Secondo. “ShopRite has been the anchor of that plaza. It has been, and will be, a complete turnaround from several years ago.”
The Planning & Zoning Commission gave the restaurant its approval in late November, and the new Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to open in April.
“I’m very happy with what’s happened there,” said Chairman Michael DelSanto. “When Shaw’s left, I was afraid that plaza was dead. We’ve seen rejuvenation with Moe’s and ShopRite.”
The restaurant originated in Canton, Ohio in 1982 and has since grown into a huge national chain with over 800 branches in the United States and Canada.
With its focus on sports, drinks and fried chicken wings, Buffalo Wild Wings is somewhat similar to other restaurants in Southington, particularly TD Homer’s and Sliders. However, officials believe that a wide variety of options for sports and wings enthusiasts will be good for the town.
“I’ve heard concerns that we already have a lot of sports bars in town, but I think competition breeds good business,” DelSanto said.