An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Oct 15, 2013
12:17 PM
The Connecticut Table

Potbelly Sandwich Shop Arrives, Tastes & Toasts Promo, Vinted Fall Pairings: Buzz on Blue Back Square Dining

Potbelly Sandwich Shop Arrives, Tastes & Toasts Promo, Vinted Fall Pairings: Buzz on Blue Back Square Dining

Also see our story about the opening of a Gift-ology shop at Blue Back Square.

Their stars may not be aligned as they once were in terms of ownership, but two powerful global entities with Starwood in their titles were creating buzz in parallel universes Tuesday.

At midday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal was thanking the staff of Stamford, Conn.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in a Tweet for its “compelling call to end shutdown," and effort to "highlight damage to economy, industry & jobs.”

At almost exactly the same time, word arrived via email of another new dining option at a property of the Starwood Capital Group, Blue Back Square in West Hartford.

This one is called Potbelly Sandwich Shop, (shown here) and the arrival of this Midwest favorite is just one of a few high-energy dining initiatives happening right now at Blue Back Square.

The other buzz-worthy notes include a particularly autumnal focus on wine and food pairings at Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen, and a weekly initiative that has a philanthropic aspect but mostly offers satisfaction in the form of discounted drinks, appetizers and/or meal specials.

That latter effort is called Tastes and Toasts, and the series, hosted by a different dining venue each Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m., wraps up this Wednesday (Oct. 16), when the host is Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

“Tastes and Toasts offers a great opportunity to tour Blue Back restaurants and sample some of their featured offerings,” Barbara Lerner, the marketing director for Blue Back Square, said in a release.

Those who want to take advantage of the Tastes and Toasts can pick up an admission button at the host restaurant, Flemings, by making a $10 charitable donation there. Then, that button unlocks the following, according to a release:

·         Preferred seating with no wait at Cheesecake Factory

·         Free 50/50 appetizer with purchase of two burgers at Counter-       …..–Custom Built Burgers

·         Half off bar a la carte menu at Flemings

·         Buy one get one half off at Moe’s Southwest Grill

·         At Rizzuto’s $5 calamari and $5 bruschetta

·         10% off all conveyor belt sushi & Tapas and $2 Sapporo and domestic beer

·         10% off all menu items at Vinted

At Vinted, named Best Wine Bar in our own Best of Connecticut 2013 and reviewed in our October issue, owners Ralph Santaniello and Michael Presnal know the importance of matching the right wine or beer with the heartier fare of autumn—which typically means moving to heartier wines.

“The right wine selection can make all the difference in bringing out the tastes in an excellent dish,” Santaniello said in a release. “Knowing which wine to pair with which type of meal can be a little intimidating for the non-connoisseur, however, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.”  

“A lot of dishes this time of year will feature ingredients such as pumpkin. A pumpkin risotto would go great with a bright, spicy Pinot Gris,” added Presnal in the release. “The tartness of the wine will cut through the richness of the risotto.”

Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen is located at 63 Memorial Road in Blue Back Square.  It offers more than 60 wines by the glass, accompanied by a Modern American Tapas menu specifically created by Presnal, The Federal executive chef, to complement the wine list.

The entire wine list, including exclusive “reserve” selections, is available by the 1-ounce taste, 3-ounce half glass, and 6-ounce full glass. Vinted features a full bar, featuring craft beers, house-made spirit infusions, and a signature “spin” on classic cocktails. 

The third hot dining topic at Blue Back Square is the arrival of the Potbelly Sandwich Shop, which offers only the freshest ingredients, custom-prepared, on the go.

“Potbelly is becoming a fast favorite for its high quality meats, cheeses and veggies,” the release said. “Potbelly sandwich makers build amazing toasty sandwiches to order and get you through the line quickly. But before a single sandwich is toasted or a salad crafted, the fresh veggies are washed, whole meats and cheeses sliced and the cookies are freshly baked. Beyond good food though, the goal is to offer a friendly ‘at-home’ environment.

“If you haven’t given Potbelly a taste yet, you’re missing out,” Lerner, Blue Back’s marketing manager, said in a release. “In addition to exceptional sandwiches, the vibe is very welcoming and we’re thrilled to have such a high caliber newcomer.”

“I was looking forward to bringing a taste of the Midwest to the New England community and based on the crowds coming through our restaurant during our first weekend open, Connecticut residents are ecstatic about and enjoying the Potbelly experience,” said general manager Mark Buczkiewicz. 

Potbelly Sandwich Shop began in Chicago with a young couple that bought an antique shop and began serving lunch in an effort to expand, the release explained. Eventually, with lines out the door and around the corner, the original Potbelly grew, and grew, now including 270 Potbelly Sandwich Shops in neighborhoods around the country.

Blue Back Square is a shopping, entertainment and living destination located in the heart of West Hartford. It is a 600,000-square-foot, mixed-use development that serves as an extension of West Hartford Center, a popular pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining district that presently consists of nearly 200 upscale national, regional and local boutiques, restaurants, theater and a food market.  Visit for more information.


Potbelly Sandwich Shop Arrives, Tastes & Toasts Promo, Vinted Fall Pairings: Buzz on Blue Back Square Dining

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