Bobby V's Sports Bar / Restuarant Opens in Windsor Locks
Two of baseball's all time Greats came to Windsor Locks, Sunday, to celebrate with local fans the opening of the area's newest restaurant: Bobby V's, the upper scale sports-bar restaurant that Bobby Valentine is setting up at Winners, just across the gate of Bradley airport.
Valentine, one of the greatest baseball managers of all time, Hall-of-Famer, Tommy Lasorda, local political leaders, and the many baseball friends who came to Bobby V's had a lot to celebrate.
The venue is one of the most striking (pun intended) restaurants of its kind in the state. With walls covered by more than 60 TVs, floor to ceiling woodwork created by Hallmark Woodworkers, and a layout that creates private spaces for groups of all sizes, Bobby V's promises to offer a sports-bar environment like no other – and a lunch and dinning experience that will raise the bar in the area.
“That 17 foot LED screen TV we have over there – we believe that only Madison Square Garden and we have something of that caliber on the East Coast,” said beaming Assistant Manager Nick Santangelo, Tuesday. “Bobby V's is really an amazing place. All the booths have private TVs, as well as private lighting. We have a golf simulator that that can recreate every course in the United States and many across the world. You drive a ball with your actual clubs and a real ball directly to the screen, and the simulator will read the trajectory of your ball and you will see it going down the fairway at the same speed that you hit it. We have a boardroom and meeting room with a 90 inch TV that can be hooked up to a computer for a Powerpoint presentation. If someone needs to fly in from Bradley and they are in a hurry, they can set up their meeting here. We have a bar that is made out of onyx with LED sheets underneath – efficient lighting but lends a nice kind of ambiance to the bar. ”
Amenities and décors like these don't come cheap, and while General manager Mike Allegra didn't want to reveal the exact numbers, building experts calculated that partners Valentine and Sportech, the British company that owns Winners, have invested more than 3 million dollars in the construction of the facility. Part of the cost was due to the fast pace of the project. Since the partners gave the go-ahead, just 22 weeks have passed, calculated Tony Logodicio, of East Hartford's VanHorst, the company that constructed Bobby V's.
“The owner came in and asked to do the project in 15 weeks, but we told them “We'll do the best that can be done,” Logodicio related. “We worked 7 days a week, two shifts, 14 hours, a day, and basically 160 days straight. With subcontractors and all, more 100 people worked on the project.”
VanHorst has long-standing contracts with major organizations like Burlington Coat Factory, 7-11, gas stations chains, and even the Post office, for whom they do construction and maintenance. Despite that, Logodicio said, Bobby V's was a challenge, and the project would never have been completed in so short time without proper planning, team work effort, and coordination.
And one more thing, he noted: a lot of support from the town.
“They did what they had to do,” he said.
With construction completed, what is left for Bobby V's to open to the public, we asked Santangelo?
“We have to make sure that the experience is the one we want it to be, so we are training our staff to be ready for the opening,” he responded.
Allegra said that the facility will employ more than 100 people from the area, and turning them to the kind of fine-tuned team the company wants takes time.
“Everyone that was hired has a lot of experience,” he said, “so very soon we will be ready.”
A nice facility with good décor is fine, of course, but restaurants stand or fall according to the food they serve. For that, Bobby V's has hit a home run. The kitchen is headed by Chef Jordan Stein, who came to Bobby V's from Pondhouse group, of West Hartford and Glastonbury, and promises that he will bring sports-bar food to the next level.
“We will cook great food,” he stated, Tuesday. “We will have our own twist on a great burger, good steaks and fish, and all of it fresh. And we will be sourcing some local ingredients – that's a big thing for me.”
“I’ve been talking to Sportech for a while and I like what they have done since buying the Connecticut operation. They’ve invested huge sums of money to raise standards and create new concepts, and I’ve enjoyed working with them to design something we are all proud of. There’s nothing like it up here in Southern New England,” said recently the restaurant's founder and namesake Bobby Valentine.
Everyone who has seen how Bobby V's is shaping up agrees.