New Restaurant Porrón & Piña Opening in Hartford’s Goodwin Hotel
Along with the Spring trees and flowers that have (finally!) started blooming comes a new and exciting restaurant opening in downtown Hartford. Recently, it has been announced that the historic Goodwin Hotel is welcoming new restaurant, Porrón & Piña this April. Porrón will be taking over where Harlan Brasserie once occupied, while Piña will be entering the Sidebar area, both serving cuisine inspired by Spanish roots.
Chef Tyler Anderson, his partner A.J. Aurrichio and their culinary dream team, will not only be revamping the two spaces but the entire food and beverage program for The Goodwin Hotel.
Not even a full year after Anderson opened his second restaurant, The Cook and The Bear in West Hartford’s Blue Back with partners Jamie “The Bear” Mcdonald and A.J. Aurrichio, he couldn’t seem to pass up the opportunity to open Porrón & Piña. Although Andersen never thought he would be opening another restaurant so shortly, “Hartford has always been on my radar” he tells us.
“When I first moved to CT 9 years ago, I was living by the shore and came up to the ‘big city.’ I was so excited to see what Hartford had to offer. I saw The Goodwin building, and I said ‘someday I want to have a restaurant in there… and here we are.’”
“We are seeing the city of Hartford in an upswing (culinary wise), and the timing is right to get into Hartford and to be one of the people who help it get there” Anderson claims.
“Having a restaurant in a hotel is huge, we are now able to bring exciting things to Hartford that you would only be able to find in big cities like New York or Boston before. There are some great restaurants that have been here a long time like Max Downtown, and then you have new blood like Little River Restoratives (*one of our favorite bars in Hartford), so there is so much potential for this city.”
When we got the opportunity to sit down with Anderson and chat about his exciting new venture, we wanted to know what it takes to make a truly great restaurant. “Rounded restaurants make restaurants great,” Anderson explained. “Some of the things we look at are the smell, sound, light, and temperature of the restaurant; I want my restaurants to feel embryonic in the way that you’re so comfortable that you never want to leave.”
We were lucky enough to take a peek into the space that will be the future home of Porrón and things are getting quite the facelift to create a ‘never want to leave’ feeling. “We’re going to deliver a fine dining experience, it’s not a casual restaurant, but we want it to be very approachable from price point to service to everything.”
Though this restaurant will be fine dining, it will be far from stuffy. It is intended to be the kind of place you can have a business dinner or dinner with friends (sharing wine from a porrón of course).
“We will still have fun and be pouring wine from porrons into peoples mouths but you can also come and have a business dinner.”
The furthest dining area will also double as a private room. This section of the restaurant houses a beautiful wine room and tasting table, perfect for an intimate dinner.
What’s on the menu
Executive Chef Chris Bateman will be overseeing Porrón’s menu of tapas style dishes, as well as grilled vegetables, meats and paellas. The Spanish are great at preserving foods Anderson told us, so everything like olive, oils, vinegar, hams will all be imported from Spain. And then almost all of the fresh produce and proteins will be local. “It’s about finding the best and freshest ingredients you can, and treating them simply,” Anderson tells us.
Besides traditional Spanish tapas, the menu will include their unique twist on the classics like hamburgers, kale caesar salads, and chicken noodle soup. Oh, and did we mention there’s going to be a ham bar? Yes, please.
Piña will be in the space previously occupied by The Side Bar. By day, Bar Piña will be a haven for commuters, hotel guests and breakfast lovers alike. Kristin Eddy, the pastry chef for The Cook and The Bear, and Millwrights will be making delicious scones, doughnuts, and biscuits. If that’s not enough to get your day started right, there will breakfast sandwiches and a full coffee bar. (Lucky for us we have to pass by Piña every morning on the way to the office, so I guess so much for that summer bod we’ve been working on….) By night, this space will be a full bar with tapas offerings, cutting-edge craft cocktails, and the full Porrón menu will also be available.
A revamped catering menu
Looking to plan an event or a meeting? They have that covered too. Anderson and his team will be overseeing the entire food and beverage program for the hotel so whether you are looking to plan a wedding, a corporate event, or a meeting, there is a space for you. Don’t worry if Spanish tapas are not for you; they have extensive event offerings and menus that you can customize to suit your needs. Heading up this portion of the team is Heather Schold, she is the catering and sales director for the hotel, and handles event planning.
A niche opportunity for student chefs
If there weren’t enough exciting changes happening at The Goodwin, Anderson and Aurrichio are also planning to launch a hospitality and culinary management school within the hotel. “The school will be an exciting opportunity to craft some amazing talent for hotels and restaurants in the area. “Because there are so many new restaurants opening around the area, it is difficult to find good and experienced help, so if we can’t find them, let’s make them,” Anderson told us. The program will last about a year and a half and students will get experience in all aspects of the hotel and restaurant including banquettes, bakery, cocktails, restaurant, room service and more. Ten students will be accepted at a time; they are hoping to get the program up and running within the next year.
Safe to say, we are counting down the days until the opening of Porrón & Piña. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Special thanks to Winter Caplanson from Connecticut Food and Farm for the incredible pictures taken at the Porrón & Piña Pop Up at Grano Arso!