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March 20, 2020

Wood-n-Tap restaurants temporarily close; delivery/pick-up service ‘not worth the risk’

HBJ Photo | Joe Cooper Hartford Restaurant Group spent millions of dollars to renovate the former Apricots Restaurant in Farmington. The 3.3-acre property, sitting across the street from Farmington High School, is located along the Farmington River.

Hartford Restaurant Group (HRG), operators of nine Wood-n-Tap restaurants and Que Whiskey Kitchen in Southington, has suspended its operations until the state says it’s safe for eateries to accommodate dine-in service amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

HRG is just one of many Connecticut-based companies HBJ has profiled this week to offer a glimpse of how business owners are coping with the global coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont this week has urged residents to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, an illness caused by a novel coronavirus. As a result, he has ordered the closure of movie theaters, gyms, commercial casinos, nail/hair salons, barber shops and banned dine-in service at restaurants/bars across the state.

HRG, employing about 700 people across its 10 locations, could continue selling food via delivery and carryout, but co-owner Phil Barnett in a statement said the group has become “increasingly worried about the safety of our staff and guests…”

“We think it’s best to follow the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] quarantine directives, completely shut down and not reopen until the state gives our industry the ‘all clear,’” Barnett said.

Barnett, who also serves as secretary of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, said his restaurants had been having some success with delivery/pick-up service and gift cards sales, but his team decided the “gain was not worth the risk.” 

Wood-n-Tap restaurants are located in Hartford, Farmington, Newington, Rocky Hill, Southington, Vernon, Wallingford, Hamden and Orange. HSG is also still planning to open an Enfield location in the coming months.

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