Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon Bickford's vacancy to be filled

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
February 24, 2004

Bickford's restaurant
Leslloyd F. Alleyne Jr. / Journal Inquirer

VERNON — A popular seafood restaurant has plans to move out of The Plaza at Burr Corners shopping center in Manchester and into the town where it began operations in 1992.

In mid-April, the Chowdertown Market & Restaurant will relocate to the former Bickford's family restaurant building at 415 Hartford Turnpike, according to the restaurant's owners, Pat and Susan Collin of South Windsor.

The restaurant opened at 95 Hartford Turnpike in 1992 and moved to the Burr Corners shopping plaza on Tolland Turnpike in Manchester in 1995.

Pat Collin said the new restaurant would be 5,000 square-feet, which is about 2,000 square-feet larger than the current location.

The new eatery will also accommodate 150 patrons. The Burr Corners location seats about 100, Collin said.

The Bickford's building, which is located in front of the exit 65 entrance ramp on Interstate 84, has been vacant since the restaurant closed on Oct. 25, according to Neil Pade, the town's economic development coordinator.

In October, the building was sold to West Hartford businessman Leonard Udolf.

"We're very happy with how Mr. Udolf has been managing the property since he acquired it," Pade said. "We're thrilled to death to have them here in Vernon."

Collin said the last day of business at the Burr Corners location will be March 26.

About three months ago, Collin said he seriously considered closing

A seafood restaurant will relocate from Manchester to Vernon and the building on Hartford Turnpike that once housed a Bickford's family restaurant.

the restaurant, which began to get lost among the numerous national franchise eateries and shopping plaza's that dot the Buckland Hills area of Manchester.

But when the high profile location of Bickford's became available, Collin said, it was an opportunity he could not pass up.

"I felt like I was being surrounded and if you are not exposed on a busy street, you just get lost with the big guys," Collin said. "We see it as keeping our local customer clientele base, and also getting travelers" as they go by on Interstate 84.

As for possible changes to the restaurant, Collin said customers would still be able to order their favorite foods including the restaurant's specialty of fresh seafood brought in daily from Boston.

"We hope to expand our land lovers menu," Collin said, alluding to the restaurant's non-seafood menu of steak and chicken dishes, which could be expanded to include veal in the new location.

Collin said he also hopes to double the restaurant's current staff of 15 employees.

"This is probably one of the best locations in the area," Collin said. "All of our staff is really excited about this move."