The Berlin Turnpike is home to a new family-owned restaurant.
The Boss Grill held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6 to celebrate its debut in the community. The eatery, located at 224 Berlin Turnpike, serves customers morning to night, and its sizable menu includes burgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, milkshakes, and more.
The restaurant's history goes back to 2008 when owners Ken and Roberta Robitaille began dishing out food from their Blanche’s Roadside Grill lunch truck in Newington. In just a year and half they grew a large customer base that motivated them to expand and open The Boss Grill in Hartford.
After a successful five-year run in the Statehouse Square food court, the restaurant shut down during the pandemic and the Robitailles decided to reopen in a more convenient spot, with outdoor seating and accessible parking.
For the new location, Ken Robitaille personally assembled most decor and furniture pieces. The restaurant’s concept was inspired by his wife’s Sicilian heritage. The dining room has a vintage mobster-themed design and a speakeasy entrance.
“My family has no association with any mob, but because the word ‘boss’ refers to mobsters and mobsters evolved over centuries in Sicily, that’s why I named it the Boss Grill,” Roberta Robitaille said.
The restaurant embodies its motto: “If we have the ingredients to make the food the way you want, we will do it,” and is known for its hearty meals, high-quality products and fair prices.
“We offer brand-name everything,” said Roberta Robitaille. “If it's ketchup, it’s Heinz; if it’s barbeque sauce, it’s Sweet Baby Ray's. We don’t do generic anything, and we don't mark up our food. We are not here to make a million dollars, we are here to provide people with quality and value.”
Aside from big portions, Boss Grill customers can expect spotless tables, silverware and plates.
“If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” is a motto that staff members stand by.
“People eat with their eyes,” said Chris Robitaille, son of Ken and Roberta. “When you have everything clean, the food tastes better, people are happiest, they feel safer.”
The whole Robitaille family — husband, wife, son and daughter — works at The Boss Grill full-time and they go out of their way to make sure staff and customers feel like part of the family.
To the Robitailles, everyone who comes to the restaurant is a welcomed friend.
“We want to learn everybody’s name,” said Ken Robitaille. “We love people, we treat everyone like family and we make our food with love.”
The Boss Grill is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday. The restaurant is open Sundays 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., after which time the dining room can be reserved for events.