BERLIN — The Berlin Turnpike is now home to a new family-owned restaurant.
The Boss Grill held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to celebrate its debut in the community. The local eatery at 224 Berlin Turnpike serves customers from morning till night and has a sizable menu of burgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, milkshakes, and more.
The restaurant's history goes back to 2008 when owners Ken and Roberta Robitaille began serving 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. Despite its successful five-year operation 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 lot.
For the new location, Ken Robitaille personally assembled most decor pieces as well as several furniture items, including tables and a bar. The restaurant’s concept was inspired by his wife’s Sicilian heritage. The dining room has a vintage mobster-themed design, speakeasy entrance, and upbeat music, that dates from the 1980s to present.
“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,” said Roberta Robitaille .
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 hefty meals, high-quality products, and fair prices. Most dishes range between $10 and $12 ($14 with added extras).
“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, The Boss Grill customers can also expect spotless tables, silverware, and plates. “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” — another motto that all staff workers stand by. They implement rigorous cleaning and hygiene practices, making sure the kitchen, dining area, toilets, and high contact touch points stay free from dangerous bacteria.
“People eat with their eyes,” said Roberta’s son Chris Robitaille. “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 workers and customers feel like a part of the family too. To the Robitailles, everyone who comes to the restaurant is not just a stranger, but 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 from 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 on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., after which customers can reserve the dining room to conduct a banquet.
By phone 860-969-2677. On the web http://burgerbosses.com/. On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BURGERBOSSCT/.