CHESHIRE — Two childhood friends are nearly ready to open Bone in Prime Steakhouse, with pending approvals potentially allowing them to launch as soon as this weekend.
“We get so many phone calls and emails daily,” said Fico Cecunjanin, who co-owns the venture with childhood friend Enzo Beskovic.
With extensive renovations to the site at 1410 Highland Ave. complete, Cecunjanin said they’re just waiting for a few more inspections and hope to have a soft opening as soon as Sunday if all goes well. They’ve already hired a staff of around 30 and are planning a grand opening with the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce down the road.
Aside from steaks, Beskovic specializes in preparing seafood and plans to have an extensive selection of oysters, clams, lobster tails and fish. A veteran of Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in West Hartford, he enjoys working in steakhouses for the variety of upscale plates he can serve, including salads, pastas and soups.
“I think it's one of the best concepts to have — if you have the experience for it — because you can have a great choice, with great choice dry aged steaks,” Beskovic said.
The menu and atmosphere will be familiar to patrons of Red Fox Restaurant in Middletown, a steakhouse Cecunjanin opened with his brother in 2015. Business there was so successful t they expanded seating capacity from 80 to 300 within a few years and opened two other restaurants, one in Middletown and one in Portland.
Cheshire Economic Development Coordinator Jerry Sitko said residents are eager to have a new upscale restaurant in town and some have been visiting Red Fox to get a sneak peak.
“They’re very popular in Middletown with the Red Fox and I don't expect anything less that they’ll replicate that here,” he said.
Ever since the closing of the Waverly Inn in 2011, the town has lacked a large banquet and meeting space and with Bone in Prime promising a seating capacity of around 500 complete with a banquet hall and patio, Sitko hopes it can fill that void.
The restaurant will even feature a dining area in its wine cellar, which can be reserved for private gatherings. Beskovic said they hope to be able to complete the patio, which will seat 70 people, and have it open by mid-June.
“You need a place for people to have meetings and have a good dinner and conduct business and socialize,” Sitko said.
Sitko, who toured the building, said Cecunjanin and Beskovic have “done a fantastic job on the inside renovating.”
Bone in Prime will be taking the place of Perfectly Prepared, a pre-made meal to go business, which opened in 2018 and closed at the start of the pandemic. Converting that into a restaurant required over $700,000 in renovations.
“We had to remodel everything, it was a long process...,” Beskovic said.
Though Cecunjanin is experienced in running his own restaurants, this will be Beskovic’s first time branching out on his own. The two have known each other since they were children growing up in Montenegro before immigrating to the United States as teens to work in their respective families’ restaurants in the early 2000s.
Now on the cusp of having the restaurant up and running, the two say they’re excited.
“We’re a good fit for this community and this town and we’re really known by the best and our mission is the best or nothing,” Beskovic said.