PLAINVILLE — The new year will bring changes for Rebel Dog Coffee Co., which is renovating its original Farmington Avenue location and planning to expand to a third location in East Hartford in the fall.
The upgrades to the coffee shop, which opened in February 2016, will combine it with the restaurant space used by JV’S Taproom, which is also in the building at 393 Farmington Ave. Two large windows are being carved out of the wall that separated the coffee shop and taproom and the cafe’s customers will be able to use the restaurant seating. The taproom will be renamed to Rebel Dog Tavern.
The restaurant will also be playing a more prominent role in the shared space by extending its hours to 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Previously, they were open Tuesday through Saturday evenings.
They’ll also be bringing on Tommy Gale, past owner of the Present Company restaurant in Tariffville, to serve as the restaurant’s general manager. Gale will help expand the restaurant’s offerings by adding dishes like shortribbed tacos and butter fried chicken to the menu, which is already known for its pizza and steak, and widen the selection of whiskey, wine and craft cocktails at the bar.
“He's got some of the best restaurant experience somebody could have,” said Harrison Poltorak, one of the two co-owners of the taproom and coffee shop.
They’ll also be bringing back some of the classic’s from the restaurant’s roots in its original iteration such as Confetti, a Mediterranean and Italian-themed eatery opened by Peter and Jan Lemnotis in 1998. They’ve continued to run the taproom while Poltorak has focused on growing the coffee side of the business.
“I'm excited for the expansion and putting everything into one package,” co-owner Peter Lemnotis said.
Rebel Dog opened a second coffee shop in Farmington last March. The partners plan to open the third Rebel Dog cafe next fall in East Hartford near Pratt and Whitney’s headquarters.
“I think coffee shops are like the modern day diner. Diners were always a place where people would go in the morning and see neighbors and teachers and politicians,” Poltorak said. “ … I think coffee shops offer that same vibe and hospitality.”