SOUTHINGTON — A long-anticipated LongHorn Steakhouse is slated to open on West Street later this month.
“LongHorn Steakhouse will soon open a new restaurant in Southington on Tuesday, Feb. 23,” Communications Manager Brittany Baron said in an announcement of the opening.
Located at 1020 West St., the newly constructed restaurant can seat up to 274 patrons, though it is currently limited to 137 under pandemic containment rules.
The steakhouse was originally set to open in the spring of 2020, but construction was delayed by the pandemic, according to property owner Joseph Moruzzi. The restaurant also needed more time to find employees and wanted to wait for better economic conditions.
“(The pandemic) put a damper on everything in terms of getting it finished, people available to do the job and finish the work,” Moruzzi said. “ … during the terrible times why would you even try to open a restaurant … they were having problems getting the help and training the help.”
As the pandemic subsides and workers return to the adjacent office buildings, Moruzzi believes the restaurant is well positioned. Nestled between Interstate 84, hotels, offices and residential neighborhoods, he said the restaurant will benefit from being in a high traffic area.
Moruzzi also owns one of the three nearby office building, 200 Executive Blvd. South, and worked with the town to carve out a portion of the property for a restaurant with frontage on West Street so that his tenants’ employees have a nearby lunch option.
Baron’s announcement said the restaurant will bring an estimated 60 jobs and will participate in the company’s Harvest program, which donates surplus food to local food banks.
“Over time, our restaurants have donated a combined total of more than 25 million pounds of food to local organizations in the communities we serve,” she said.
Southington Economic Development Director Louis Perillo feels the restaurant will benefit the office buildings and neighborhood.
“It provides opportunities for our residents for a different type of dining, and for people who are traveling it's a great opportunity for people who are traveling to stop in and see what Southington has to offer,” he said.
The transformation of the three office buildings centered around Executive Boulevard South fits right into the town’s strategy to encourage a diversified tax base of small businesses, Perillo said. The buildings were formerly owned by The Hartford insurance company, which employed as many as 1,500 employees on-site until 2012, when the complex was vacated following the 2008 recession.
A number of businesses have moved into the three buildings over the past decade, with around ten renting out portions of the building owned by Moruzzi, and the other two occupied by financial technology firm COCC and Stanley Black and Decker.