Wood-n-Tap, Place 2 Be opens its first branches in Massachusetts

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As the Wood-n-Tap restaurant chain announces plans to cross the border into Massachusetts, another Hartford-based brand is preparing to open its first restaurant in Springfield next month.

Hartford Restaurant Group co-founders Phil Barnett and Mike Hamlin plan to open a Wood-n-Tap in West Springfield, Massachusetts later this year, and Gina Luari’s The Statement Group is planning a June 1 opening for its first The place 2 to be brunch restaurant outside Connecticut. Luari’s team is putting the finishing touches on the new space, in the former Samuel’s Tavern at 1000 West Columbus Avenue.

The newest Wood-n-Tap will open in the former Carrabba’s Italian Grill at 955 Riverdale Street. The renovation of the West Springfield building will eventually include a wraparound central bar, indoor seating for 300 people and a new 2,800 square foot patio with planned seating for 120 people.

“Mike and I have been building the business step by step since 2002, and we agreed it was time to think outside the box and cross the Massachusetts border,” Barnett said in a statement.


The casual dining brand offers burgers and sandwiches, pizza, pasta, salads, tacos, steaks and seafood, with seasonal menus, craft cocktails and plenty of beer, wine options and spirits.

Hartford Restaurant Group currently operates Wood-n-Taps in Enfield, Vernon, Hartford, Newington, Rocky Hill, Farmington, Southington, Hamden and Wallingford, as well as Southington’s What Whiskey Kitchen.

The new The Place 2 Be, by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famewill play sports-themed with ball-themed decor and specialty menu items, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to open the doors of The Place 2 Be Springfield and bring our bold brand and unique brunch experience to Massachusetts,” said Luari. “Guests from around the area are already traveling to our Connecticut venues, so we’re thrilled to be able to deliver our TP2B energy and bold vibe right into their own backyards.”

The 6,000 square foot space will feature four bars, including an outdoor bar on its terrace, and is the only The Place 2 Be location to offer a private event venue.

Luari owns and operates three other The Place 2 Bes in Hartford and West Hartford, with plans for a restaurant in New Haven later this year. His group also plans to continue its expansion in Hartford, including a raw bar and seafood restaurant, a Central and South American restaurant with a tequila bar, and a brick oven pizzeria with craft beer and cocktails.

The Place 2 Be will join two other restaurants with Connecticut roots in the Hall of Fame, including max tavern and Plan B Burger Bar. Max Tavern is part of Hartford Maximum hospitalitywith seven restaurants in Hartford County (and a Max Burger in Longmeadow, Mass.)

Locals 8 Restaurant Group also owns and operates Plan B Burger Bars in Glastonbury, Milford, Simsbury, Southington and West Hartford, as well as Euro-Asian coffee Herbal tea and The half door in Hartford and Farmington Butchers & Bakers.

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