Francesca Nadeau thought she had successfully retired from the food business when she happened to notice a for-rent sign in downtown Collinsville.
The wheels began churning and now she, husband Don and son Jonathan are busy converting 105 Main St. (the former Husk: New American Tacos) into a wine bar and bistro with a European flair and dubbed Francesca’s.
The family plans for lunch and dinner seven days a week, offering Italian and other Mediterranean themed food, with a few Asian specials.
“I think we’re going to have a nice little niche with that,” Nadeau said.
The family’s inspiration is Sofia Wine Bar, Café in New York City, a spot with a reputation as a cozy place to relax with friends.
“It’s what we want to re-create — just a really nice spot to hang out and spend an evening,” Nadeau said.
In Collinsville, Francesca’s will offer a little more in the way of food than their friends in New York City. However, the plan is start small, with offerings such as panini, fresh salad and tapas, and gradually build with input from customers.
“Really we’re going to let our crowd dictate a lot of what they want,” Nadeau said.
Jonathan Nadeau and friend Alan Cooke will handle the kitchen duties. Both are graduates of the Advanced Italian Arts program at the Connecticut Culinary Institute and have experience working in Italy and at area restaurants.
“The level of experience for their cooking is off the charts,” Don Nadeau said.
Francesca’s will also include an eight-seat bar built by Don, a retired Bristol firefighter and builder. Now they are in the process of working on the space as well as the kitchen area located in a separate structure behind the restaurant.
The family is seeking a full liquor license and plans to offer beer and other drinks in addition to wine. They are awaiting the liquor license and have a few other details to work out, but Francesca Nadeau is hoping for a late summer opening.
The Nadeaus live in Harwinton and for 10 years were part owners of Martino’s, an Italian Market and Deli and Bistro in Bristol.
Don Nadeau said the family is really looking forward to opening, getting to know the town better, catering to the customers and developing relationships with other restaurant owners in the area.
“There’s no ceiling for our capability,” Don Nadeau said.