Valentine All Smiles At New Bobby V's Near Bradley

WINDSOR LOCKS — Bobby Valentine ate a late lunch at his new, 300-seat restaurant at the Bradley Teletheater on Friday after greeting customers, a day after the place first opened to the public and two days before one of the biggest events of the sports bar calendar.

Bobby V's Restaurant & Sports Bar, on Schoephoester Road near the airport, is now open for lunch and dinner as the latest venture for the former baseball player and manager, who's now athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. That's just in time for Sunday's Super Bowl, where the restaurant's 17-foot LED screen and 70 other TVs should be a draw.

Valentine, who has a restaurant under a separate name in his hometown of Stamford, teamed up in the Windsor Locks business with Sportech Venues Inc., owner and operator of the teletheater, which goes under the name Winners.

Sportech, part of a British gaming technology firm with its U.S. headquarters in New Haven, owns all 15 of the off-track betting locations in Connecticut and just put $4 million into this one. The restaurant has a separate entrance and it's 18-and-older only. Winners is also open to people 18 and over.

As for Bobby V himself, he was all smiles Friday in the large space that features "recovered" wood from the recent storms. The builder was Van Horst General Contractors of East Hartford.

In recent weeks Valentine was spotted with old pal Tommy Lasorda, the former Dodgers manager, among the invited guests sampling the fare before the public opening. No word on whether Valentine will be on hand during the Super Bowl.

Star power in North Central Connecticut? "Hopefully we'll get to see many more celebrities come through," Sportech spokesman Paul Dionne said.

Restaurant manager Michael Allegra has worked with Valentine before. And the affable executive chef, Jordan Stein, is well known in the Hartford area for the Pond House and Husk — New American Tacos in Canton.