Hot Tomato's Restaurant At Union Station Closes

Hot Tomato's at Union Station, an Italian restaurant brand that has been a Hartford mainstay for more than three decades, closed this week amid reported clashes with its landlord, the Greater Hartford Transit District.

"It is the end of an era. We are saddened by the circumstances which have brought us to this point," said co-owner David DiNeno in an email. "We greatly appreciate all of the Hartford citizens and others who have supported our brand."

DiNeno wrote that the owners "hope to find another community which will embrace our fresh and delicious offering."

Michael D. O'Connell, attorney for New Tomato LLC, the entity that operated the restaurant, said there had been ongoing disputes between the restaurant owners and the Greater Hartford Transit District, including disagreements over the responsibility for repairs and upkeep to the property.

The Greater Hartford Transit District served an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent, but the restaurant owners claimed that they were owed more money for damage to their restaurant area and for non-fulfillment of the landlord's responsibilities under the lease, than what the restaurant owed as a tenant, O'Connell said.

The dispute was resolved with an agreed stipulation that the restaurant would close and move out of the premises by the end of January.

Erick Sandler, an attorney representing the Greater Hartford Transit District, declined immediate comment Thursday evening.

The restaurant opened in 1981 on Asylum Street and moved to Union Place in 1988. It has operated under various ownership during its tenure; the restaurant closed in 2010 and reopened several months later with a new look and menu.

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