CT bride explains how Hot Tomato's closure impacted her rehearsa - WFSB 3 Connecticut


CT bride explains how Hot Tomato's closure impacted her rehearsal dinner

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The doors were locked at Hot Tomato's in Hartford on Friday. (WFSB) The doors were locked at Hot Tomato's in Hartford on Friday. (WFSB)

The doors were locked at Hot Tomato's in Hartford, which jilted a Connecticut bride.

Beyond the initial headlines, Eyewitness News examined the bitter battle between the downtown Hartford staple and its landlord that lead to this abrupt closure.  

Eyewitness News learned this was more like an eviction than a sudden departure. Eyewitness News went to housing court and documents show this incident has been brewing for months.

In the end, the restaurant’s closure left one local bride wondering why the staff at Hot Tomato's still booked her rehearsal dinner just a few weeks ago. 

Camille Velez is going to get married in April. Her rehearsal dinner was supposed to be at the fixture at Union Station, Hot Tomato's. About 80 people were expected to attend the rehearsal dinner.

Velez said she was stunned to see the doors locked with this sign greeting her.

“A little angry, I’m upset about it,” Velez said.

The Italian staple in Hartford’s food scene suddenly closed Thursday. Eyewitness News learned, it's the result of a bitter dispute between the restaurant and its landlord, the Greater Hartford Transit District.

They said Hot Tomato's hasn't paid rent and owes upwards of $11,000. Housing court documents show the restaurant is defiant. They said a contractor hired by the transit district created massive problems to their ventilation systems and water pipes. Court documents show they're refusing to pay until repairs were done and lead to this abrupt departure.

“Just a little information, an email would have been nice to know,” Velez said.

But, court records show this dispute traces back to September, so Velez doesn't understand why the restaurant still took her $200 deposit late last year.

“They were very attentive initially,” Velez said.

But that healthy communication soon became a one-way conversation.

“In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sending emails and haven't heard anything back,” Velez said.

While she's scrambling for a new venue, she's also looking for answers, but they're not easy to come by.

“If they had known about shutting down, I would have been appreciative of knowing about it as well,” Velez said. “I just feel like I was lucky to have read it somewhere else.”

Eyewitness News tried to reach out to the restaurant and its attorney. They were not available. The next hearing in this eviction battle comes early next month.

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