NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- This week, the Every Town Has A Story series heads to New Britain.
Besides being home to Central Connecticut State University, New Britain is also known for some very treasured art.
The sleek and modern home of the New Britain Museum of American Art, along Lexington Street, stands in stark contrast to some of the old, priceless works of art inside.
"It's a little gem, 45 minutes from my home and I’ve been there for 40 years and I’ve never visited,” said Louise Reilly, of West Simsbury, who was visiting with her friend Ellie when Channel 3 visited.
"Every room is a nice size, they change exhibits every year and the old favorites, you don't tire of them. It's a beautiful place. You feel welcome here,” said Ellie Scadden, of Southington.
"It's just the right size, you can come and spend a couple hours and see amazing works that really document American history,” said Cindy Cormier, director of Education at the New Britain Museum of American Art.
The museum is also marking a special date for the 110th anniversary of the First Acquisition, the first painting the museum bought.
In fact, the earliest painting is a portrait from the 1740's that hangs right inside the entrance.
Guests see it once they get past the security guard who also happens to be an amazing piece of art.
"You can't come and expect to look at every picture and read every label. Come into the gallery, find a piece that draws you in and spend some time looking at it - you're transported,” Cormier said.
They collect and showcase all kinds of pieces, right up to works of art made this year.
In fact, they just opened a show of Dennis Hopper's photography, called "The Lost Album."
"This town really has a lot going on so you can make New Britain a destination,” Cormier said.
Parking is free, and it's easy to get to right of the highway.
For more information, click here.
The next stop was at the East Side Restaurant in New Britain.
Nick Augustino is the familiar face at the East Side Restaurant, and if you order a big beer, get ready for his boisterous beer call.
"Well, I went out there the first time, I got up there and ‘everyone now, ticky tocky, ticky tocky’ and the room went ‘hoy, hoy, hoy!’ I said, that's it, and it took off from there,” he said.
For more than 70 years, the East Side has been on Dwight Street, but almost 20 years ago, Augustino took it over with his wife and daughter, who still serve the original dishes.
There's no doubt you can't beat the delicious German food that keeps people coming back again and again.
It's all music to the ears of many longtime customers.
The main beer hall, complete with 1,000 steins for a mug club, was designed to make sure nobody misses him.
"Now as you'll notice my ceiling here is arched, and the reason it's arched is because I made it special for my voice. So you can have a full room and I hit that arch and them glasses and it shots down on these people and they know I'm in the house,” Augustino said.
He gives a good cheer but he also gets them when he's out an about, which is good for a guy who likes pleasing people at this German jewel in the Hardware City.
"It's a diamond in the rough, you found it, then go show them because once you show them, they're going to thank you,” Augustino said.
Next Channel 3 went to explore part of New Britain’s culture.
The town is known for its Polish population, so Channel3 checked out Polmart, the perfect place to find Polish favorites.
"The cold cuts are fabulous and the sweets, the candies, the breads are out of this world - they come from different bakeries so there is a lot of variety,” said Agnes Matug, of Berlin.
Polmart is celebrating 15 years this month.
Margaret Mazur and her husband Andrew, bought the Broad Street building on a whim and at first, didn't know what was next.
"It was totally empty, I was just sitting on the floor saying, ‘oh gosh, what am I going to do with it?’ And I said let's try something that I know and feel comfortable with,” Mazur said.
She's comfortable with anything and everything Polish because she was born there, but Polmart offers so much more.
There’s fresh coffee, and a lot of delicious pre-made food, like perogies, that are whipped up in the kitchen, much of it by Margaret’s mom.
"We have food from Germany, from Russia, Ukraine, we have also different customers from different countries because basically they know that it's not just Polish,” Mazur said.
Once you manage to get away from the deli counter and all the incredible homemade desserts, there's more to see.
There’s a little gift shop, and upstairs there’s a hair salon, tax assistance and even a spa.
They’re also about to open a café with live music, thanks to Mazur’s husband.
She said the mission at Polmart is simple -- everyone loves tradition and that's what she's offering her faithful customers who can't get enough.
“I'm here at least once or twice a week, they have a large variety, excellent customer service, anything pretty much, whatever you want, you can have,” Matug said.
The couple has two children, a 27-year-old daughter who now lives overseas and a 16-year-old son, who is in high school and works on the weekends.
They hope he'll run the family business someday.
For more on Polmart, click here.