WEST SPRINGFIELD Restaurateur Michael Sullivan equates the expansion of his eatery, The Cup, formerly on Westfield Street, to Common Ground Restaurant on Park Avenue, to that of little chicks in the hatchery in Big E's Farm-O-Rama building.
"We were chicks rolling around in that tiny shell," he told those at the grand opening of Common Ground on Jan. 11. But now, having moved to a larger location and expanding their menu to include dinner, they're no longer "small little beings waiting to be more than you are," according to Sullivan.
"This day has been no small feat. It took a lot of trust, faith and belief," he said.
Colleagues, investors and family members, along with state and town officials, joined Sullivan at the grand opening. However, one member of the Common Ground Family, investor Charlie Separk, who lost his battle with cancer in September, was notably absent.
"After Charlie passed away, we had a toast to him and from that toast I saved that can and put it in the wall [here at Common Ground]," Sullivan explained. "Charlie will always have a spot at our counter."
There's also plenty of room at the counter, inside the bar or at the restaurant's many booths. Sullivan said he wants to capitalize on the great successes of The Cup's high-quality, budget-friendly foods, which included "an omelet the size of a head" and expand into the happy hour and dinnertime markets.
"We want people to get to know us. They know us for our breakfast and lunch already. Now we've added nachos and wings, dinner entrees and specialty sandwiches," he added. "I don't have a single bottle of wine over $20, when my competition doesn't have a single wine under $20."
Mayor Edward Gibson praised Sullivan's choice to stay in town. "This is fantastic! This is the type of economic development we're going to see in West Springfield," he said, referencing the growth of small businesses as opposed to national box stores.
Town Council President Kathleen Bourque called the grand opening of Common Ground a "tremendous" addition to West Springfield and Greater Springfield at large. "I hope people from other communities come in to see all that they've done here," she added.
The site had been empty since the closing of Reins Deli approximately 15 months ago.
Common Ground, 25 Park Ave., is open Sunday to Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursdays to Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information, visit their Web site, www.thecupinc.com or see their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Common-Ground-Restaurant-West-Springfield-MA/140772635964949 .
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