That sounds like a fantastic burger-maybe one day Jordan Dikegoros will add that to the menu of his popular Hartford-based J Restaurant and Bar. But for now, the double-decker bus that will be running up to 80 people per trip between Old Wethersfield and Hartford on New Year’s Eve will have to do.
Dikegoros started the annual tradition six years ago, driven by nothing more than nostalgia. Simply put, as his kids got older, the familiar New Year’s Eve gathering of family and friends at his restaurant-he recalls fond memories of watching fireworks on the back patio-began to grow smaller, and he wanted to reverse that.
“It’s like a nice reunion for everyone,” he says. “I just couldn’t give up on this.”
This year, he’s stepping up to save the tradition once again-this time in light of state budget woes that have eliminated Hartford’s funding for the transport. So Dikegoros and Wethersfield Mayor Paul Montinieri are splitting the $1200 cost to run the bus from Comstock Ferre in Old Wethersfield, to J Restaurant and Bar, and to ice skating at the Bushnell-and back-between the hours of 4 p.m. and 2 a.m.
All funding is sourced privately.
“It’s a safe way to travel on New Year’s Eve,” Dikegoros said. “You don’t need Uber, and it’s free.”
In past years, it’s run three to four weekends throughout the Christmas season, but Dikegoros and Montinieri both said that in light of the current fiscal climate, they’ll be glad to get “the most important night”.
Typically, New Year’s Eve would generate between 600 and 700 riders, according to Dikegoros.
With a projected 12 round trips on the night, it wouldn’t be a shock to get north of 1,000 users, Montinieri said.
“We’ve been getting so many phone calls from people who have done it in the past,” Montinieri said.