“We decided we want to put the old to the new,” said Sara Fitzgerald, who owns Bluto’s Hometown Tavern with her husband, Tim.
Even though the pair aren’t originally from Norwalk, it seems the Fitzgeralds are firmly rooted in the Maple City. “When we got here we immediately loved the small-town feel; and our kids grew up and graduated from high school here, so Norwalk is ‘home.’”
For Sara, there were more than enough reasons to dive in and invest in their community this way.
“Before becoming the owners (of Bluto’s), the kind of local, homey (atmosphere) was pretty well-known and we wanted to hold on to that.”
And soon after the bar became theirs, the Fitzgeralds worked with local businesses and marketers to help them rebrand.
“In the last six months we’ve changed the flooring and installed a new air-conditioner and things like that, it still has the old-school tavern-type vibes. It’s still the place where everybody comes to hang out. When I’ve asked people, you know, ‘what is it you see about this place that’s unique?’ everybody tells me there’s just a different vibe here,” Sara said. “We just want people to come and hang out with us.”
“We knew from the beginning we wanted to become more,” said Sara, “which helped us come to the decision to make (the addition of) ‘Hometown Tavern’ become our name and vibe.”
And as for the food?
“We do believe we’re the best in the area for beers, wings and burgers,” said Sara, who at the same time admitted this popular watering-hole has not been and won’t strive to be a fast-food stop.
“Yeah, you might have to wait a little bit for your food, but at the same time you’ll be hanging out (with us). And we’re not asking you to buy anything, or that we’ll tell you to ‘move it along’ if you’ve finished your meal. ... We want you to feel comfortable here. So it’s still a place to come and hang out. ... But it’s also still a bar.”
The Fitzgerald’s became the owners of Bluto’s Sports Bar & Grill in 2015.
Bluto’s Hometown Tavern is at 33 East Seminary St.