Norwich – The aroma of baked dough flowing through Town Hall Square is enough sign that there is now an eclectic new pizza and craft beer restaurant open, but much more than that is cooking in the historic Otis Library building on 80 Broadway .
There is a synergy that combines the excitement of chefs, line cooks and waiters for the ability to find new and enjoyable jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic that left several of them jobless in previous jobs with the determination of a business entrepreneur pledging to convert the old building Otis Library in a center for creative entrepreneurs.
Upstairs at Pie Hops Bar & Restaurant, 36-year-old Peter Helms of Manchester has turned office space into Helms Media, a professional home for its growing digital marketing company, Ideal Solutions, and an internet radio studio. , where it produces local programs that vary. from sports to news news, culinary arts and even a show with young women giving their perspectives on the dating scene for women in their twenties.
“I want to develop a culture of entrepreneurship to give creative talent a way out to share their ideas and grow their brands,” Helms said Friday.
Helms was born in Norwich and grew up in Griswold. He overcame substance abuse addiction in his teens and 20s, straightened up, and attended Three Rivers Community College and Eastern Connecticut State University. At ECSU he fell in love with business and marketing, leaving college to try his hand.
He launched his ideal solutions on a laptop in the afternoon hours of his home while working on various jobs. He was full-time with him a year ago and businesses grew as more and more companies looked for new ways to market and survive the pandemic, he said.
While continuing to help local businesses market themselves during the pandemic, Helms is expanding the internet radio business and is working with some high-ranking partners to produce a line of TV shows.
Former Griswold State Representative Kevin Skulczyck, a Conservative Republican, had the opportunity to organize a conservative talk show, “Rocky News,” with the slogan, “Fight the fake news.” The program runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. On Friday he introduced special guest Angela Adams, executive director of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce. Adams explained how the camera is working with local companies to get them through the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also promoted upcoming holiday shopping events.
Helms organizes his own concert with the link of Global City Norwich, Suki Lagrito. The program, “Hustle Reports,” highlights business owners and their creative ideas for running and promoting their business.
Two other local hosts, Ray Dupoint and Chris Nott, co-host of “Du-Nott Sports,” talks about sports that take place Tuesday through Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. Their enthusiasm for golf has made them a key sponsor, Great Brook Sports in Groton. Helms is looking for other sponsorships, including some products from national sports brands.
“If the audience is okay, it works,” Helms said. “Pie Hops is a great sponsor. They welcomed us into their space in the heart of downtown Norwich. “
Skulczyck promotes the restaurant during his talk show.
Pie Hops Bar & Restaurant, owned by Bill Nielson and run by chef Mark Vecchitto, offers specialty pizzas, creative burgers, nachos and sandwiches and an extensive selection of craft beers.
Both Pie Hops and Helms Media opened on 80 Broadway two weeks ago and immediately began filling internet radio intervals.
Vecchitto, a former executive chef at Mystic Marriott, is one of those fired during the pandemic. He’s classically trained in great restaurants and wants to bring something new to Norwich’s blue necklace with creative specials, like Friday’s feature: pizza with camembert cheese, slices of fuji apple and caramel.
“Bringing food like that to Norwich is going to be fun,” Vecchitto said.
Vecchitto is also trying to get his hands on Helms ’business upstairs, organizing an internet radio show called“ Walk In, ”introducing the audience to a behind-the-scenes look at running a restaurant. The show will kick off on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
On Friday, at lunchtime, the cafeteria began to jump, with customers at several of the well-spaced tables and others placing take-out orders for several 10-inch pizzas.
“We were busier than we thought it would be during COVID,” said Lebanese waitress Allison Guay, 25. She had lost her job at Friendly’s in Willimantic, which closed because of the pandemic and was delighted to find a new restaurant.
Chef Mike Joyner, 28, of New London was working with another restaurant he had tried to open in Niantic but was unable to do so during the pandemic. There he met line cook Kyle Cook, 23, of New London. Now both are delighted to land at Pie Hops.
“We’re loving it,” Cook said. “We even went into our days off to help set up the place.”
(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));