Friday, May 31, 2019

Travel to MGM Springfield - A New England Casino

Social Media Promotion: Sponsored  

MGM Resorts in Springfield MA

In mid-May we had the opportunity to spend a few days at one of New England's newest hotel and resort casinos, MGM Springfield, which opened in 2018 in Springfield Massachusetts. 

MGM Springfield is owned and operated by MGM Resorts International,  known for fabulous hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. 

MGM Springfield - Home Place Travels
Welcome to MGM Springfield

Getting there? Easy peasy! Just a little over an hour from our home in Connecticut and it's right off I-91. I do mean right off - like about a block from the exit! 

Parking? Also easy! A self parking garage enters right into and is just steps from the casino. Valet parking service (approximately $28) is also available.

We began our stay with a tour of the property, learning about MGM's commitment to remaining true to the spirit of the area and attention to details for the full consumer experience.  MGM is bringing the best of the best to Springfield with their partnership with the MassMutual Center with shows like CHER (that I was lucky enough to attend back in April) - and AEROSMITH coming in August 2019.  

In addition, there's always SOMETHING fun going on site in 'The Plaza' on MGM Springfield's grounds, as well as the the ROAR: Comedy Club also located in the plaza in the old Springfield Armory on weekends.  The Plaza is an incredible outdoor dining and entertainment district that highlights the outdoor beauty of the hotel and casino.

 "MGM International believes entertainment is a fundamental human need" explained marketing director, Saverio Mancini.

We couldn't agree more! And no one fills that need for entertainment better than MGM! 

The Springfield Armory
Now the ROAR Comedy Club
Located in MGM Springfield's Plaza are

MGM Springfield
Plaza Seating Area
MGM Springfield
Conference Center Veranda

It was easy to see that MGM was dedicated to being true to the area's historic location and place in the Springfield community. Building in the area certainly helped the city with their rebuilding efforts after a devastating tornado. (In June 2011 a category EF3 tornado with 160 mph winds ripped through Springfield destroying over 500 buildings in downtown Springfield and the surrounding area). 

MGM Springfield Hotel Exterior

The company built slowly and intentionally, integrating a historically accurate architectural aesthetic that blends seamlessly into the downtown landscape. 

MGM Springfield
Interactive History of Springfield MA

MGM Springfield remains true to the spirit of the city known as the "City of Firsts" with its nod to the number of items first invented in Springfield (the game of basketball, American dictionary, Indian Motorcycles, and so much more) -- all in the place that was once the epicenter for precision manufacturing - and the birthplace of Dr. Seuss!

ROAR Comedy Club
and Patio Seating Area
MGM Springfield

The attention to detail throughout the hotel and casino is incredible! Both are decorated in an early twentieth century decor with beautiful textiles and warm tones. 

The design team scoured the area and the nearby Brimfield Antique Flea Market for historically accurate pieces that represent and replicate the industrial revolution era that the area is known for.

MGM Springfield
Hotel Lobby

MGM Springfield
Antiques and Artifacts
Hotel Lobby

MGM Springfield
Hotel Lobby
Reading Nook

There's even a Starbucks in the Lobby!

We loved our hotel room! It was so tastefully decorated and had a great view of downtown Springfield!

It had a cozy little seating area that was the perfect space for our morning 'in room' breakfast! 

After breakfast - we hit the shops! There are some great little places in the surrounding block, like Kringle Emporium.

Kringle Emporium specializes in candles, but also offers coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches, paninis, and salads. 

Candles Galore at
Kringle Emporium

Kringle's Friendly Staff

In addition, they offer milkshakes and spiked milkshakes! This one is the S'more Something - a decadent concoction with flambeed marshmallows, chocolate goodness, vodka, and graham crackers.

Spiked Milkshakes
at Kringles Emporium

After all our indulging we headed over to the Indian Motorcycle store where we loved all the memorabilia items - and of course, the display Indian cycles!

Indian Motorcycle Memorabilia

Actual Indian Motorcycles on Display!

After our shopping excursion we decided to head on over to the Tap Sports Bar for lunch.

Tap features loads of TVs to show all the sports events with a great 'sports bar' menu, an extensive beer selection, and a creative cocktail menu. It was a beautiful spring day - so we decided to eat on the outdoor patio!

Cocktails at Tap Sports Bar
MGM Springfield

Lunch at Tap Sports Bar
MGM Springfield

Want more options? Head over to the South End Market Place for a plethora of flavors Diner Favorites to Noodles to Lobster to Wine & Cheese --- and so much more! And it's open 24 hours!

If you're visiting on a Friday - make sure you stop into the plaza to enjoy "Food Truck Friday" where a variety of food trucks gather for some food and music and fun!

Food Truck Fridays
MGM Springfield Plaza

After lunch while the cowboy visited 'the slots' we headed over to the Salon for a well deserved pedicure! Not only does the hotel feature a full spa -- but they also feature a full service salon, with some great specials that sometimes come with a champagne perk!

MGM Springfield

Enjoy a bit of bubbly
with select services
MGM Springfield Salon

MGM Springfield Salon
Enjoying a Pedicure

After an afternoon shopping, relaxing, getting spoiled in the salon, and visiting the casino's gaming area, we headed out to dinner at Cal Mare.

The Cal Mare Restaurant

Cal Mare's chef, Michael Mina, fuses the authentic Italian coastal cuisine from the Amalfi Coast that he is know for, with New England's signature style. The marriage is a win-win!

Cocktails at the Cal Mare Restaurant
MGM Springfield

Cal Mare at MGM Springfield

MGM Springfield
Cal Mare Restaurant

We ate soooo much that we needed to walk off our dinner, so we did some more strolling through the area and visited the gaming area. We ended our night over cocktails at MGM Springfield's Commonwealth Club where as the night goes on the music and fun gets pumped up!

MGM Springfield
Commonwealth Club

Commonwealth Club
Espresso Martini Nightcap

There's also a fun little hotel cocktail bar where drinks are found in a storybook menu and based on fairy tale names. 

Bibidi Bobbidity Booze Cocktail
MGM Springfield Hotel Lobby

Cocktails at the Hotel Lobby Bar
MGM Springfield

We loved our little getaway to MGM Springfield! We know you will too! We can't wait to visit again to enjoy more of all there is to do! 

Next time we're planning on indulging in their new BRUNCH BUFFET (!!), taking in a movie in their on premise Regal Theater, having fun with a little competitive bowling at the Tap Sports Bar, and taking in a show at the comedy club!

Hope we see you there!

MGM Grand

One MGM Way
Springfield, CT


Disclaimer: We were invited to MGM Springfield by members of the company's management and marketing team and portions of this post are sponsored. However, all views and opinions are our own.

©  Home Place 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Celebrate National Burger Month at b Restaurants

National Burger Month at b Restaurants 

Did you know that the Month of May is National Burger Month? 

Well, now you do! 

And there's still time to celebrate at b Restaurants!

b Restaurant Classic Bacon Cheeseburger
Photo Credit: Jim DeMicco (SkyeLine Studio)

b Restaurants are championing the cause with mini burgers, contests and promos throughout the month of May. 

“If there’s one thing that we are obsessed with at b Restaurants, it’s the BURGER. We love it, we crave it, and we do it right. We want to show our fellow burger lovers just how much we appreciate them, so we go all out this month to celebrate,” says Al Gamble, Founder, C.E.O., Locals 8 Restaurant Group. 


Add a Mini for $1

Add a mini burger to the purchase of any appetizer or entree for only one dollar during the month of May. You may substitute a veggie, turkey or chicken patty on your mini. 

Build-a-Better-Burger Contest

In early April, b Restaurants gathered burger recipes submitted by guests. Each b Restaurant location will then compete for “The Best Burger.” 

The final winner will receive a free burger, every week, at any b Restaurant, for the rest of 2019! The Best Burger will also be featured as a special at b Restaurants through the end of May. 

b Restaurant Baja Burger
Photo Credit: Jim DeMicco (SkyeLine Studio)

Visit for more details. And visit your favorite b Restaurant to enjoy one!

About b Restaurant's Beef: 
They take great pride in providing only the highest quality meat, poultry, fish and produce for our menu. They source their 100% Certified Black Angus beef directly from ranchers in the Midwest. These family-owned ranches have been ethically raising cattle and taking care of the land for generations. Their premium USDA beef is the highest quality, with natural marbling and no growth hormones. The fresh, never frozen, chuck is hand-cut by their butchers and ground in-house within hours of hitting your plate. Antibiotic-free, and hormone-free, our chicken and pork are always fresh, fed vegetarian diets and source-verified. 

About Locals 8 
Formally established in 2008 in Hartford, CT, the Locals 8 Restaurant Group is the award-winning holding company of b Restaurants, (formerly known as Plan B Burger Bar), The Half DoorTisane Euro Asian Cafe and most recently, Butchers & Bakers. Winners of best burger, beer, and bourbon across four states and nationally known for excellent job creation, the company was founded on the simple belief that good food and drink bring people together - and the world needs more connection. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ordinary New Haven - Extraordinary Six Year Anniversary and New Initiatives

Social Media Promotion:  

Happy Six Year Anniversary to Ordinary in New Haven!

New Haven CT is home to some of the greatest little taverns and establishments. Locals refer to the city itself as the GSCIA (Greatest Small City In America). One of my favorite places to enjoy a cocktail in the greatest small city in America is on Chapel Street, right across from the historic city green, at Ordinary New Haven!

Ordinary New Haven Exterior
Ordinary at 990 Chapel Street, New Haven CT

Ordinary, is considered New Haven’s oldest tavern, as it is housed in the space that originally operated as part of the former Hotel Taft in the 1900's. We love our local history and we love that Ordinary is now celebrating its six-year anniversary with a series of new initiatives and designs that kicked off in early May 2019. 

We had a chance to visit last week and experience some of the fun Under the Big Top! And OH what FUN we had!!!

Ordinary New Haven Menu
Ordinary New Haven - Menu

That's right! Part of their new design is to feature a new circus theme to celebrate Connecticut's connection to P.T. Barnum, one of the greatest showman of all time, with a multi-month-long theme that will celebrate P.T. Barnum and his vision of the circus. 

Welcome to Ordinary's Big Top
Photo Courtesy of Ordinary New Haven
Welcome to Ordinary!

Tim Cabral, one of the co-founders of Ordinary noted, “Ordinary has been transformed into the ‘Greatest Show on Earth,’ bringing you back to the glory days of the circus under the big top of the late 1800’s. Our bar area is modeled after the traditional entry-way into the big top, featuring hand-drawn original chalk art, reprints of historical posters and photographs, colored round lights surrounding our menu boards and relevant props.  The door into our dining room will be tented, featuring material reminiscent of a classic circus tent, with the room itself featuring wall projections, additional artwork and posters and a few other surprises.” 

Even better is that this is all being done in collaboration with the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport CT!

Chalk Mural at Ordinary New Haven
Chalk Mural at Ordinary New Haven

So why the change?  Tom Sobocinski, another co-founder summed it up nicely: “We heard a lot of great feedback from our patrons after our Miracle pop-up concept this past holiday season. Our regulars enjoyed the change in décor, the appropriately themed cocktail and food menu updates and the good-natured kitsch that went along with it!  As we approached our six-year anniversary, we decided to run with this theme idea on a permanent basis, and a couple of times per year, will be launching a new concept to update the décor, food and drink menus, and of course welcoming back Miracle over the holidays.”

Ordinary's Slush Puppy Cocktail
Photo Courtesy of Ordinary New Haven
The Slush Puppy

And the menu is FUN!  Additions to the classic cocktail and food menu for this special theme include:

  • Slush Puppy (Uncle Val's Restorative Gin, Otto's Vermouth, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, Citrus, Watermelon, Basil, Liberation Angelico Bitters)
  • Now You See Me (Peloton Mezcal, Ancho, Chipotle / Tamarind Syrup, Citrus, Cotton Candy)
  • Tunnel of Love (Hacienda Reposado, Green Chartreuse, Cocchi Americano, Beet Shrub, Liberations Mole Bitters, Lavender Smoke)
  • Caramel Corn
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Alcoholic Cotton Candy
  • Dirty Water Dogs

Ordinary New Haven's Hot Dog
Hot Dogs at Ordinary New Haven

I'm not the only one with a soft spot for my native New Haven and the people in it! The owners are too!  Jason Sobocinski, Ordinary co-founder said, “We are beyond grateful to the city of New Haven and beyond for a fantastic six years here in a city that we all love. It is truly this city and our special patrons that helps continue the legacy and history of this watering hole, helping it continue to live on as a unique, welcoming tavern for another 100+ years!  To give back to this city that has supported Ordinary, we are proud to be paying it forward, working with local charitable organizations to host pop-up fundraisers on Sunday afternoons over the coming months.  We are also planning on donating $1 from the sale of each special P.T. Barnum Charitable Cocktail to The Barnum Museum throughout the run of this pop-up.” 

Photo Courtesy Ordinary New Haven

In addition to this new rotating theme concept and charitable component, the ownership team has also instituted a new service model to improve the overall experience for patrons.

Let me tell you, that is why Ordinary is EXTRAordinary! 

Their service is spectacular no matter the season, day, or time. “Our goal is to always provide our guests with a superior level of service, which can sometimes be a challenge during crowded weekend periods,” said Mike Farber, co-founder, Ordinary.  “To provide an unprecedented level of service in the area, we’ve added a doorman to our team during busy periods, who will greet guests at our front entrance.  Prior to walking in, the doorman touches base with our floor manager to be able to direct every guest to a designated space at the bar, along the standing rail or in the back dining room.  Each party will receive a personal introduction to their point person – a bartender or server, who is designated to take care of them for the entire visit.  This alleviates the frustration of having to push through to order a drink or food at the bar, feeling uncomfortable not having a place to stand or sit, and more importantly, provides a New York City-level of attention for our patrons.  We’ve been test-running this new model for the past few weeks, and after a resounding level of success, will be permanently implementing it during busy periods moving forward.”
Photo Courtesy of Ordinary New Haven
Cotton Candy Cocktails

It's no surprise that Ordinary was highlighted as one of the “Greatest Bars in the World” in 2015 by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

Ordinary New Haven - Under the Big Top
Photo Courtesy of Ordinary New Haven

Join me in congratulating the team at Ordinary for six wonderful years and visit them soon to experience the fun Under the Big Top for yourself! 

Ordinary New Haven Fortune Telling
Photo Courtesy of Ordinary New Haven
Magic Tricks and Fortune Telling

Ordinary New Haven

990 Chapel Street
(203) 907.0238.

About Ordinary:  

Ordinary is New Haven’s oldest tavern, originally serving as the taproom of the former Hotel Taft, which opened in January of 1912.  Located just steps from Yale University, the Shubert Theatre and Yale New Haven Hospital in the heart of historic downtown New Haven at 990 Chapel Street, the space also was known as Richter’s before the current owners took it over in 2012.  After a careful restoration, preserving the space’s historical character and architecture, including the original bar, wood paneling and ornate plaster ceilings, Ordinary opened in April 2013.  The menu offers a mix of both classic and innovative cocktails, wine and beer, as well as a food menu offering small plates meant for sharing including cheese and meat boards, sliders, sandwiches, olives and more.  Open Monday-Saturday from 4pm to close, Ordinary hosts Happy Hour daily from 4-7pm, as well as weekly trivia nights and special events.  The historic front lobby is also home to The New Haven Cocktail Museum, showcasing the history of the cocktail inception in New Haven with rotating liquor exhibits.  For more information, visit, or the bar’s Twitter (@ordinarybar), Facebook (@ordinarynewhaven) or Instagram (@ordinarynewhaven) pages.

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