SOUTHINGTON — Crystal Bees recently introduced a new executive head chef along with new assistant chefs.
Ralph Secondo, a longtime town resident, started as executive chef at the entertainment center earlier this month.
“He [Secondo] is very well known, his food is just exquisite.” Cystal Bees Assistant General Manager Tony Guerrera said. “His expertise in the field will be a great asset to us.”
It was important to Secondo to have a “powerful” team with him in the kitchen so Dennis “Dee” Purvis from Meriden has been hired as his assistant chef and Carmine Izzo from Naples, Italy as a pizza chef.
Customers can expect a new bar and dinner menu. Secondo said the menu won’t be limited to Italian food.
“I really enhanced my cooking abilities when I went to South Beach, Miami,” Secondo said. “I worked with the finest chefs from the islands, Central and South America and Europe.”
While no exact menu items have been decided, Secondo has been testing out samples. Customers can expect a new Sunday Brunch and an occasional Italian buffet. The business is also hoping to do more catering.
These changes come after Crystal Bees reopened in June after being closed since October 2020. Owner Donald Millard said deciding to close was very difficult but he is happy to be open again.
“It was now or never,” Millard said. “It was time. Thankfully we had resources to stay open this long. Either you’re going to pack it in or try again.”
Crystal Bees also offers arcade games, 16 bowling lanes, multiple bars, areas for private parties and live music on the weekend.
Secondo learned his trade at his family’s well-known local business, The Popular Restaurant, which was open from 1937 to 1987 on Center Street.
“I didn’t go to culinary school, I learned from mom, uncles and aunts,” Secondo said. “I’m happy to share my knowledge of culinary with other young chefs."
Crystal Bees, 240 Spring St. is open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.