After renting a chair for seven years, Erika Cook, a stylist with 16 years of experience, was ready to move up. With the support of her family, friends, clients, and fiancé, she opened Tranquility Salon & Spa, where she and her staff perform everything from curls with Surface hair products to manicures with durable Shellac gel polish. Cook is doing everything she can to make the salon a success, especially by making as many services available as possible. Along with waxing and makeup applications, she offers hot-stone, sports, and other massage services, as well as glycolic-acid peels that reduce the worry lines that appear when you agonize too long over whether to buy ketchup or catsup.
With Marilyn Monroe's timeless likeness keeping a watchful eye on coiffure transformations, Studio180's savvy stylists snip strands and apply careful color in foils or all-over treatments. They can also make curly hair straight—and vice versa—with advanced retexturizing treatments. Fancy updos prepare brides for a big day, and facial waxing keeps complexions fuzz-free longer than shaving or shaking your head like a Wooly Willy.
The Hairs Inn Salon offers more than just hair design, but—with a full service hair studio, color bar, and stylists that perform countless treatments—it’s fitting that hair earned its place on the marquee. Owner and stylist Holly Johnson oversees a talented roster of beauticians as they provide elegant cuts and embellishments, such as coloring and keratin treatments. Additionally, this full-service salon—which services men, women, and children—offers makeup applications, waxing, and beauty services tailored to help clients prepare for special events.
Joe Sassu runs the Paul Mitchell focus salon Sassu Cuts, where he strives to develop the feel and style of a New York City hair salon. He and his newest staffer, Abby Ayala, also do their level best to create NYC-inspired hairstyles, performing an array of beauty services. Abby’s background includes second place in her field at SkillsUSA, a competition among thousands of students from Connecticut’s technical schools. Amid exposed brick and in front of stylist stations that resemble large modern toolboxes, they cut new ‘dos, correct faltering color, wax away unwanted hairs, and perform bridal services, such as convincing a groom to get the first haircut of his life.
"Now listen up," insists Connecticut Magazine. "Matthew?s tableside Caesar salad has to be the best in the state, if not the country." It's hard to argue with that claim. Starting with torn hearts of romaine lettuce, the salad is made right next to your table, which gives you the chance to catch the distinct aromas of garlic croutons and parmesan cheese before each is thrown into the mix.
Executive Chef Greg Marcuson's culinary talents, of course, extend beyond salad. In fact, they're visible throughout Matthew's menu, in the Berkshire lamb shanks he braises for eight hours and in the cheddar grits he pairs with jumbo shrimp tossed in a barbecue dry rub.
But even the food can't claim sole responsibility for Matthew's popularity. Credit is also due to the restaurant's idyllic location, which includes a spacious outdoor patio with a stunning view of the Farmington River and its kindly fish god.