At The Connecticut Yankee, Potrero Hill’s longtime haven for Boston sports fans, everything is just right when the Patriots play. Fans pack the bar on any given Sunday, setting up a shrine with a Patriots helmet in the pool room while co-owner Tony Cooney rings a big bell and turns on a fog machine for touchdowns.
But one thing will be missing when the Patriots take the field this Sunday for Super Bowl 52: The bar’s beloved garden gnome, Rob Gnomekowski, a Patriots mascot that’s mysteriously gone missing. And Cooney wants it back.
Gnomekowski, a gnome likeness of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, is typically perched in the bar’s patio garden, but hasn’t been seen since a game against the Jaguars two weeks ago. “Everyone kinda sits near it, cheers the gnome, buys the gnome a beer,” Cooney explains. “It’s a good luck to sit near the gnome kinda thing.” Its been there since Cooney and partners took over the bar (while maintaining its Boston sports bon fides) in 2015, right in the middle of NFL playoff season.
After the Jaguars game, Cooney was out back — “we tend to water the garden, our chef’s back there picking herbs” — and realized Gnomekowski was gone. “I was kinda pissed off about it.” He even reviewed tape of the bar during the game from a security camera — but no luck, as Gnomekowski was blocked by a tree.
To get the item back and ease any superstitions, Cooney made a missing poster, and is even offering a reward: “Whoever returns Gnomekowski will be rewarded with 4-seats at The Connecticut Yankee during the SUPER BOWL!” the bar writes. The gnome is marked, so no fakes will be accepted.
Reward or not, Cooney doesn’t have his hopes too high: If Gnomekowski is gone for good, he says, “we’ll just have to find something else.” Maybe it’s for the best, he even suggests: Gnomekowski might be somewhere he’s more urgently needed. Perhaps he’s stowed away to Minnesota, where the real Gronkowski and the Pats take the field at 3:30 p.m. PST.