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Entries in New Haven (75)


The Halal Guys Opens in New Haven on The Green 

The iconic New York City food cart turned brick-and-mortar restaurant is open for business at 906 Chapel Street, New Haven

The Halal Guys, which originally started as a hot dog cart in 1990, gained worldwide recognition for its twist on traditional Middle Eastern cuisine.  Known for its secret white sauce and lip-tingling, explosive hot sauce, The Halal Guys has become a staple of New York City street fare.  Those with big appetites can plan on hearty portions of chicken and gyro over rice with salad, consistent with those served in New York City.  All ingredients are delivered and prepared fresh daily.  In addition to the world-famous platters, the New Haven location will be dishing up sandwiches, hummus, fries, and, for desert, baklava.

Drawing from the success of the original, the founders of The Halal Guys decided to open “brick and mortar” restaurants around the nation.  The Chapel Street restaurant is the first in Connecticut.  At least one other is in the preliminary planning stage for an undetermined location in the Stamford area.

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Mecha Noodle Bar Opens in Downtown New Haven

Mecha Noodle Bar, which opened its first restaurant in Fairfield in 2013 and later its second site in South Norwalk in 2015, opens its third location in the heart of downtown New Haven. Located at 201 Crown Street, this 2000-square-foot spot will offer the ultimate comfort food in New Haven appealing to students, residents, business people and families alike with its menu of Asian comfort food options at affordable price points.

For those not already familiar with the menu at Mecha Noodle Bar, the menu features signature dishes such as ramen and pho as well as other flavorful selections such as steamed baos and a well curated selection of Asian plates borrowing from Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese traditions. The menu has been created to soothe, nourish, sustain and inspire – at a modest price. 80% of the core menu in New Haven will be similar to its sister locations with the remainder of the menu debuting new dishes with a Mecha twist. And of course, “Slurping is encouraged” as clearly stated on the menu.

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Veg-Centric Dinner Series at ROÌA in New Haven: Heirloom Tomatoes

Up the steps off the city streets of New Haven, you may feel transported to another time and place. A space that somehow manages to feel elegant, yet contemporary and welcoming at the same time. This could only be ROÌA, where its elaborate high ceilings and attention to a bygone era’s architectural detail make a striking first impression. But they only set the stage for you to be further impressed with the sights and flavors about to arrive at the table.

CTbites first visited ROÌA for its grand opening back in 2013—grand being a most fitting descriptor. We were thrilled to return and experience a dinner featuring summer’s bounty of the local heirloom tomato, in one interesting configuration after another. And just one in the “veg-centric dinner series” Chef Avi Szapiro has offered since last year, when they first showcased asparagus, followed by summer squash, then tomato.

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Foraging with Chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi in New Haven

To Forage:  The word forage means to use wander or search for food or provisions. 

So when I was invited to James Beard nominated and passionate foraging chef, Bun Lai’s farm in upstate Connecticut for lunch, I half expected we would forage for much of our meal.  

When I saw on Instagram that Bun and his friend, Greg Grinberg from Actual Food had been diving the prior day for clams for lunch, I knew I was in for a treat. 

Chef Bun Lai is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and eating and sources much of the food he serves at his New Haven sushi restaurant, Miya’s, from his own gardens, from the wooded forest around his 10 acre farm in Woodbridge, CT and from Long Island Sound.   His popular restaurant has been a New Haven destination for over 35 years, originally opened by his mother, who is still involved today. 

To visit with Bun is a lesson in locally sourced produce, with no pesticides or flavor or color enhancements.  He and Greg described foraging as, “the most natural way of eating… the “gathering” part of the hunter/gatherer”. 

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New Haven's Historic Bar Reopens: Welcome Back Anchor Spa

It's back.

Anchor Spa, one of New Haven's most iconic drinking establishments has been brought back to life thanks to Yale alumnus and restauranteur Karl Franz Williams (67 Orange Street, Solomon & Kuff). Renovated with an emphasis on evoking the 1930's spirit of the original Anchor Spa while infusing the space with thoughtful modern touches, Anchor Spa is poised to take its place among Connecticut's most stylish and storied bars.  

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Friday Froth: A Trip To Barcade New Haven, Video Games + Beer

Maybe it's just the freshness of a mind before it reaches pickled adulthood, but childhood memories seem more permanent. I can't remember breakfast on most days, but I recall hopping on bikes with a few friends, ditching our mother-mandated helmets, and riding down to Vic's Variety on Paradise Green in Stratford to buy Crybabies and play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a stand up, four player arcade game. 

Nintendo and Sega Genesis had killed video game arcades as dead as iTunes killed record stores until four guys in Williamsburg thought "What if we bring them back, but with beer?" That was 2004, and in the ensuing years the Barcade franchise has spread around New York, to New Jersey, Philly, and now, New Haven. It was once again time to get my Hadouken! on.

Travel time driving to Barcade is variable, in my case 3 hours in traffic. But by the time I arrived I was seriously ready to blow something up. Centipede, Galaga, Punch Out, four player X-Men and Ninja Turtles, Ms. Pac Man... take your pick, they're all still 25-cents to play. 

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Jitter Bus Coffee Truck: Now Rolling in New Haven

I happen to think you can’t have enough coffee options. Helping me test this hypothesis is the city of New Haven, and newcomer, Jitter Bus Coffee. Unlike its bricks and mortar competitors, Jitter Bus is a bus serving serving single origin coffee solely from Connecticut roasters with a selection Whole G baked goods.

Like its name proclaims, the business is housed within a former (and slightly aging) school bus painted jet black and retrofitted with an espresso maker, all of which can best be described as “appropriately grungy,” led by a young trio of seasoned barristas: Dan Barletta, Paul Crosby, and Andrew Mesioiris.

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Liuzzi’s Gourmet Market In North Haven: A Well-Crafted Bridge to Italian Foodways

Anna Bendiksen is new to the CTbites team. Anna is a former scholar of Russian literature, and a food blogger over at or follow her on Twitter @anna_bendiksen

When Domenico “Dom” Liuzzi talks about artisanal cheesemaking, his eyes light up.

“Quality is what sets us apart from Stop and Shop,” he said in a recent conversation at Liuzzi’s Gourmet Market---not that anyone could mistake his store, which carries over 200 cheeses, for anything other than the Greater New Haven landmark it is.

The cascades of Italian speech in the air, the display cases featuring Liuzzi’s own house-made cheeses, the scent of cured hams and sausages hanging overhead, the attentive staff darting about---all combine to make Liuzzi’s a prime destination for foodies from Connecticut and beyond.

The cheeses for which the store is best known---the result of the family’s cheesemaking heritage stretching over a century---are its burrata (favored by Mario Batali), a caciocavallo (“cheese on horseback,” so named because it is strung in rope to drip dry), and two kinds of ricotta (whipped and large-curd).

Yet the cheese offerings at Liuzzi’s, located in North Haven, don’t stop with these house-made specialties. You’ll also find imported Grana Padano (a cheese similar to Parmesan that is favored by Italian children and a standby in Lidia Bastianich’s new cookbook Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine); Moliterno, a raw sheep’s-milk cheese exquisitely scented with black truffle paste; the best of American artisanal cheeses such as Humboldt Fog; and many more. 

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Alice Waters Speaks on "Slow Food Values in a Fast Food Culture" at Yale on February 2

Photo: Chez Panisse

Chef, author, and food activist Alice Waters will visit Yale University on February 2, 2016 at 4 p.m. to give a talk at the Yale Art Gallery titled "Slow Food Values in a Fast Food Culture." The talk is free and open to the public.

Waters is the owner of the ingredient-driven Chez Panisse restaurant that opened in 1971 in Berkeley, a founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project and a recipience of the National Humanities Medal in 2015.

For more information about the event, visit Yale News.

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Bren Smith, Founder of Ocean Farming Non-profit GreenWave, Awarded Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award

Bren Smith, the founder of GreenWave and Thimble Island Oyster Farm, an ocean farming non profit based in New Haven, has been making headlines recently as the recent recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The award recognizes GreenWave's design for the world’s first multi-species 3D ocean farms. The non profit's work aims to restore ocean ecosystems while creating jobs in coastal communities through restorative ocean farmers.

In addition to the New Yorker's "Is Seaweed the Next Superfood?," listen to a recent story on

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