Which places in New Haven mystify us by remaining open?
If you haven’t heard, Thali is closing its doors after 11 years in New Haven. They will keep Thali Too (the veggie version) and Oaxaca Kitchen open, but according to a press release from the owner, there are “so many restaurants and just not enough people.”
New Haven has an ultra competitive environment. Restaurants open and close within six weeks. Stores do the same. Heck, even Family Dollar was driven out by Dollar Store on Chapel Street. In the Great Dollar Store Wars, there are no winners. (Well, except Dollar Tree.)
Conversely, there are places that, beyond all logic and reason, remain open.
Today, I pay homage to those places.
CandiTopia has been open for a little longer than two years, which is about two years longer than I expected it to last.
A candy store? Featuring nostalgia-driven candy from olden times? On Chapel Street? Next to a bunch of weird galleries?
I walk by nearly every day. Sometimes, I even see a customer in there. Just one, though.
I don’t know how the Abba-Zaba industry is going, but my instinct says, “Not great.”
Hey, you know what’s a great concept for a bar? Let’s build an Off-Track Betting facility in a giant concrete cylinder so these poor bastards can’t see the sun. We’ll put it next to the refineries and office towers near Long Wharf.
Oh, sure, horse racing is kind of cruel, but what if we had dog racing? That would really kick things up a notch.
Roly Poly Sandwiches
In all fairness, anybody who opens up under the brutalist concrete behemoth that is the Temple Street Parking Garage is going to have an uphill battle.
But calling your sandwich shop “Roly Poly Sandwiches” is just jamming the difficulty up to 11. What, was “You’re Gonna Gain 4 Lbs.” taken?
Hey, at least there’s an outdoor seating area. It’s the perfect spot to see people unable to find parking on George Street.
How many hats, on average, would you say you purchase a month? Six? Seven?
Enough to warrant a deciated hattery? Cause I know a place where your dreams can come true. Where very hat-related fantasy you have can be fulfilled.
Update: It turns out, as many of you have pointed out to me, that Delmonico actually does incredibly business online and mostly keeps the store open for stock/historical purposes.
So we’re all learning something new, aren’t we.
Seoul Korean Restaurant
Apparently, Seoul (get it?) has been open since 1999. That’s right, it’s 18 years old. It can vote. It can go die in the Army. It can’t drink, except maybe at Box 63 (heh).
This place is a trip. They have solid, but expensive Korean food. But if you didn’t read my Most Underrated, you don’t know that a guy who works there (maybe the owner?) goes and stands in the corner/recording studio and plays along on his guitar with some piped in music.
It. Is. Fantastic.
That being said, I know one person who eats there regularly. That’s it.
Yet 18 years later, I suspect SOMEone is going there. And kudos to you people, for helping this Korean restaurant become an adult.
Yeah, I know it just opened.
But how many of you really think it’s going to succeed where Playwright, Wicked Wolf, and Russian Lady failed?
But seriously I do hope it succeeds, cause it’s a huge spot and it being empty helps nobody.
Bull & Swine
I remember being excited about a BBQ place opening in East Rock.
And I remember being disappointed by people saying it wasn’t very good (their words, not mine).
And I remember seeing the video of a woman dropping trow, slapping her ass, and quitting there. (It’s… definitely something.)
Update: It turns out this wasn’t an employee but a mentally unhealthy woman having a bit of an episode, so now I feel bad making fun of her. So I removed the link.
What can I say that this fantastic Onion article hasn’t already said?
“So where do you wanna go tonight?”
“Hmmm, how about Diesel Lounge?”
“What the fuck, man.”
It sounds like exactly the kind of place I can’t imagine I’d ever want to go. It has the word “Diesel.” It has the word “Lounge.” It has them together.
I want to sit here and tell you that I’ve never been there, that I’d never end up in an establishment like that, that I’ve never been dragged there by Dallas for karaoke as he proceeded try to set me up with these 22 year olds as I calmly explained why that wasn’t really my thing.
I want to. But I wouldn’t lie to you, Dear Reader.
So, uh, let’s move on.
The Juice Box
You can’t beat the location across from the Yale Art Gallery. But can you beat the concept of super expensive smoothies that take all the joy of enjoying distinct flavors and textures and jamming them into a blender?
I’d say… yes.
I assume by the time I post this, Dashi will be closed, as the Curse of State and Bradley Street continues. No exceptions. Sorry, Dashi. I’m sure you’re lovely.
(Though you have legit like NO vegetarian options.)
Wall Street Pizza & Restaurant
It turns out you can stay open selling middling pizza in a great pizza city as long as you’re basically on Yale’s campus and sell cheap beer.
Adolf Viennese Couturier-Furs
You want a suit? Sorry, sir we don’t sell those. A jacket? Absolutely not. Hats? You want the hatter down the street, sir.
Furs? Oh yes. We’ve got you covered.
The only thing less en vougue than fur is the name “Adolf.” Yet this place has been open since at least 2009. And not a single Yelp review.
Your guess is as good as mine.
Is it a front for some kind of illegal gambling ring? Meth factory? No idea.
But it may outlast us all.
If you haven’t heard, it looks like Ah-Beetz is closed. Which doesn’t seem super surprising.
But they did beat the over-under on how long it would take.
According to a Facebook review: “LOST LIQUOR LICENSE FOR SERVING MINORS( NEW HAVEN LOCATION) SO CLOSED FOR GOOD”
I’m not a lawyer, but that sounds… plausible. And if you can’t trust people who type in all caps, who can you trust?
A Brief Note
If you love these businesses, tell me I’m missing out! I absolutely believe in supporting local businesses and I hope they all success wonderfully, even if they aren’t for me.
Between Two Rocks will be selling t-shirts in the very near future! I’m working on suppliers and designs, but once we’re ready to go, you’ll be able to proudly support Between Two Rocks with your very own t-shirt!
I also know I promised people a podcast and then failed to deliver. My “Podcast Guy” fell through, so I’m working on getting some equipment in the not too distant future, so keep your ears peeled. (And no that’s not the exciting news).