NEW HAVEN >> Four restaurants will be coming to the city in the near future on Yale University-owned sites, fitting right in with New Haven’s new designation as a top foodie destination.
The City Plan Commission this week approved a special exception request from one non-conforming use (a package store) to another (a restaurant) for 9 Dixwell Ave., where Lauren Zucker, Yale’s director of New Haven affairs, said two restaurants will locate.
The approval now goes back to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which will take it up at its July 8 meeting. The site, almost across from the UPS Store on Broadway, was the former home to Broadway Liquor and the Sound Tracks Cafe. The structure is located on the east side of Dixwell Avenue between Tower Parkway and Lake Street.
The commission agreed that the 14 required parking spaces for the restaurants are not needed given the local nature of the largely pedestrian clientele, which borders Yale and residential Dixwell.
Zucker said the special exception would allow a 14-seat restaurant and a second one with a maximum of 40 seats to take up the ground floor of a four-story apartment building, which would continue to be used for housing.
“I think it is going to be great for the whole community, both the Broadway district and the Dixwell district,” she said.
Already approved is a 74-seat Tarry Lodge, a Mario Batali restaurant, one of many iterations of restaurants run by Batali and his partners. It will open at 278 Park St. in a space that has been vacant for seven years.
The sign in the window of the Park Street space, which is near Elm Street, says the eatery is coming soon. Zucker said she expects it to open in the fall.
“I’m excited to have Tarry Lodge join the New Haven restaurant community and serve the Elm City — a great addition considering the recent Livability.com piece about New Haven as a top foodie destination,” said Patrick O’Brien, the marketing coordinator at Yale Universty, University Properties & The Shops at Yale, said in an email.
The other partners in Tarry Lodge are Joe Bastianich, Andy Nusser and Nancy Selzer.
Livability.com said it looked at the 200 “most livable cities in America to find the 10 most surprising vibrant cities for foodies to flex their taste buds.” New Haven topped the list.
The website said it analyzed how frequently families eat at locally owned restaurants and how much the average person spends eating out. It also looked at access to healthful foods and established farmers markets and how many critically acclaimed restaurants are located within the city.
At the former space leased to Scoozzi on Chapel Street, which is part of the British Museum of Arts building, Yale is bringing in the Harvest Wine Bar, which has a sister restaurant in Greenwich. Scoozzi was in New Haven for more than two decades.
Harvest is one of four restaurants owned by Vicente Siguenza and his family.
Zucker said Siguenza has a “farm to fork” philosophy when it comes to sourcing the ingredients for his menus.
“It will be a great addition. They are working on the building now,” Zucker said of Harvest, which will feature fine dining.
Siguenza opened Cava in New Canaan about 10 years ago and also owns55 Degrees in Fairfield, as well as Scena in Darien.
“Between Mario Batali and the Harvest people,” Zucker said, it shows that New Haven has really arrived.
“It’s pretty exciting. We have a lot of restaurants that are interested in coming here, continuing to build on a strong reputation,” she said.
She said Yale expects to be announcing soon who will lease 1 Broadway at the corner of York Street, where Au Bon Pain was located. She said it will not be a restaurant.
By Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register