Elm Street bar opens anew

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Photo by Sara Mi.

Yale students returning to campus can add another bar to their late night repertoire.

Two former Rudy’s patrons have opened up a new bar called Three Sheets at 372 Elm St., the former home of Rudy’s Restaurant and Bar. In 2010, the Chan Family, which owns the property at 372 Elm St., forced Rudy’s to relocate after 76 years in business for unknown reasons that were not financial, according to an article in the New Haven Independent in 2010. This past fall, the property, which had a three-year stint as the Elm Bar, was put on the market again, sparking the interest of two local fishermen: Rick Seiden and Ed Thurschmann. The longtime friends were searching for another fishing boat when they found the listing on a brokerage site.

The two bought the business and signed a 10-year lease to rent the space, completing the move into the property just before Christmas. The bar’s name originates from the sailor’s phrase “three sheets to the wind,” which means “drunk.”

“We want customers to feel they know exactly where they are when they walk in that front door,” Seiden said. “We want this to be a place where you can feel comfortable sitting at the bar and getting rowdy with people or sitting in the back, writing a book.”

Seiden and Thurschmann, who used to frequent the old Rudy’s, said New Haven residents were worried about potential changes to the place during the management shift. The duo does not want to change the “working-class, dive-bar feel,” adding they would like to marry the atmosphere of the original Rudy’s with bar-style food. Seiden added that he plans to expand the restaurant’s menu to include clams, oysters, and other shellfish selections his fishing company catches.

The new owners hope to make the place more available to the New Haven arts community, including local musicians.

“No one group can really call it their own,” Seiden said. “I think it’s the most eclectic group of people you can find in New Haven.”

In opening the new bar, Seiden said he sees an opportunity to bring back a neighborhood gathering spot. He said Three Sheets is evolving every day, and hopes that when Yale alumni return to New Haven, they recognize the location as as a place they used to spend Friday and Saturday nights decades ago.

Andrew Cole, Three Sheets’ chef who met Seiden on Craigslist and was also a fisherman, said he hopes to make the restaurant into a high-end dive bar with quality food. Previously, Cole owned a food truck in the New Haven and Branford area and has worked in New Orleans and Aspen.

“It’s cool, because we have the freedom to do a lot here,” he said. “I like to mix it up — there’s New Orleans food but then also the Thai Asian skewers and vegan chili.”

Cole believes Yalies and other college students in the area could be attracted to the place because of these “funky” menu options, including braised cow’s head. He added that all food served is of local origin, and that the business plans to make most of the ingredients in-house, including smoked tomato ketchup.

Though Cole believes the restaurant will be appealing to Yalies, none of the six Yalies interviewed had been to the Elm Bar.

Natalina Lopez ’16, who lived across the street from 372 Elm St. this past summer, said that the old Elm Bar did not seem like was not a place where a lot of Yale students would go.

“It seemed like the bar’s crowd was mostly adults from New Haven residents and maybe a few graduate students,” she said.

Rudy’s was founded in 1934.

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