A series of recent and upcoming business openings in downtown New Haven are diversifying the food options near campus.
Since students left Yale for summer break, four new businesses have opened on the perimeter of campus, and two restaurants are set to open in the next two weeks. In the Broadway shopping district, fast-casual Mexican restaurant Salsa Fresca opened in July, while Chinese restaurant Junzi Kitchen is set to open in two weeks. On Chapel Street, Florian Atelier — an upscale seafood restaurant — opened in the early summer, and candy store Canditopia opened on Aug. 4. On the opposite side of campus, behind Silliman and Timothy Dwight Colleges, New Haven-based crepe truck Crepes Choupette will open a brick-and-mortar location at 44 Whitney Ave. on Sept. 3.
“I think it is really good to have more businesses come to the area,” said Salsa Fresca Marketing Manager Katie George. “It will draw more students and locals downtown.”
George added that Salsa Fresca has plans to draw students — from the University of New Haven and Quinnipiac, in addition to Yale — to the restaurant by ultimately launching itself as a late-night food option, joining the ranks of Yorkside Pizza and Good Nature Market just down the street. Currently, the business is open until 10 p.m., but they may eventually stay open until 3 a.m., George said. The restaurant has also run promotions, such as advertising free tacos, to introduce students to the restaurant.
The founders of Junzi Kitchen, which was created as a student-run enterprise with funding from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, are also hoping to attract students to the restaurant, which will serve Northeastern Chinese food in a Chipotle-style service line.
Yong Zhao FES ’15, a co-founder of Junzi Kitchen, said that construction delays pushed back the opening of the restaurant from last spring to this fall. Zhao said his team is planning an invitation-only trial of the menu in the next two weeks, followed by a soft opening.
He added that the restaurant is planning events with Y Pop-Up, a non-profit student-run food business.
Alex Herkert ’17, a member of Y Pop-Up, said he is excited to see the opening of an affordable dining option near campus.
“It’s always good to have more authentic Chinese options in New Haven,” Herkert said. “I hope students give it a chance because it sounds like a unique concept.”
Another unique concept that opened on the other side of campus is Canditopia, a bag-your-own candy and confectionary shop at 1022 Chapel St., a University-owned property. The store is located above Sushi on Chapel in the space formerly occupied by Peter Indorf Jewelers, which closed in December after owner Peter Indorf retired. Offerings include chocolates, jelly beans, gummy candies and lollipops, as well as nut-free and gluten-free products.
John Piazza, an employee at Canditopia, described the store’s target demographic as “anyone who likes candy” and said that the shop has seen a variety of customers, including families and athletes on Yale sports teams.
In the coming weeks, students can expect to see an elaborate grand opening event at Crepes Choupette, said the food cart’s co-owner Adil Chokairy. The cart operated on the corner of Wall and Chapel last year, and will move into a storefront next week, where they will serve not only crepes, but also coffee and raclette, a Swiss cheese-based dish.