Dennis Jarman is the kind of entrepeneur New Haven is trying to attract.
After leaving the city in 1976 and making it big in the telecommunications industry, Jarman decided to “come home” to and invest his wealth in the neighborhood in which he grew up — Dixwell.
Jarman’s self-named restaurant, which specializes in southern cuisine, opened its doors to patrons June 25. It offers Epicurean delicacies such as rotisserie chicken, sweet potato cheesecake and three-cheese macaroni.
Rather than having one food specialization such as chicken or beef, Jarman said his establishment “incorporates everything in one restaurant.”
Although the majority of the business is take-out or delivery, the restaurant recently installed seating for about ten people.
After only four months, General Manager Tony Evans said business has been good.
“The response has been pretty favorable,” he said.
Jarman said he hopes Yale students will contribute to that positive response and venture into the Dixwell neighborhood.
Dixwell, which was hit hard by de-industrialization and a decline in inner-city commerce in the middle of the 20th century, is currently undergoing a revitalization with the help of the city’s government.
Craig Russell, an official in the city Economic Development Administration, said a lot of pubs and restaurants have sprung up in New Haven as a result of municipal initiatives.
In light of these investments, business prospects are looking a little brighter.
Evans said Dixwell is a better place to do business than it was five years ago.
Hugh Eastwood ’00, an employee of University Properties, said he was glad to see the effects of municipal investment and community projects, particularly the opening of Jarman’s.
“It is a great example of what happens when partners get together,” Eastwood said.
But the credit for the opening of Jarman’s should not go to city and community efforts, Eastwood said.
“The credit should go to Jarman,” he said.
Although Jarman now resides in Washington, D.C., he said he never forgot Dixwell and that he wanted to be the “boy [who] comes home and does good.”
Jarman attributed his success both to his family and the city of New Haven. He said his father inspired him to “be his own boss,” and treat customers with courtesy.
He also said he learned a lot from his hometown.
“Everything I learned, I learned in New Haven,” Jarman said.