Rudy’s Bar and Grill, the popular 76-year-old watering hole that left its spot on Elm Street this summer, will move to its new location on the corner of Chapel and Howe streets by October, its owner said.
The bar will take over the space formerly occupied by the Indian-vegetarian restaurant Ahimsa, the adjacent juice bar and part of the Chapel West office on Chapel Street. The location will be larger than Rudy’s Elm Street spot and have three rooms, outdoor seating and two bars, with one room specifically designated for live entertainment, said Emily Robichaud, a bartender at Rudy’s, in July. The owner, Omer Ipek, told the New Haven Independent in June that he aims to bring the feel of the original Rudy’s to Chapel Street.
Robichaud added that the staff will move as much of the memorabilia as possible to the new space and have already begun removing some of it from the walls. She said it will not be possible to fit all of the decorations in the new location, but that the Rudy’s staff intends to transport the most iconic items, including a photo of Yale’s mascot, the bulldog, which is currently being restored.
Ipek added that the move comes in response to repeated requests over the past year by Hang Seng Inc., the company from which Ipek rents the Rudy’s building, for his establishment to leave. Hang Seng Inc. also owns the next-door Chinese take-out restaurant Main Garden.
“Business is steady at Rudy’s,” Ipek told the Independent. “Main Garden wants to expand — that’s the only reason [for Rudy’s relocation].”
Robichaud said that as Rudy’s lease approached expiration, Hang Seng was not willing to offer the restaurant favorable renewal terms. She added that the bar’s management did not want to leave the current location because of its proximity to Yale students in the downtown area.
“Leaving will change the feel of the area because Rudy’s made this corner a destination,” she said.
Employees interviewed at Main Garden in July said they had “no idea” what HangSeng Inc. intended to do with the Rudy’s property given that there were “too many options” to discuss.
The president of Hang Seng Inc., Teun Pang Chan, speaking through a translator, said Hang Seng is in negotiations with a small group of people and companies interested in Rudy’s current location. Chan said the Hang Sent management is unable to comment further because of the ongoing negotiations.
Ipek, who owns two Belgian restaurants in Manhattan, also told the Independent the new bar will have more traditional Belgian food and beer options on its menu.