The Elm City’s food offerings diversified this summer with gourmet donuts, assembly-line pizza and a well-known New York City halal establishment.
Ah-Beetz — modeled after popular assembly-line eateries such as Tikkaway, Pitaziki and Chipotle — opened in early August at 182 Temple St., becoming the first restaurant of this kind to serve New Haven-style pizza. Nearby, The Halal Guys, whose gyros served from food carts have become a Manhattan lunch staple, will open a brick-and-mortar location on Sept. 7 at 906 Chapel St.
In mid-October, Connecticut-based Donut Crazy will open its fourth location at 209 York St. between Yorkside Pizza and Toad’s Place. It will serve coffee alongside donut concoctions such as Blueberry Butternut and Root Beer Glaze, owner Jason Wojnarowski said.
“We’re building a really cool store for downtown to serve cool donuts and cool coffee,” he said. “We came here after we saw a lot of [local] students coming down to our Shelton store. And New Haven is a really metro big city.”
As construction for Donut Crazy began on York Street, Bangkok Gardens closed in mid-August. The store, which operated for two decades at 172 York St., was one of three Thai restaurants on a one-block strip.
The previous tenant of Donut Crazy’s space’s, Flavors, was also a shop that fell to heavy competition. Last year, it became the third downtown frozen yogurt store to close in a one-year period. Though Donut Crazy is the first such shop in Broadway’s shopping district, it will share its customers with Tony’s Orangeside Donuts, which opened last year at 24 Whitney Ave., roughly four blocks away.
Ah-Beetz replaced a sushi bar while Halal Guys moved into a location once occupied by Radio Shack.
The gyro store, which has franchises around the country and abroad in South Korea and the Philippines, opted to open in New Haven because it hopes to bring its signature chicken gyro to Connecticut, managing director Jack Yeung said. Like Wojnarowski, Yeung described the Elm City as a great place to start a business.
“New Haven is the food mecca of Connecticut,” Yeung said. “The college students certainly bring a different element to the city, but so do local businesses, Yale Hospitals, major corporations and residents from New Haven and its neighboring towns.”
Also during the summer, Anchor Bar — which closed last year after decades in the Elm City when its owner could not make their payments — reopened as the Anchor Spa, preserving its iconic blue and white signage. The new locale, funded by Yale alumnus Karl Franz Williams ’97 and under new ownership, modeled itself after the original 1930s bar — even more so than the version that closed last year.
Vivi Bubble Tea and Juice Box opened on Chapel Street shortly before students departed for summer vacation.