House of Naan — the Elm City’s first Indian craft-cocktail bar and cafe concept — opens Oct. 3, offering spiced cocktails and chicken tandoori tapas.
The new eatery, located at 65 Howe St. behind Rudy’s, will feature craft cocktails with Indian-inspired twists as well as small servings of traditional fare served in most Indian restaurants, such as lamb burgers and chicken tandoori sandwiches, said owner Harry Singh, whose family owns the Sitar Restaurant at the corner of Orange and Grove streets. After the success of many recently opened craft-cocktail bars in New Haven — including Elm City Social, Ordinary and 116 Crown — Singh chose to follow suit, while still serving the traditional Indian fare he grew up learning to cook.
“We saw the trend that was going on and that inspired us,” Singh said. “And then we thought that there was no Indian restaurant that did this and Indian food is also growing.”
Though House of Naan will be the first Indian establishment to specialize in craft cocktails alongside food, other Indian restaurants such as Tandoori and Zaroka also feature full bar services.
Singh will soft-launch his new bar on Oct. 3 before a grand opening celebration on Oct. 14.
He added that he chose a brick-and-mortar store close to campus to encourage Yale students to go to his establishment. But New Haven has also become a cocktail bar destination for people in neighboring towns such as Millford, Orange, Branford and Wallingford.
In the years before Singh, several other Elm City entrepreneurs capitalized on the city’s growing status as a food and bar destination for southern Connecticut. These decisions have partly been driven by the rising number of young professionals in the city and the low cost of renting business spaces, said Chris Nicotra, who has been an investor in New Haven for over a decade.
For the five students interviewed, House of Naan — which replaces India Palace Restaurant, which closed last year — offers a welcome addition of a popular cuisine to several pre-existing options.
Payal Modi ’17 said she plans to try out the new locale and is excited to see its new concept, though New Haven already provides several good Indian options such as Thali on Orange Street or Thali Too behind the bookstore.
“I love the Indian restaurants around campus, though I haven’t had Indian tapas before,” she said.
Naan is made from flour, water, yeast, fat, yogurt and milk.