On Friday evening, Noodles On9 hosted the grand opening of City-Wide Open Studios for Artspace, a four-week visual-arts festival that will feature over 350 artists.
Eight local restaurants, including Pho and Spice, 116 Crown and Kumo Sushi Hibachi and Lounge, sold noodles at the public festival, which was held at the Ninth Square neighborhood on Orange Street. The diversity of the noodle dishes and cuisines, ranging from western Italian to Vietnamese and Chinese, was designed to bring together tastes from around the world and let the community know about various local restaurants, said Thippawan Waichonccharoen, who works at Pho and Spice on Orange Street.
“This festival will bring new customers and help our business,” she said.
Other restaurants there included Fornarelli’s Ristorante, Royal Palace, Duc’s Place, C’viche 181 and K2 New Haven. Select wine and beer pairings were also available for purchase for those over 21.
As she dished out a huge helping of pad thai, Waichonccharoen added that she believes the noodle festival was good for her restaurant and the other noodle caterers. The event will publicize a wide range of cuisines near Ninth Square, hopefully boosting the popularity of the neighborhood, she said.
Pho and Spice also located its noodle stall adjacent to the restaurant itself in an attempt to garner new customers.
Along with helping local restaurants, the event also publicized Elm City art.
Reynolds Fine Art on Orange Street remained open after its usual closing hours, exhibiting the paintings of Carole Bolsey, a land and waterscape painter, whose work displayed Friday night in the window front’s spotlight included one of two boats sitting on water. Behind that piece were other works by Bolsey, who will continue to exhibit until Oct. 29.
The huge brushstrokes in Bolsey’s paintings paralleled the sweeping crescendos of the music outside, and the vibrancy of her works mirrored the joyous atmosphere, Ruhi Manek ’20 said.
As the sun set, DJ David Chambers serenaded the audience with lively tunes. New Haven community members gathered, sitting or standing wherever they could with their bowls of noodles.
Makena Ithau ’20 said the event exposed her to a neighborhood that she otherwise wouldn’t have known about, she said. As she sampled a bowl of Duc’s Place’s bánh mì, a Vietnamese dish, Ithau added that the evening was a shared experience, as the city came together to appreciate great food, music and company.
“Now I have an entire list of Orange Street restaurants and cafes to add to my foodie bucket list,” she said. “Seeing the closeness and diversity of the New Haven community has made me feel much more at home in an otherwise foreign and new environment. I was surprised by how friendly and welcoming everyone was.”
As darkness set over the horizon and street lamps began to flicker on, the evening started to wind down. Sounds of laughter filtered through the music as noodle bowls and wine glasses were discarded and conversations grew more intimate.
“This noodle festival means we’re lively,” said Deborah Oswalt, a member of the New Haven community. “We’re a very diverse community who comes together to eat, look at wonderful art and listen to incredible music.”
For Oswalt, the variety of dishes offered reflected the Elm City’s vibrancy.
“The diversity of the noodles, with Italian rigatoni, pad thai, Singaporean stir-fry, Chinese lo mein, is a metaphor for the diversity of the community,” she said.