Mayor Toni Harp presided over the grand opening of two new restaurants — International Tastebuds and Patty’s Caribbean Cuisine — in New Haven’s Hill neighborhood Tuesday morning.
Across the street from John C. Daniels School, Harp joined elementary school students, community leaders and representatives from the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce to welcome these new additions to New Haven’s restaurant scene.
“I am so excited about all of this because I’ve been hearing about some of the delicacies that we can find here,” Harp said at the event. “I expect each of us to develop a hearty appetite along with me, and thank goodness for these two new additions to New Haven’s extraordinary roster of foodie destinations.”
The Hill neighborhood of New Haven is often characterized as an impoverished section of the city with a high crime rate in the shadow of Yale-New Haven hospital. The restaurants represent a community-wide effort to change that perception and develop a commercial corridor on Congress Avenue.
Ward 3 Alder Ron Hurt, who was also at the event, told the News that he is excited for the additions to the Hill neighborhood, which is full of community pride and diversity.
“This lets you know that the Hill has diversity. We all learn to live together, love together and be together,” Hurt said at the event. “There’s no place like the Hill.”
Marcia Kemp, the chef behind International Tastebuds, told the News that she has loved cooking since she was a child. After a long career in the health care industry, she feels ready to take a chance and pursue her passion by opening International Tastebuds, she said.
Kemp said that there is no other restaurant in the state that can claim to serve Guyanese cuisine, noting that she believes her restaurant will bring about economic development in the Hill.
“When people think of The Hill, they think of high crime rates and things of that nature,” Kemp said. “I would like to change that. I had the opportunity to go elsewhere, but I wanted to stay in my community, to uplift and build this community.”
At the event, the owners of Patty’s Caribbean Kitchen, who hail from Dominica and Trinidad, said they hope to present the cuisine and hospitality of the Caribbean in The Hill.
Patricia Deroche, co-owner of Patty’s Caribbean Cuisine, told the News that her passion for cooking translates to how she wants customers to feel while eating at her restaurant. She hopes they feel cared for and keep coming back.
At the event, Harp also applauded the restaurants’ joint participation in the city’s leasehold improvement program.
“This homegrown economic development initiative strengthens local communities through a combination of redevelopment and rehabilitation,” she said. “It is intended to support for-profit small businesses.”
Dawn Poindexter-Johnson, Kemp’s business partner, explained that the public-private partnership helped connect her business to resources for interior improvement. She plans to work with the Livable City Initiative, a city-based housing agency, to renovate the outside of the building.
The leasehold improvement program has been supporting New Haven businesses for about a year, according to Livable City Initiative Project Manager Jeffrey Moreno. The program uses reimbursement grants to compensate business owners up to 50 percent of the cost of their expenses. For each business, there is up to $10,000 of funding available.
Patty’s and International Tastebuds are both accessible on UberEats.
John Besche | email@example.com .