The vibrant mix of State Street restaurants has now expanded to include a new farm-to-table venture: Oak Haven Table & Bar. Owners Albert Greenwood and Craig Hotchkiss opened a gastropub in the snug space that was once Dolce, then Press.
The young men, who grew up together in West Haven, have already put in years in hospitality and restaurants. Staying local, Albert graduated from the University of New Haven in restaurant management; Craig went to Quinnipiac University for entrepreneurship. After college, Albert went to Mohegan Sun as a high-rollers butler, Craig went on to work in the mortgage world. When the 2008-9 recession took a big bite out of both gambling and banking, the two moved to Miami to start a personal concierge company, essentially what Albert had done at Mohegan Sun. They contracted out their food and beverage services, as well as housekeeping, travel and planning. At the same time they both took jobs in restaurants: Craig as a sommelier at the Versace Mansion, Albert ran a beverage program for Michael’s Genuine.
Going into business together worked well, and armed with what they learned in Miami, the pair scouted locations in New Haven. Oak Haven Table & Bar opened this year with a farm-to-table approach, offering American tapas in small, medium and large servings. They loved the State Street location, discovering that professors, hospital employees, and residents of East Rock and Westville visit most often.
“It’s all about sourcing for us,” Albert says. “We get the freshest ingredients. We’re an ‘as-ready’ restaurant. We don’t have any [food] heating elements. The minute that a dish is finished cooking, it hits the table. We gather and source as much as we can from New England.” They print their menus daily since what’s fresh constantly changes.
Their chef, Meg Fama, grew up in Shelton and first learned cooking from her Italian grandmother and everything was homemade. In her early 20′s Fama’s passion for cooking blossomed. Fama did a stint at Common Ground High School in New Haven, where the garden is an integral part of the food service. She worked in restaurants in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, but “what drew me to [Oak Haven] was the farm-to-table concept.” She stays on top of all the fresh ingredients New Haven has to offer by shopping at the city’s three farmer’s markets.
Sunday brunch is already popular, a meal Fama loves to cook. In the future they hope to expand that to Saturday brunch as well. They’re also trying themed meals: next up is a bourbon dinner.
Restaurant Website: http://oakhaventableandbar.com/
• The Detes: 932 State St., New Haven. 203-996-1842. Open seven days. Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
• Price Range: Snacks $5-7.50, small plates $7-9, medium plates $10-17, large plates $16-29.
• Style of Food: American tapas, gastropub style.
• Favorite dishes: Pork belly, yellowfin tuna, roulon duck, diver scallops.
• Drinks: full bar
• Vegetarian: yes
• Outdoor seating: yes
• Events/parites: yes