An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Oct 23, 2013
07:44 AMThe Connecticut Table
A New Farm-to-Table Venture in New Haven: Oak Haven Table & Bar
Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
The Berkshire pork belly medium plate: beer-braised and lacquered pork belly over bitter greens, house vinaigrette and a crispy poached egg in panko.
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.