With a new sandwich shop opening on Crown Street, the owner of another local restaurant has decided to set his place apart by doing things a little differently.
“We want to do things that only exist in places like New Haven, that only exist in New Haven. We want to be part of the city; we want to be part of the environment,” said John Ginnetti, who owns Meat and Co.
Ginnetti has worked with the city of New Haven to provide outdoor dining in an unconventional space. He's renting a parking spot outside his shop for the next 30 days and setting up tables and chairs in its place.
“John paid the average cost of parking for the average parking space in the city," said Jim Travers, Director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking in New Haven. "He'll pay that every day for every meter that's open for the time that he's here.”
It does take up a valuable parking space in an already crammed downtown, but Ginnetti said he weighed that in before setting up.
“There's parking lots next door. There's parking over there; there's parking around the corner; there's parking across the street; there's no shortage of parking," he said. "So I think it would be more beneficial to my guests to come in and be able to take advantage of a program like this.”
It's a pilot program. The city says if this goes well, this kind of outdoor dining could pop up in other spots in the downtown area come next spring. As for the people trying it out, they say so far, so good.
“It's interesting. It's lively, sometimes loud, but right on the road, so it makes sense,” said Andrew Barthel, who stopped for lunch during his visit to New Haven.