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Fill The Spot: 119 Broad Street

Hearsay Bar & Grille closed on Sunday

It's never good when you find out over the course of three days that two New London restaurants have closed.

One, The Pub, at least promises new life. A note in the window says the Bank Street restaurant is officially closed, but that several of its signature dishes (including the fried pickles) have moved to Hot Rod Cafe as owner Rod Cornish consolidates things there. The note also promises that a new restaurant will be renting the building soon.

The future is more uncertain for 119 Broad Street, where Hearsay Bar & Grille had its final day on Sunday.

The address has been a popular one for restaurants. Penella's Restaurant, named for owner Ralph E. Penella, was one of the most successful and lasted for over 20 years. A replacement, The Docket, sought to capitalize on the nearby G.A. 10 Court and legal offices but lasted for only two years, closing in 1978. At that time, there was speculation that it was curtains for restaurants at the site and that the building would be converted into legal offices. But soon a new eatery, Harpo's, had moved in. This too closed after a few years following financial troubles and a suspension of the restaurant's liquor license.

Harpo's was followed by the Sundowner Restaurant & Lounge, then by Louie's Bar & Grille. I first heard of Hearsay Bar & Grille following a Democratic Town Committee meeting almost exactly a year ago, when Mayor Daryl Finizio told attendees about the new place across the street and encouraged them to visit. Hearsay kept some aspects of Louie's, including a much loved lobster bisque, but also sought to create a unique menu of its own.

The restaurant posted its special New Year's Eve menu on its Facebook page, but just four days later the owners thanked the people who had helped with the restaurant and announced that they would be closing on Jan. 6. "We are forever grateful to the many loyal customers, talented entertainers, and loving friends and family who supported us throughout this venture," the post says.

Though I can't count myself as a regular, the building isn't too far from me and it was a good spot to get dinner if I felt like going out. Early in my time as a New London resident, I went to the then-Louie's to check out the Super Bowl. I've never gone past the restaurant when it hasn't had some people seated at a window table, and it was especially disconcerting to drive past at dinnertime and see it darkened and lifeless.

The building is located across the street from the G.A. 10 Court and Martin Center in a mixed-use neighborhood a few blocks from downtown. Would you like to see a new restaurant move in or would you prefer to see the building put to a different use? Let us know in the comments.

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Tom Santos January 12, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Wow, who saw that coming? The New London Lions Club started meeting there when it was Louie's, great food. Hearsay carried over a lot of the meals from Louie's such as the Lobster Bisque (actually had chunks of lobster in it) and Huey's garlic salad (great if you didn't have to be near anyone for a couple of days. We moved to Goldy's a couple of months ago. I hate to see any stores fail, for whatever reason. I remember the days of the Sundowner's when I played DJ and had several large parties there. Sundowner's was always busy. I hope someone opens another restaurant there soon. New London needs these small town eateries "where everyone knows your name".
Clark van der Lyke January 12, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Never got to go there. I remember Penellas which I recall started out as a bakery. They did a good business when WMI housed the three buildings across the street. It's a busy location, but never seems to click on the long haul. Next owner needs to pay for a marketing study to see what the problem is. Parking is not great and you can't rely on lawyers to support the business even if you named the next restaurant "Constructive Notice","Judges Chambers" or "Discovery Room."
Ken January 12, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Was Rialto's Pizzeria also an occupant of that spot or was it located next door?
Tina Salcedo January 12, 2013 at 02:03 PM
You forgot to mention the very sad news of Little Sisters closing.
lorain Ohio simister January 12, 2013 at 04:23 PM
And our loss of the TseTse Gallery.
Emmy January 12, 2013 at 10:37 PM
I visited Hearsay about 7 times in the past few months when visiting CT. Loved the Lobster Bisque, with large chunks of lobster and very creamy tasting bisque. Will miss it on my next visit. All of the waitstaff was friendly and made you feel welcome. Sorry that it had to close.
parent January 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM
New London continues to relentlessly raise taxes, presenting hardship on property owners and tenants. The City takes and takes from the businesses and residents, yet has nothing to give back in terms of financial assistance, streetscape beautification, security, or anything for that matter. They sppend money that is not theirs, not recognizing that they are spending taxpayers money and that it the taxpayers who pay their salary.
Jim January 13, 2013 at 12:49 AM
RELOCATE
Clark van der Lyke January 13, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Jim I disagree that relocation is the answer. It has always been hard to keep a business going anywhere. There are also locations in every town that anyone who lives there will know have not been viable locations, but someone will come along and take the chance. Some win, some lose. That's America, where we always relentlessly raise the taxes. I can't remember the last time taxes went down in the long run. By the way, we are all taxpayers.
Fake Mr. Fuji January 13, 2013 at 08:25 AM
New London can use a nice sit down Chinese restaurant.
robert mcclung January 14, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Bulldoze the building. It's a lousy spot for that type of restaurant. Always has been.

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