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.