After years working at a popular east side restaurant and bar, Michael Longley has opened his own spot—with plans to import a neighborhood feel to downtown’s periphery.
And he has enlisted his son to help him.
Longley (pictured), who’s 43, and his son Joseph, who’s 23, this month opened the Regal Beagle at the corner of State and Court streets.
Their old-school restaurant-bar succeeds the Olde School Saloon, which succeeded Roberto’s restaurant, at a spot that isn’t seen as a neighborhood but does have lots of neighbors. It sits within a block of WTNH, New Haven legal aid, the Court Street apartments, the federal courthouse, and City Hall. Longley said he hopes to draw customers from all those institutions with a contemporary American lunch and dinner menu (a build-your-own burger option is about to debut) as well as with happy-hour specials and evening events (like Cards for Humanity) and Wednesday karaoke. The restaurant/bar is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. (2 a.m. weekends).
Click on the video at the top of the story to watch a turkey wrap come together.
“I want to create a good atmosphere, a more neighborhood feel, with no egos, no drama,” Longley said. “Just come in and have fun.”
He learned the business as a bartender and restaurant in New Haven for 25 years. He worked at Sonoma and then, for 16 years, Fireside Bar and Grille in the Annex. He worked the bar at Fireside and eventually helped manage it. His son eventually joined him at Fireside, working behind the bar.
“This has been his lifelong dream he always wanted to own a place,” Joseph Longley (pictured) said of his dad, “basically what he’s been working for.”