Puritan Pastor Becomes A Cocktail

If he could time-travel, New Haven founding pastor John Davenport might enjoy some 1608 scotch, with a splash of blackberry juice and topped by a local blueberry.

That new drink—named after the good pastor—is one of the ways that John Davenport’s at the Top of the Park at the Omni Hotel will mark two occasions this week: New Haven Restaurant Week, which runs Monday through Friday. And New Haven’s 375th birthday.

This is the city’s tenth annual edition of Restaurant Week, which brings lots of commerce to town, a development that would have pleased Davenport and company.

You can park your horses during Restaurant Week for, yes, $3.75 (as in New Haven’s birthday, with a decimal point thrown in), as long as you do so between 4 p.m. and midnight and you choose the Temple Street or Crown Street garages.

The cocktail’s creator and hotel’s food and beverage director, Wayne Kirsten (pictured), said if history repeats itself, Restaurant Week will result in a doubling of the usual number of eaters at the 19th-floor eatery atop the hotel.

As the only eatery atop a hotel and one of a handful in town within a hotel, the restaurant normally counts on its sleep-in guests for lunch and dinner for half its customers, while the other half come from the city and Greater New Haven area.

It hopes to bump up the number of non-sleep-in diners with prix fixe meals and other special deals during Restaurant Week.

Allan Appel PhotoDiners find other ways John Davenport is coming alive. In addition to the Davenport cocktail, Kirsten has created a clambake dish (pictured) in honor of the 375th. It features lobster, mussels, corn on the cob, fingerling potatoes, and some chorizo.

Kirsten and his team hadn’t researched the Puritan diet, but he said, “when you land off a ship at the Quinnipiac River [and the harbor], I’m sure he ate one of those things.”

As you peer over the fabulous vista of the Green during happy hour and ponder whether you will be saved by your works or by grace, you perhaps will need a glass of wine or beer for rumination. Each glass will be available for $3.75 (get it? still the 375th birthday them), provided you come during the 4:30 to 6 p.m. happy hour.

Puritans happy? By all means.

Yet how may one repent at John Davenport’s at the Top of the Park during Restaurant Week?

Kirsten pondered and replied: “You repent by going to the front desk and getting a room and enjoying life [at the Omni] like a good British inn.”

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