Richter’s Reborn

Chris Randall/ I Love New Haven PhotoFresh-baked meat pies, free glasses of beer—and a new experiment in on-street parking—helped lure customers into downtown’s newest night spot for a grand opening.

The opening took place Wednesday evening at Ordinary, which is taking over the former Richter’s pub at 990 Chapel St. The new pub was created by the masterminds behind Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro—click here to read more about it.

Chris Randall/ I Love New Haven PhotoOrdinary co-owner Timothy Cabral (at left in photo above with co-owner Jason Sobocinski before a jubilant ribbon-cutting) greeted customers at the door of the historic space with a glass of beer or wine.

Melissa Bailey PhotoCarlos Perez and Daniel D’Angelo (pictured) of La Palette bakery in Watertown relaxed in the dark, wood-paneled hall after baking for the evening. Their contributions to the Ordinary menu include chocolate raspberry tart, chocolate-covered pistachios, ...

Melissa Bailey Photo... and “BIG” oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies, served with “two fingers of CT milk.”

Melissa Bailey PhotoSobocinski stood at the dutch door of the tiny kitchen handing out free meat pies, hot from the oven. The pies, baked by Sixpence Pie Co. in Southington, are locally sourced: the “Aussie” beef pie comes from Four Mile River Farm in Old Lyme; the spinach and artichoke pie uses a Cato Corner blue cheese from Colchester.

Chris Randall/ I Love New Haven PhotoThe event drew a packed crowd to the pub’s narrow front room.

Besides Caseus’s reputation in sourcing and selecting fine wine, cheese and charcuterie, Sobocinski revealed another factor luring customers in the door: free parking.

Chris Randall/ I Love New Haven PhotoIn a new experiment in downtown parking, Sobocinski (at right in photo) cut a deal with city traffic chief Jim Travers (at left) for the grand opening. Travers let Ordinary bag 41 parking meters with a special note from the bar offering free parking. Travers charged him $10 per meter for the entire day, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sobocinski said the meter bags spread goodwill and good marketing: All day, people were poking their heads into Ordinary giving him a thumbs-up for the free parking. One woman entered the bar and insisted on buying a glass of wine to thank him for the parking; she found out the wine was free.

Melissa Bailey PhotoTravers, who lingered after the ribbon-cutting to enjoy a glass of Victor Prima Pilsner, said Wednesday was the first time the city has made a special parking deal with a merchant. He said the $10-a-day price was based on the revenue the meters typically bring in on a given day.

He declared the experiment “wildly successful.” While Ordinary customers will resume paying ordinary meter fees Thursday, Travers said he is open to making special arrangements for the pub and other merchants in the future.

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posted by: Curious on May 9, 2013  11:36am

Looks good!  I wouldn’t call it “Richter’s Reborn” until I can go there and drink beer by the yards, though :)

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on May 9, 2013  12:00pm

OH!!! I can’t wait to get in there and belly up to the bar!  Now I gotta get them to provide a few vegan treats!

Oh I love a good watering hole!

posted by: woosterbill on May 9, 2013  12:20pm


I was in there after their soft opening a couple weeks ago, and was told that they do indeed plan to offer half-yards in the future, but haven’t yet found a reliable way to wash them to their liking. Hopefully soon, and hopefully they won’t cost an arm and a leg.

posted by: RCguy on May 9, 2013  12:57pm

will common folk be allowed in this establishment?

posted by: streever on May 9, 2013  3:34pm

What is that in reference to?

posted by: woosterbill on May 9, 2013  3:42pm

@ RCguy

Yes, of course they’ll be allowed; they may not be able to stay long, though, with the prices - the food in particular was more than I was willing to pay.

That said, when I went I got a 12oz glass of Gandhi-Bot for $6, which is eminently reasonable - given its high ABV, it really only cost about $3 per “drink” equivalent.

posted by: Chip on May 9, 2013  8:07pm

Congrats! Need more creative entrepreneurs like these folks and more creative downtown parking concepts. Keep on!!!

posted by: getyourfactstraight on May 9, 2013  9:57pm

What a good job you are doing Jim Travers. But ofcourse you are… long as I have known you and that is well before you became a city employee you were always a good leader in the neighborhood and you always would think outside of the box! One hard working director!

posted by: HhE on May 9, 2013  11:26pm

I could see riding my bike there (put a drink in me, and there is no way I am driving), and having a go at a meat pie and a pint.

posted by: SaveOurCity on May 10, 2013  12:40pm

@RCguy:  Absolutely no common folk will be allowed.  I believe they plan to put a guy at the door to test each entrants commonality…..

....seriously, why waste space with such an absurd question?  Are you alleging high prices?  My wife and I went a week ago and had 1 beer, 1 glass of wine (each high end) and a meat pie.  Our bill was under $20.

posted by: RCguy on May 12, 2013  11:57pm

SaveOurCity, Streever,

I am alleging a culture of exclusion by a number of young, educated, financially wealthy New Haveners.

One way they exclude the common man is by setting the local-sourced meat prices too high. They also have the right education- knowing that better quality ingredients equals better health. Not everyone knows this.

Another way they exclude common people is by buying out a easily corrupted city government department with 1,640 quarters.

posted by: RCguy on May 13, 2013  11:45am

Have you ever been to Caseus?

posted by: HhE on May 13, 2013  12:19pm

RCguy, I find your argument to be absurd. 

If a local business wishes to rent parking spaces from the city at a rate of the average daily intake, that is not corruption, that is good business for city and business owner alike.  The city gets its money, and a new business gets a means to drum up business. 

The well educated of New Haven are hardly trying to keep the information for good health away from the under classes.  Rather the opposite.

The costs of meat is driven by market forces, not a conspiracy.  As a rule, a vendor who can sell as many widgets at a higher price than the current one, will raise prices. 

Yes I have been to Caseus, once.  They seam to be doing well, but had no Welch cheese, so I felt no need to return.

posted by: streever on May 13, 2013  9:04pm

I am neither well-educated, nor wealthy: I have been homeless and barely passed high school and was unable to attend further schooling. I’ve been to the Ordinary and enjoyed it.

Turns out that grass fed cow costs real money, because it isn’t fed by government subsidized corn—how is that for a welfare program? YEA TEA PARTY!!!!!! Cut the fat in government spending, end corn and soy subsidies!

posted by: HhE on May 13, 2013  10:30pm

I have an idea, streever.  After we find out if Thai food will or will not make one sick.  Let’s go here for a beer.  (I will then dime streever out as a common person, and not one of us.)

posted by: RCguy on May 18, 2013  5:21pm

I like that, Streever. You’re right.

By the way, you seem to have “made something” of yourself despite
your lack of privilege!

Granted there’s always the white privilege,  but I’ll lay off for now.

I’ll check out Ordinary someday… but I better be able to pronounce the cheeses and afford the burgers!