Tavern on State - Emily Mingrone
1. What is you background in your chosen business and when did you know that you wanted to open up shop for yourself?
My dad is a chef so I grew up eating well and watching him cook delicious stuff. I worked for our family business in high school, decided that I wanted to be a “real” grown up and went for a couple corporate gigs (not food related) before I realized my soul belongs in the kitchen. So I enrolled in a local culinary program and worked my ass off at some of the best restaurants around here to learn as much as I could with the ultimate goal of having my own place. I bounced around for a few years but I’ve always known I wanted my own place, but it's all about timing. When things just fall into place that’s how you know it’s right.
2. Why was New Haven your choice? How has the clientele and city treated you thus far?
New Haven is my home! I grew up in Hamden and would hang out in NHV as a teen, and then in my early adult life I had a few different apartments over a span of 10 years or so. I moved down to Fairfield County for work but I always missed New Haven. I came up frequently to eat and visit friends etc, but I never anticipated opening up shop here. I figured I would stay in southern CT where I had built my reputation as a chef for 5 years. I had looked at a bunch of spaces but nothing felt right. But when I saw 969 State Street was available, my gut told me this was the right place. As soon as I walked in I knew. The wood paneling, exposed brick, dim lighting. It was Tavern! Pretty cool that it was the old C.O Jones too. I used to hang out there all the time!
The community has been so welcoming and supportive. East Rock is such a gem and we are grateful and honored to be a part of it.
3. Why do you think it’s important to remain open during this tough time and support the community?
It’s important because as a neighborhood restaurant in such a close knit community, we have to be here for each other - us for them and them for us. Our main mission at Tavern was to be a community meeting place. Where people can feel comfortable, eat good food and have good drinks in good company. It’s healing. It’s our duty to still be that place, even in changing times. Food makes people happy, and who couldn’t use a little cheer right now? And making people happy makes us happy. It’s a full circle.
4. What is a recommendation from your menu you’d give to people who aren’t familiar with your establishment and want to try it out? What menu item would you pair it with? (Coffee, cocktail, wine, beer etc)
Well, given our abridged menu at the moment I’d have to say try one of our burgers! They travel well and are delicious with one of our growlers to go. Shane has been curating weekly cocktail kits too, our most popular being our Concrete Tiger.
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Photography by: Lisa Tedesco