Where you can enjoy a meal and a drink in Hamden


Olivia Schueller, General Member

College life looks different for students across the country as many local bars are closed due to COVID-19. Students aren’t the only ones feeling the loss of weekend nights, bar, and restaurant owners are too.

“We’re happy to have you all back, hopefully, to stay,” Scott Scalabrino, Manager of Eli’s on Whitney (Eli’s), said. 

On June 17, Connecticut entered Phase 2 of their reopening plan. Phase 2 allows for indoor dining but with fewer people inside.

“An establishment’s Phase 2 maximum indoor capacity is 50% of its regular indoor seating capacity,” according to CT.GOV guidelines. “Outdoor dining is still encouraged as long as the restaurant does not exceed its regular operating capacity and physical distancing can be maintained.”

Outdoor seating is being offered at Aunt Chilada’s (Aunchies), Eli’s, Roberto’s (Dicks), and Side Street. Four establishments known to Quinnipiac students for drinking and dining. 

There are no plans to end outdoor dining anytime soon at Aunt Chilada’s and Eli’s. 

“We’re going to get heaters, we’re going to get a tent,” Charlie Hague said. “Hoping to go until October, but you never know with weather.” Scalabrino said that Eli’s outdoor seating will continue as long as possible. 

As Connecticut nears Phase 3, Hague is looking at alternative ways to get students back together in a large group safely. He plans on talking to Quinnipiac at the end of September.

“A lot keeps changing, we’re hoping to get 50 to 100 people outside,” Hague said. “We can do something in the parking lot, in a closed tent, and still have the sides open.” 

This will stay organized by reservations. This way Hague will be aware of everyone who’s coming. 

Indoor dining is following strict guidelines to keep Quinnipiac students safe. 

“We have six feet spacing in between tables, obviously mask usage, you have to wear a mask when you walk in the door,” Scalabrino said. 

At Eli’s, the staff is being temperature checked as they walk in the door. Sanitizing stations can also be found all around the restaurant. There are posters on the windows with guidelines and rules to follow.

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, there is a limit to how many people are allowed to sit at a table. 

“About 10 is pretty much the maximum that we will allow,” Scalabrino said. 

At Roberto’s, the owner allows a max of four people per table. He is checking everyone’s temperature as they arrive at the bar. Everyone must be wearing a mask. 

 To students, Roberto’s is known as a bar, but Loera said that the establishment holds both a bar and a restaurant license. This allows Roberto’s to be open. The drinking hotspot is now offering pizza.

Loera said he’s made changes to his bar in order to remain safe and follow statewide regulations.  

“We installed a plexiglass barrier through the bar area and hostess station,” Loera said.

“Being able to have a drink with friends is worth it,” 21-year-old, Quinnipiac senior, Will Chevie, said.  

Restaurant owners said Quinnipiac students have been acting appropriately given the rule changes.

“I think everyone wants to keep this going on, so I think everyone will help do their part,” 21-year-old, Quinnipiac senior, Glenn Adams, said.

It hasn’t been easy for Hamden restaurant and bar owners since the pandemic shut down businesses in March. Establishments like Eli’s, Aunt Chilada’s, Side Street, and Roberto’s count on the business of Quinnipiac students and their families.

“They’re about 20% of our business,” Hague said. 

Connecticut bars and restaurants closed on March 16. The state went into Phase 1 on May 20, and now, the state is in Phase 2. Governor Ned Lamont has not said when Phase 3 will begin. 

Phase 3 will include the opening of bars. According to CT.Gov, Phase 3 will allow 25-person gatherings inside and 100 people outside. Governor  Ned Lamont postponed Phase 3 in July. It was originally planned to begin on July 20.

Stick with Q30 News as more news develops on the re-opening of Connecticut.