New Haven is home to the North Haven Fair, Shubert Theater, Yale University, and Box 63 American Bar & Grill, one of downtown's favorite restaurants for traditional American and southern dishes. The restaurant is considered the city's best-kept secret and features two floors, a cafe-style outdoor patio, two bars, and a dance floor with a live DJ every weekend.
"Box 63 has been in business since 2011," says bar manager Bobby. "Downtown New Haven was the perfect location because of the diversity and enjoyable atmosphere that the city provides. There is great history in the city of New Haven along with amazing colleges, hospitals, shops, and small and large businesses. We wanted to be the restaurant where all the locals wanted to come and enjoy themselves."
Cousins Carl and Tom Carbone of Carbone's Restaurant Group opened the establishment five years ago. The restaurant is named in honor of the fire call box number that was pulled in the early morning hours of April 13, 1910, when a fire destroyed the New Haven Jail and caused the deaths of six firemen. The property that houses Box 63 served as one of the city's fire stations for over a century. When the restaurant opened in April 2011, it marked the 101st anniversary of the tragedy.
Box 63 continues to pay homage to the city's police and fire departments by hosting several events that raise money for charities. An annual chili contest raises money for causes with partner companies and vendors making matching donations. The restaurant gives a portion of its proceeds to Box 22 Associates, a nonprofit organization that supplies water and Gatorade to firemen whenever there is a major fire in the greater New Haven area.
Box 63's menu delights with comfort food indicative of New England, but inspired by other parts of the U.S. as well. "Signature dishes include shrimp n' grits which is Gulf shrimp, Kalamata olives, garlic, tomato, green onion, and a sherry wine reduction over creamy Southern style grits," says Bobby. "Another fan favorite is our lobster grilled cheese: a quarter pound of fresh Maine lobster, aged Vermont cheddar cheese and scallions grilled between Texas toast served with old bay fries and a cup of mom's tomato soup."
Patrons also come for the bar's signature cocktails: the Marilyn Monroe, made with blueberries and tequila, or the Helen Keller, which features strawberries, basil, and gin, just to name a few. The restaurant can also be rented for private parties and has hosted a variety of events including birthday parties, corporate gatherings, showers, bachelor parties, and more.
The next time you're in New Haven seeing some of the attractions, be sure to leave some time in your schedule and room in your belly to check out Bar 63.