Places I Can’t Believe Are Still Open

If you haven’t heard, Thali is closing its doors after 11 years in New Haven. They will keep Thali Too (the veggie version) and Oaxaca Kitchen open, but according to a press release from the owner, there are “so many restaurants and just not enough people.”

New Haven has an ultra competitive environment. Restaurants open and close within six weeks. Stores do the same. Heck, even Family Dollar was driven out by Dollar Store on Chapel Street. In the Great Dollar Store Wars, there are no winners. (Well, except Dollar Tree.)

Conversely, there are places that, beyond all logic and reason, remain open.

Today, I pay homage to those places.


CandiTopia has been open for a little longer than two years, which is about two years longer than I expected it to last.

A candy store? Featuring nostalgia-driven candy from olden times? On Chapel Street? Next to a bunch of weird galleries?

Candy cigarettes
Finally, some cool candy for us cool kids.

I walk by nearly every day. Sometimes, I even see a customer in there. Just one, though.

I don’t know how the Abba-Zaba industry is going, but my instinct says, “Not great.”

Sports Haven

Hey, you know what’s a great concept for a bar? Let’s build an Off-Track Betting facility in a giant concrete cylinder so these poor bastards can’t see the sun. We’ll put it next to the refineries and office towers near Long Wharf.

Oh, sure, horse racing is kind of cruel, but what if we had dog racing? That would really kick things up a notch.

Sports Haven
If you listen closely, you can almost hear the gentle crying.

Roly Poly Sandwiches

In all fairness, anybody who opens up under the brutalist concrete behemoth that is the Temple Street Parking Garage is going to have an uphill battle.

But calling your sandwich shop “Roly Poly Sandwiches” is just jamming the difficulty up to 11. What, was “You’re Gonna Gain 4 Lbs.” taken?

Roly Poly
Yep. That’s it.

Hey, at least there’s an outdoor seating area. It’s the perfect spot to see people unable to find parking on George Street.

Delmonico Hatter

How many hats, on average, would you say you purchase a month? Six? Seven?

Enough to warrant a deciated hattery? Cause I know a place where your dreams can come true. Where very hat-related fantasy you have can be fulfilled.

Delmonico Hatter
Well, I’m convinced.

Update: It turns out, as many of you have pointed out to me, that Delmonico actually does incredibly business online and mostly keeps the store open for stock/historical purposes.

So we’re all learning something new, aren’t we.

Seoul Korean Restaurant

Apparently, Seoul (get it?) has been open since 1999. That’s right, it’s 18 years old. It can vote. It can go die in the Army. It can’t drink, except maybe at Box 63 (heh).

This place is a trip. They have solid, but expensive Korean food. But if you didn’t read my Most Underrated, you don’t know that a guy who works there (maybe the owner?) goes and stands in the corner/recording studio and plays along on his guitar with some piped in music.

It. Is. Fantastic.

Seoul Restaurant
Back in that corner is where the magic happens (sorry for the blurry pic).

That being said, I know one person who eats there regularly. That’s it.

Yet 18 years later, I suspect SOMEone is going there. And kudos to you people, for helping this Korean restaurant become an adult.


Yeah, I know it just opened.

But how many of you really think it’s going to succeed where Playwright, Wicked Wolf, and Russian Lady failed?


Vanity Bar
Ohhhh I get it.

But seriously I do hope it succeeds, cause it’s a huge spot and it being empty helps nobody.

Bull & Swine

I remember being excited about a BBQ place opening in East Rock.

And I remember being disappointed by people saying it wasn’t very good (their words, not mine).

Bull and Swine food
Is… is that food.. ?

And I remember seeing the video of a woman dropping trow, slapping her ass, and quitting there. (It’s… definitely something.)

Update: It turns out this wasn’t an employee but a mentally unhealthy woman having a bit of an episode, so now I feel bad making fun of her. So I removed the link.


Edible Arrangements

What can I say that this fantastic Onion article hasn’t already said?

Continued Existence Of Edible Arrangements Disproves Central Tenets Of Capitalism

Diesel Lounge

“So where do you wanna go tonight?”
“Hmmm, how about Diesel Lounge?”
“What the fuck, man.”

It sounds like exactly the kind of place I can’t imagine I’d ever want to go. It has the word “Diesel.” It has the word “Lounge.” It has them together.

Ed Hardy guy
What I can only assume their customers look like.

I want to sit here and tell you that I’ve never been there, that I’d never end up in an establishment like that, that I’ve never been dragged there by Dallas for karaoke as he proceeded try to set me up with these 22 year olds as I calmly explained why that wasn’t really my thing.

I want to. But I wouldn’t lie to you, Dear Reader.

So, uh, let’s move on.

The Juice Box

You can’t beat the location across from the Yale Art Gallery. But can you beat the concept of super expensive smoothies that take all the joy of enjoying distinct flavors and textures and jamming them into a blender?

I’d say… yes.


I assume by the time I post this, Dashi will be closed, as the Curse of State and Bradley Street continues. No exceptions. Sorry, Dashi. I’m sure you’re lovely.

(Though you have legit like NO vegetarian options.)

The curse continues!

Wall Street Pizza & Restaurant

It turns out you can stay open selling middling pizza in a great pizza city as long as you’re basically on Yale’s campus and sell cheap beer.

Adolf Viennese Couturier-Furs

You want a suit? Sorry, sir we don’t sell those. A jacket? Absolutely not. Hats? You want the hatter down the street, sir.

Furs? Oh yes. We’ve got you covered.

Red Fox Fur Coat
“How many foxes would you like us to kill, ma’am?”
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The only thing less en vougue than fur is the name “Adolf.” Yet this place has been open since at least 2009. And not a single Yelp review.

Your guess is as good as mine.

Is it a front for some kind of illegal gambling ring? Meth factory? No idea.

But it may outlast us all.

RIP Ah-Beetz

If you haven’t heard, it looks like Ah-Beetz is closed. Which doesn’t seem super surprising.

But they did beat the over-under on how long it would take.


I’m not a lawyer, but that sounds… plausible. And if you can’t trust people who type in all caps, who can you trust?

A Brief Note

If you love these businesses, tell me I’m missing out! I absolutely believe in supporting local businesses and I hope they all success wonderfully, even if they aren’t for me.

Coming Soon!

Between Two Rocks will be selling t-shirts in the very near future! I’m working on suppliers and designs, but once we’re ready to go, you’ll be able to proudly support Between Two Rocks with your very own t-shirt!

I also know I promised people a podcast and then failed to deliver. My “Podcast Guy” fell through, so I’m working on getting some equipment in the not too distant future, so keep your ears peeled. (And no that’s not the exciting news).


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21 thoughts on “Places I Can’t Believe Are Still Open”

  1. It is completely possible that there are people in the world, specifically new haven, that have tastes, interests, and values different that your own. I’m down with the jokes about Diesel Lounge, but some of these places are just local businesses that don’t cater to the authors demographic, and I’m not sure they deserve to be lambasted for it. I guess I’m just saying that in a town that has such a problem with upper-class-white-douche-bags, ya gotta embrace the local culture and look real hard in the mirror before posting things of this nature.

    • I understand your concerns, and it’s not really my place to say what’s good or bad, but this is a humor blog, and I like to poke fun. I don’t think I wield enough influence to shut down a place, nor do I generally infer that most places were actually of poor quality.

      You’ll also notice that I didn’t attack many of the stores that are outside the “upper-class-white-douche-bags” market, including many clothing stores that cater to different demographics of people.

      It’s tough to write humorously about New Haven without hurting anybody’s feelings. Perhaps impossible. I will do my best in the future, but I hope (and suspect) that my opinion carries very little influence on whether businesses are successful or not in New Haven.

      Nonetheless, I appreciate the feedback.

  2. Wow neat! Another great blog article about gentrifying New Haven. What’s next? A little write up about how more white people can move into black neighborhoods, upping rents and kicking all minorities out of the city? Oh wait, you already did that one! Bravo white man!

  3. Dude you are missing out on Bull and Swine. Their smoked wings are fantastic. I did a mini tour of Texas last year hitting Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth and Bull and Swine matches and beats most the BBQ I had down there (and I ate a fucken lot of bbq in Texas). Also Dashi is a great inexpensive option for eating out. Their dashi sauce is legit. I do see why they are on the list tho, whenever I go to either place they (sadly) seem to be empty.

  4. Funny, to me “Diesel Lounge” screams lesbian bar. Of course that’s colored by the fact that I used to live in another town with a “Diesel Cafe” where that was about 80% of the clientele. Great coffee, too.

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