NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A popular New Haven restaurant will be closing down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale will close its New Haven location on Oct. 18, which is a week from Sunday.
The seafood restaurant on Long Wharf Drive has been open for eight years. The owners say that deciding to close it was a “difficult but necessary choice.”
Kevin Earl of Massachusetts told News 8 Wednesday, “It’s unfortunate, this place is great!”
Julie Peterman of New Haven says when she found out Lenny & Joe’s was closing, she knew she had to stop in.
“We’re really sad they’re leaving us…We said, ‘let’s go and have one last meal before they go.’…I have sisters in Massachusetts and Maine and every time they come down, we all come here for dinner. They were down last weekend, but because of COVID we didn’t come and now we’re heartbroken.”
The New Haven team at Lenny & Joe’s posted a letter to their customers on their website explaining their decision, which read in part:
We have worked very hard for the past 8 months to try and keep the business going. We ultimately realized that the effects of the virus won’t soon go away, and have rippled through our community in ways that deeply affected the Long Wharf business. We also faced an expiring lease, both of which have made the closing a difficult but necessary choice.
Mayor Justin Elicker was among those saddened by the news of the closing, saying, “We are very sad to see such an iconic restaurant as Lenny & Joe’s go. The economic impact of COVID on New Haven businesses has been significant. We are working hard to help support our businesses get through these difficult time.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have been hit hard.
Executive Director of Connecticut Restaurant Association Scott Dolch said, “Each day, unfortunately, I hear of more and more restaurants like Lenny & Joe’s are having to close because of COVID.”
Dolch says CRA is doing everything they can to help in these challenging times.
“The darkest day was that March 16 when we had almost 85,000 people went on unemployment over the first week to two weeks in our industry,” Dolch explained. “We’re desperately trying to bring them back…I’m hopeful we continue to see Connecticut residents continue to support our local restaurants more and more.”
Lenny and Joe’s has two other locations in Madison and Westbrook. They will remain open year-round and all gift cards purchased at the New Haven restaurant will be accepted at both of those locations.
To read the full letter from Lenny and Joe’s to their customers and for more details on the restaurants, click here.