Restaurateurs continue trend with Crabby Dog Tavern in Stratford
STRATFORD — Few restaurateurs could resist a great water view.
And that’s exactly what Chris Delmonico and Niall O’Neill, owners of the Lazy Dog Tavern in Stratford and the Ole Dog Tavern in Oxford, found in the former Mare Bello space on Beach Drive in Lordship.
“We weren’t really looking in Stratford (again),” said Delmonico, “but the spot came up and it has the water view.”
“And the people of Stratford have been great to us,” added O’Neill.
Last month, the business partners opened the Crabby Dog Tavern at 14 Beach Drive. The restaurant is named after another characteristic of their beloved bulldogs and also fits in with the restaurant’s seafood theme.
Unlike their other two restaurants, which feature the same menu of burgers, pizza, ribs and more, the Crabby Dog Tavern’s offerings include shrimp, oysters and clams along with gator, octopus and lobster dishes.
“People are loving the food,” Delmonico said. “It’s really nice.”
Known by many as “Chubby,” Delmonico recently closed his Chubby’s restaurant in Bridgeport’s Black Rock neighborhood to focus on his other endeavors. “It was time to move on,” he said. “I was busy enough with these.” He opened the first Chubby’s in Derby in the mid-’90s.
O’Neill previously ran Irish pub The Field — just down the street from Chubby’s on Fairfield Avenue — for eight years before closing in 2014.
Their establishments’ proximity is the reason Delmonico and O’Neill became friends. “We enjoy what we do,” Delmonico said. “Nice combination of Italian and Irish, you know what I mean?”
The series of restaurants named after their dogs has proven a hit for the duo. Lazy Dog Tavern has been popular since it opened on Main Street in Stratford in November 2015.
A year later, the men opened Ole Dog Tavern in the Oxford House building, that had previously housed Brennan’s Shebeen.
O’Neill said they plan to continue the naming trend, but plan to take a break now. He noted they’ve opened all three restaurants in less than two years. “We have a name and a concept but we need to find a location,” he said, of a fourth space. “But we’re going to take some time off from looking.”
“It’s very nice,” said Mary Rotundo, as she looked out at the water from her seat in the patio. “I’ve been to the other ones and they’re all good. We’ll be back.”