When Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro announced it was closing last year, you could almost hear the collective sigh from foodies all over town. During its 10-year run, Caseus garnered rave reviews from all over. It was also a favorite of many New Haveners, loved for its French-leaning menu and subterranean cheese shop. Cheese fans were especially crushed by the news. The shop, which also sold charcuterie and specialty foods, was the only complete cheese purveyor within city limits. All of this was a big deal to us at The Audubon New Haven—the restaurant was also two blocks from where our New Haven apartments are set to open.
A new restaurant—and takeout source for dining in your New Haven apartments
With this bad news, however, came a hopeful announcement. The team behind the restaurant would be opening a new business, Olmo, in the same location. In the months that followed, details emerged about the new venture. For starters, the new place would still include both a shop and a restaurant. But instead of cheese, the retail spot would focus to “grab and go” foods. That meant coffee and housemade bagels and baked goods in the morning, sandwiches and salads for lunch, and readymade meals to take away for dinner. (Fromagerie fans were relieved to learn that there would still be a selection of cheeses.) Why the emphasis on takeout? Blame Netflix, the owners said. People are eating more meals at home, they explained. Maybe everyone just loves their New Haven apartments that much?
But, the owners added, Olmo would still be a place to dine in, serving lunch and dinner, plus brunch on the weekends. The new menu would have an Italian emphasis, but not strictly so. (The restaurant’s name is Italian for “elm,” a nod to New Haven’s nickname, the Elm City. Look for the elm leaf in its logo, pictured above.) In addition to homemade pasta, there would be dishes inspired by Mexican, Portuguese, French and American cuisines. As the Olmo team readied the old space, more news stories followed.
The reviews are in (and you should try the pasta)
Now that Olmo has finally opened this fall, what can you expect? If early reviews are any indication, it was worth the wait. One food writer and Caseus fan enjoyed a bone marrow appetizer special, a rotisserie chicken dish, and the Brussels sprouts with cider syrup, pickled cumin seeds and kale-kraut, calling it “one of the finest side dishes I’ve ever tasted.” High marks also went to the pastas, especially the white Bolognese. Yelpers also liked the pastas, especially the cacio e pepe. It’s a dish more often found in the kitchens of New Haven apartments than on restaurant menus. But now you can try it in one of New Haven’s most awaited new restaurants.
If you go
Olmo is on 93 Whitney Avenue at Trumbull St. It’s on the very edge of the East Rock neighborhood, bordering the Whitney-Audubon District of downtown New Haven. (That’s our neighborhood, A.K.A. the Audubon Arts District.) From The Audubon New Haven, you can walk to Olmo in seven minutes or less. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner during the week, brunch on the weekends. The takeout shop is open seven days, closing just before dinner. Full hours are here.