Cafe Aura, Manchester
45 E. Center St., 860-643-2751, cafeaura.com
Famed University of Connecticut basketball coach Geno Auriemma’s newest restaurant occupies the former location of longtime area favorite Cavey’s. The menu for Aura, an 8,096-square-foot, split-level space, was developed by chef Erminio Conte, founder of New York’s popular Prime 1024 on East 42nd St., and will feature Italian food and prime steaks.
What caught our eye: We were eager to see the Cavey’s space put to good use and it’s clear from Auriemma’s career at UConn that he knows a thing or two about success.
Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, Hartford
114 Asylum, St., 860-969-6128, artichokepizza.com
This New York City-based fast-casual pizza joint has brought its celebrated pies to Hartford. Located near the XL Center, the restaurant features a full bar and pizzas such as its namesake artichoke pie as well as crab. Artichoke Basille’s first entered Connecticut with a Newington location last February but recently closed that spot to move to the capital city.
What caught our eye: When we hear “new pizza place,” we always listen.
Majestic Bar at Majestic 6, Stamford
118 Summer St., 203-323-1690
To compete with home streaming services, many movie theaters are upping the ante by adding more comfortable seats, better-quality and larger theaters, and much better food options. One of the latest examples is Bowtie Cinemas’ Majestic Bar at its Majestic 6 theater. A 25-seat establishment in the theater lobby with a full bar and a menu that includes items like artisan pizza, Philly cheesesteaks and Korean barbecue veggie meatball buns, it also has large-screen TVs that will show sporting events and classic films. The bar will also host special trivia nights.
What caught our eye: We love movies and we love eating and drinking, and therefore we love this idea.
Spread Cheese Co., Middletown
386 Main St., 860-740-5370, spreadcheeseco.com
Sisters Jamie Tomassetti and Lindsey Eberle own this new cheese shop on the bottom floor of Middletown’s walking mall. Visitors are encouraged to taste samples, and the selection runs from fresh, soft and firm to hard and blue.
What caught our eye: We’re always happy to see more food-related businesses open in Middletown, and Tomassetti and Eberle’s passion for what they do shines through.
Döner, New Haven
1209 Chapel St., 203-553-6637, donernewhaven.com
This spot takes its name from döner kebab, the original slices of rotisserie cooked meat that helped inspire the creation of shawarma and gyros. Visitors can try chicken, beef or lamb döner, or opt for a falafel sandwich instead.
What caught our eye: We love that this restaurant is taking the shawarma sandwich back to its traditional roots. Anyone up for recreating that post-credit Avengers scene here?
Is there a new restaurant you recommend? Email Erik Ofgang at email@example.com.