A new American-style restaurant, with a twist, has opened in town and is run by some familiar faces.
Just a town over in Hamden, Michael Migliaro and Stephen Barraco run Café Amici, an Italian restaurant that has been around for the past nine years.
The two decided to look into North Haven to start their second restaurant, called Amici Tavern, which opened its doors to the public on Nov. 15 at 43 Broadway.
Before you head out there to try the food, here are a few things to know about the new place.
Migliaro, of Hamden, and Barraco, of North Haven, have been friends since their early teenage years and now co-own two restaurants. One is Amici Tavern, which opened Nov. 15 and the other is Café Amici in Hamden, which opened nine years ago.
They started working together in 2000 and then became business partners after opening Café Amici on Whitney Avenue in Hamden.
Migliaro manages the front end of the restaurants. Barraco is the executive chef at both restaurants and handles the kitchen. He has more than 20 years of experience cooking.
With an already popular Italian restaurant, Migliaro and Barraco wanted to open something different. That’s when the idea for an all-American restaurant was born.
“We wanted to do a simple, American-type of food with a twist on it,” said Migliaro.
“This restaurant has a little bit of something for everyone.”
Deciding what type of food to indulge in when dining out can be difficult, which is why Migliaro said Amici Tavern has a variety of menu items to choose from.
A few signature items are their quesadillas, nachos, jambalaya, and a huge fried chicken and waffle sandwich. Each item has its own twist.
The quesadilla isn’t your ordinary quesadilla. It’s made with a variety of flavors including roasted corn, chorizo, a fried egg, lime crema, carmelized onion, and cotija, a Mexican cheese. Migliaro said the tortillas are made to order.
“It just came to me,” said Migliaro of the quesadilla concept. “I like all the stuff in there.”
Amici Tavern also makes an onion brick and ribs that some North Haven residents may remember. The recipe came from the owners of former Amber Restaurant, a barbecue joint in North Haven which closed a few years ago.
The restaurant also has soups and salads, a variety of sandwiches, entrees including chicken pot pie and loaded gnocchi, a kid’s menu, and a separate steak house menu.
The steakhouse menu offers a variety of cuts like prime New York strip, prime porterhouse steak, and prime filet mignon. Steaks can come your choice of four sauces: cabernet-demi, horseradish cream, gorgonzola cream, and thyme butter.
At Amici Tavern, Barraco said they like to serve a lot of craft beers to support local places and the ongoing trend of craft beer, but they also have a full cocktail and wine list.
Some of the craft beers they serve are Two Roads’ double IPA, called Road to Ruin, and City Steam’s Naughty Nurse.
Barraco considers the restaurant “relaxed, casual, and family-friendly.”
Signs throughout the restaurant encourage a relaxed atmosphere. In the dining area, a sign reads “good food, good wine, and great friends.” Hanging above the bar area is a similar sign that says “eat, drink, and be merry.”
Upon entering the restaurant, there is a large, oval shaped bar with a few high top tables around it. The dining room is simple, with more than a dozen wooden tables with black chairs, but it’s also chic and sophisticated at the same time.
The co-owners said they want people to feel comfortable coming into the restaurant to relax after work, after running errands, or just to relax.
“We’re a neighborhood, everyday restaurant,” said Migliaro.
If you’ve lived in North Haven for any length of time, you will remember the restaurant, On Broadway. When this fine establishment closed, it left a gap in the restaurant choices in North Haven. Well, I’m happy to say that gap has been filled with another great restaurant, Amici Tavern. Located in the same building at 43 Broadway, owners Michael Migliaro and Steve Barraco invite you to come down and sample their menu.
This family restaurant serves American cuisine with their regular dinner menu priced under $20. They also boast a reasonably priced 16 ounce NY Strip, a 10 ounce Prime Filet plus half and full racks of ribs. On the lighter side, there’s a full sandwich menu and they have 8 craft beers on tap at all times. At Amici Tavern you’re guaranteed a good meal at a good value.
Michael and Steve are not new to the restaurant business. They’re both seasoned restaurant veterans and have owned and operated Cafe Amici in Hamden for 11 years. They enjoy working together and have been friends since boy scouts, where they both attained the impressive rank of Eagle Scout! They always liked the location at 43 Broadway and when it came available 2 years ago, they jumped at the chance to open a 2nd restaurant. The building dates to 1906 and really has the feel of a tavern steakhouse! Their staff is made up of full time professionals including Chef Julie Mantovani who was trained in New Orleans.
They are serving lunch and dinner 7 days a week. There’s a Happy Hour each day from 2:00 until 6:00 with half priced appetizers and $1.00 off drink prices. On weekends, beginning at 11:00 AM, you can enjoy a 3 course brunch and a mimosa for $17.95.
Amici Tavern also offers full service catering. They would be honored to plan, coordinate and staff your next event. They cater to all occasions on and off premise. They have a private room available that can accommodate up to 30 people, or they can bring their full service catering to your location. They also have a pizza truck serving the same delicious pizza you can enjoy at Café Amici in Hamden! Steve and Mike will tell you, “If you want it, we’ve got it. If we can’t do it, you don’t need it!”
You can peruse their restaurant menu and catering menu online, or better yet, stop in at 43 Broadway in North Haven and sample the menu first hand. Amici Tavern is where friends and family come together.
We are pleased to accommodate your catering and banquets for all occasions on and Off premises.
We are always available to help plan and cook for your next party or event!
Michael began cooking at an early age. At ten years old he stood at his grandfather’s side learning the basic techniques of cooking. In the 1930’s his Great-Grandfather had opened Vito’s Restaurant. Michael’s Grandfather soon after took over the business, eventually having three locations, one on Wooster & Hamilton streets in New Haven, & one in Madison. His Grandfather ran the restaurant into the 1960’s when Michael’s Father & Uncle showed little interest in the restaurant business. Hence, the restaurant was sold but his grandfather continued to work in the industry at such establishments as Papa Coppola’s & Delmonaco’s located in New Haven’s famed Wooster Street Neighborhood.
When Michael was ten, his grandparents opened a small ten table restaurant, which Michael wanted to be at everyday. This is when Michael’s love for the Restaurant business became more evident. After his Grandmother’s passing, the restaurant was closed but Michael continued on in the industry, eventually spending quite some time at the long established Leon’s Restaurant (of New Haven). Here Michael met Edward Varipapa. This is where Michael’s true love for the restaurant business blossomed. Spending countless hours with Varipapa, this is where Michael learned how to run, manage & work every facet of the business. During this time Michael won a scholarship for Connecticut’s best recipe in a contest run by Johnson & Wales University. After passing the required tests to become an Advanced Standing Student, Michael attended Johnson & Wales University until he graduated in 1998 with an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts. He decided not to study abroad, wanting to learn more about the intricate running of a restaurant; he stayed at Leon’s until 1999 when he decided to learn the more corporate side of the industry by going to manage corporate facilities for Host America Corporation.
In 2000, truly missing the customer interaction he had always had; with longtime friends Stephen Barraco, Edward Varipapa & the Ferraro brothers of New Haven’s Ferraro’s Market decided to open Amici. At twenty-one years old, Michael ran one of New Haven’s most popular restaurants. Customers would frequent the restaurant two to three times a week. (They were closed Sundays & Mondays) Michael became known for his versatility in menu degustation. This is where & when Michael honed his skills in this industry. The Group also opened two other establishments during this time, Whitney Grille & Citrus of Branford.
By 2004, all the restaurants were sold & Michael joined the team at Mayor Mike’s. Mayor Mike had eaten at Amici Restaurant, and this is how the introductions were made. Michael became Executive Chef of Mayor Mike’s, receiving three stars from the Hartford Courant, Best new Restaurant from both Connecticut Magazine & Hartford Magazine.
In the summer of 2006, Michael rejoined forces with longtime business partner Stephen Barraco as Executive Chef of Colonial Tymes Restaurant located in an historic building in the heart of Hamden, Connecticut. In February of 2007, Michael and Stephen decided to bring back the great feel of the original Amici in its great new location on Whitney Avenue in Hamden. They felt the Spring Glen location was great for the traditions that Amici was built on. As Stephen and Michael continue the ongoing Business relationship together the story continues to unfold.
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