NORTH HAVEN — You may notice some familiar faces behind the counter at the newest bar in town, Cockeyed Crow Bar & Grill.
The business was opened by longtime Meriden bar owner Robert Boyles and his friend and business partner Tim Goudace. Robert Boyles’ daughter Lindsay Boyles, who has been involved in his Meriden pub— Scotty O’Boyles— since she was 18, is managing the staff and helping run the new business.
“We're not going for the restaurant vibe, we're going for more of the bar vibe with food available,” Lindsay Boyles said of the new location on Washington Avenue (Route 5).
The new bar is at 630 Washington Ave., in an otherwise empty plaza next to Wharton Brook State Park.
“This building had so much potential and I just feel like nobody put the effort into it,” Lindsay Boyles said.
Goudace, a full-time contractor, renovated the building. If things go well, the group hopes to rent the adjacent plaza space and extend the bar and restaurant further.
“We’d like to really get that plaza cleaned up,” Goudace said.
Besides the owners and some similar entertainment, Cockeyed Crow Bar & Grill won’t just be a second location of Scotty O’Boyles. It’s bigger, it has double the beer taps, and it will be serving food.
“We're new to the restaurant side of things,” Lindsay Boyles said.
For Goudace, the experience of owning and running a bar is new and seemed like a good opportunity, he said.
The menu is a variety of classic American bar foods like burgers, fries, wings, and quesadillas. Kitchen Manager Mike Szramoski said the wings and burgers have been most popular so far, as well as the eggplant fries. The group didn’t anticipate these first few weekends to be so busy and sold out of certain foods.
The wings come in honey barbecue, buffalo, sweet teriyaki, garlic parmesan, and mango habanero. On the menu for starters is fried mozzarella, chicken tenders, jalapeno poppers, and nachos.
For burgers, you can get a barbecue bacon burger, mushroom and swiss, Cajun or jalapeno burger in addition to the traditional burger.
Cockeyed Crow Bar has 32 beer taps, including at least 10 local craft brews, from Stony Creek Brewery to Relic Brewing. They pride themselves on offering affordable drinks, like the $6 16 oz. glass of Sea Hag IPA from New England Brewing.
Regular customer and friend Steve Novack said the beer selection is amazing and has options for any taste.
“I was impressed the first time I looked at that tap and then Bob goes ‘oh yeah we've got another half dozen down here,’” Novack said of the 32 taps.
Robert Boyles and Goudace started leasing last November and some renovations were done before a soft opening in January. The restaurant celebrated an official opening Jan. 31. The last restaurant to occupy the space, Swift Half, closed after a kitchen fire, so the kitchen is brand new, as well as the back bar wall and bar counter— which the pair renovated themselves.
The crew comes with a lot of experience in running a bar— Robert Boyles has owned Scotty O’Boyles on North Colony Road in Meriden for 10 years. Lindsay Boyles has not only worked at her father’s bar for years, but also for Mezzo Grill in Middletown.
“What I'd say my dad's strength is— he goes to (Scotty O’Boyles) every day. He is familiar with everybody, he communicates there, he talks to everybody … He's friends with everybody there,” Lindsay Boyles said.
Novack said the father-daughter team is a pair of “very hard workers” and they give the bar a good family atmosphere.
Now that the group is settling into the new space, they hope to get live music and DJ nights started, as well as trivia and karaoke.
Cockeyed Crow Bar & Grill is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Prices for a sandwich, burger, quesadilla or salad generally land around $10. Chicken wings run about $7 for 7-pieces, $14 for 14 pieces and $21 for 21 pieces.