Based in the heart of Yale University, Claire’s Corner Copia has been serving nourishing, delicious vegetarian food to New Haven’s students, workers and residents for almost four decades. As one of America’s oldest vegetarian restaurants, Claire’s is in the unique position of having borne witness to the evolutionary journey of meat free and plant based diets in the United States.
Claire’s Corner Copia was founded and established by Claire and Frank Criscuolo in September 1975. From the outset, their missions and visions have been to serve their customers homemade real food, and to work with and be part of the New Haven community. Thirty nine years on, Claire’s has remained faithful to these noble ideals and is a much loved New Haven gourmet foodie institution.
Their menu offers diners a diverse selection of breakfast dishes, main courses, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and hot and cold beverages. Also, no trip to Claire’s is complete without a decadent piece of cake from their sumptuous dessert counter – the signature Lithuanian Coffee Cake is truly legendary. All dishes are prepared using high quality ingredients, and sustainable, locally sourced produce make them taste extra special.
As a highly skilled chef and successful restaurateur, Claire has shared her culinary expertise with home cooks by writing four cookbooks. The latest of these books ‘Welcome to Claire’s’ was written to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Claire’s and contains recipes, anecdotes and reflections from the restaurant’s fascinating history.
So, how did I discover Claire’s? When I was a university student in the mid-1990’s, I spent a memorable summer holiday working at Claire’s. Fast forwarding twenty years, I make a foodie pilgrimage to New Haven every time I visit the United States.
During my trip to New Haven this summer, I spoke to Claire about the history of Claire’s, as well as about their food and 40th anniversary celebration plans for next year. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.