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  • The Narrative Project

ConnCAT Launches New Haven's First Cloud Kitchen

Updated: Apr 13, 2021


March 15, 2021 Mercy A. Quaye



ConnCORP Launches Monterey Chicken, Pays Homage to Local History

Local Jazz Greats Christen New Haven’s First Cloud Kitchen, Reminisce on Dixwell's Monterey Club


New Haven, CT – The Connecticut Community Outreach and Revitalization Program (ConnCORP) today announced the launch of Monterey Chicken, the newest addition to its fleet of food services. Billed as a cloud kitchen, it’s the first of its kind in New Haven, dedicated to delivery and curbside pickup, landing at a pivotal time for restaurants and food hubs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monterey Chicken’s name pays homage to The Monterey, a restaurant and jazz club opened by Rufus Greenlee on Dixwell avenue in 1934. To mark the launch of the restaurant, ConnCORP hosted a small, COVID-friendly jazz session Friday night, to have some of the original Monterey musicians christen the cloud kitchen with jazz performances and a taste test of the menu. The performers, many of whom are retired or approaching retirement, circled around a microphone with their instruments in hand, telling stories about the legendary Monterey Club. Performers included Jesse “Cheese” Hameen, Hank Bolden, Morris T., Delores, Bobby Mapp, and Phil Brown.

"It's an honor that they've named this place after the Monterey Club -- I wouldn't have been a musician without that club," Hameen said, "I haven't seen anything in New Haven like it since. The Monterey is one of the wombs that bore me."

“There has always been a rich history of arts and culture in New Haven and, with the addition of Monterey Chicken, we hope to not only add to that history – but honor it,” said Erik Clemons, Executive Chairman of ConnCORP. “People have come to expect this sort of investment in community culture from us and we will continue to find opportunities to increase and preserve our city’s rich culture in any way we can.”

“Monterey Chicken serves the kind of high-quality food people have come to expect from ConnCAT’s Culinary Arts Academy,” said Paul McCraven, ConnCORP President. “The cloud kitchen business model allows us to serve folks in a safe way, directly to their door or through curbside pickup. This is especially important as the city, state, and nation continue to grapple with the pandemic. Through the name and the menu, we hope to evoke some of the memories, sounds, and traditions of the Dixwell jazz scene and show our dedication to the history of our community.”

"We all know it is about the three P's People, Product, Process. But we added the fourth P for Passion," said Gideon Gebreyesus, ConnCORP Vice President of Food. "We are passionate about food, this passion will help us source the best products for our customers. All our chickens are antibiotic-free chicken"

Monterey Chicken is located in ConnCAT’s world-class Culinary Arts Academy kitchen and presently shares space with ConnCORP's other food concept, Orchid Cafe. The restaurant has a full menu of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches, sides, and desserts. The cloud kitchen is open now, operating from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information visit

Hank Bolden, Jesse “Cheese” Hameen, Morris Trent, Bobby Mapp, look over an old New Haven Register article on the Monterey Club in its prime.

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About ConnCORP

ConnCORP seeks to drive economic development in the Dixwell and Newhallville sections of New Haven by investing in local commercial and residential real estate. The objective is to deliver well-planned multi-use real estate investment, which can help stabilize the local economy, provide affordable goods and services, and create local jobs.

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