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Donovan's in South Norwalk-CLOSING

After more than a century of continuous operation, Donovan's is closing before the end of the month. Not only is SoNo losing the only place of its kind...an neighborhood-style pub/watering hole/meeting place...it is supposedly being replaced by a French restaurant that will undoubtedly be more expensive and less welcoming.

The unquestioned Best Burger in Connecticut will be no more.

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  1. awww I spent many of my high school years there drinking. Good joint but it has been pretty empty whenever I have driven by.

    1. Are you kidding me? I just ate there two weeks ago? We walked up and down the whole block and it was the only establishment that exuded any character, it was incredible! Excellent burgers and ice cold Octoberfest on tap. Awwww damn! Doesn't anyone care about culture anymore? Is there no historical society in Norwalk trying to save it?

      1. Don't panic. Not a French restaurant. According to the local paper today it will reopen as the Bulldog Bar and Grill after a month of renovations to build a new open kitchen, tear out old paneling and replace the bench seats. Boxing pics and the bar will stay. Per the new owner: "We are keeping Donovan's the same. We are just dressing up the place a little bit. Why mess with success?" And the old owner, who says he doesn't have the energy to keep running it, says "...the people who are purchasing this know what they're doing."

        1. I guess that's better than tearing it down but the whole charm of that place is that it's like going back in time. If they update everything it's not going to feel the same. I also suppose the prices are going to need some "dressing up" as well.

          1. There's so much goodwill in the Donovan's name, I'm surprised that they want to change it. Sometimes change, though, is good. I guess we'll see.

            1. Does anyone know whether Bulldog opened up in the old Donovan's space? I have not been in South Norwalk in a bit. Curious to hear how it is, if it's open....

              1. I'm not sure, I have not heard anything about it. I do know that there's a good burger place where Tenero's used to be...up by the movie theater. Burger Bar & Bistro. Really good varieties of hamburgers, some fancy, some not. And lots of wines and beers to pair them with!

                1. Some encouraging sites from up the street.

                  Cherry Street East has Tyvek on the exterior walls. Looks like spring may bring burgers back to NC.

                  1. Bulldog is open. Looks like an old style burger place from the outside with red checkered table clothes. Haven't been inside, but, it looks packed on a Tues night. Has anyone been in? Hows the food?

                    1. the rumor is that Donovan's has re-opened again in the same spot. A quick walk by confirmed it. Next is the taste test!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Ickyfish

                        i hope they bring back the clam chowder.

                        1. re: mrporkbelly

                          I think I'm gonna head over there tonight. From the outside, it looks like the same place as "The Bulldog" (it's previous name), just with more TVs.

                          1. re: mrporkbelly

                            They teamed up with MacKenzies in Old Greenwich and have opened up as Donovans-MacKenzies. The place looks much better.

                            1. re: tito

                              brunch yesterday was excellent, burger is right back to where it used to be (best in SoNo), althought they have got to shoestring fries that are not as good as the old steak fries, although they come with the buger now . . . menu is expanded, place is redecorated nicely, lots of new flat screen TV's - they ran out of champage for mimosas (Sunday brunch), but i'll give them a pass this time