HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >


Savin Rock Roasters? Was Harborside in Stratford, CT

Ok, so I go to work, and its Harborside(or Harborview- I can never remeber and I pass it twice a day and have been there several times)- I come home and its Savin Rock Roasters with a liquor permit sign out front. A Google search reveals little. Anybody know anything??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Okay, the Facebook page for Savin Rock Roasters has Harborside listed as a friend. There's also this public notice:
    http://www.mypublicnotices.com/CTPost... -
    which I *believe* indicates a change of ownership.

    Harborside is owned by a partnership - can't remember if they're tied in with the Humphrey's people or not, but at one time that was the plan. Harborside has had trouble for years with the neighborhood, both in Stratford and across the river, because it can get quite rowdy (or so I hear). The public notice has entertainment listed as "none" so I'm guessing it might be the only way they can continue business.

    As for Savin Rock Roasters themselves - sorry, haven't a clue.

    1 Reply
    1. re: harrie

      Harborside has (or had) the same owners as Lorenzo's in West Haven. Humphrey's orginally built the restaurant but ran into money problems and sold the finished building to the Lorenzo's people. Savin Rock Roasting Co..'s original location is in West Haven on Capt. Thomas Boulevard. and features in-house roasted meats (roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, etc). and seems to do a lively business.

    2. With more digging, I found this:
      but no mention of the Stratford site. If the menu is the same, we'll definitely be giving it a try- or several. Will report back.

      1. We stopped in tonight for dinner. A large, empty deli counter for meats occupies the foyer where the host station once sat. No clue if it's eventually going to be filled. The dining space itself is even more wide-opened and cavernous than when Harborside occupied it. The glass doors to the private room have been pushed open, and the curtains removed. It's somewhat akin to eating in a bus terminal. The walls have been painted a rather harsh red, and new drop lightining installed. The Muzac, some sort of grab bag of oldies was played WAAAY too loud, making conversation almost impossible. When we asked our waitress if they could turn it down some, she replied, "No, the owners like it this high!" (?!?)

        The menu is large, with apps and sandwiches in the $10-$15 range, and the entrees mostly in the $15-$25 range. I opted for the roast beef (dinner cost of $15), which turned out to be a rather large portion of lukewarm meat served atop white bread with au jus and horeradish sauce, some greasy fries and a side of oddly seared pieces of squash. A pre-dinner salad turned out to be a sad shallow plate of shredded greens with one (!) cherry tomato and one cucumber slice. Generally speaking, about the same quality and caliber as the self-same meal that I can get at the diner down the road in Stratford for about $5 less. Dessert options are currently the same as Harborside's, so I passed. Our waitress, enthusiastic and attentive, was fine (p.s. when asked if they were going to continue the comedy club nights, she rattled something about the dinner rush on comedy nights, and neither I nor my companion had any clue when she walked away if that was a "yes" or a "no.")

        All in all, a rough start for this new venture. Given tonight's experience, I can't say that I'll rush back anytime soon; however, the place was packed around 7 when we left, so it would seem that right now, others may not share my reservations!

        1. What an odd choice of food for such a HUGE restaurant. Went there once when it was Harborside and it sucked.

          Wish them luck...but I doubt anyone can reclaim the old Fagan's local restaurant feel in this gigantic place. Maybe they can fill the space with some brewery equipment!

          Wishful thinking...

          1 Reply
          1. My friend loves Savin Rock Roasters in West Haven. She will be psyched to know it is coming or moving to Stratford, but it does seem odd that such a small intimate place would move to such a large location. Stratford was a fool when they wouldn't allow Chowder Pot to go in there--biggest mistake if you ask me--a place like Chowder Pot or even Red Lobster would have done well in that location, close to Bridgeport, people love all that fried food, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cheereeo

              Years back, I'd heard Chowder Pot was planning to go in across the street from there, at The Dock Shopping Center -- I wonder which spot they wanted first, even if they ended up with neither one.

            2. We had lunch here over the weekend. 2 had pastrami sandwiches, both very happy. I had the roast beef and cheddar melt- it was tasty, but had to be sent back at first because it didn't come griddled as advertised in the menu. Fries were above average, crab bisque was ok, cole slaw was awful.

              Service was friendly but slow to get our food- at least 45 minutes from when we ordered to get our sandwiches. Sandwiches ranged $7-10, plus upcharge of $1.50 for fries. The menu is a little confusing- they offer a 1/2 sandwich and soup combo, but they don't tell you that only applies to certain sandwiches that are scattered over 2 pages of the menu, with no indication which ones are eligible for the deal.

              Total for the 3 of us- 3 sandwiches (2 w/ fries) , 1 bowl of soup, 1 beer, 2 sodas and tip was $60.

              We will give them another chance- mostly because they have (relatively) cheap oysters on the half shell ($8/6) and some interesting-looking appetizers we want to try.

              1. I am a regular at the original Savin in West Haven. The original is the best restaurant in the area in terms of bang for your buck with the freshest ingredients around. I'm there about once per week. Great space, GREAT food, Great service, great prices.

                Unfortunately, the Savin at the former site of Harborside is NOT the same ownership as the original Savin. It is a franchise opened up by the owners of Harborside I believe. I'm not very excited about it because I was never impressed with Harborside to begin with, so I'm afraid they will never deliver the A+ experience you get at the original Savin. SO, I recommend you visit the original if you haven't already, then the one at the Harborside site so you know what it is they're trying to recreate.

                5 Replies
                1. re: inWestHaven

                  Interesting. I wrote a note to the owner of the West Haven location the other day to ask if they were related to the new place in Stratford, but so far he has not replied. Seems the owner of the WH location is offering up franchises (per their website homepage), so wouldn't that mean that he would be personally involved in overseeing the Stratford franchise for quality control, etc. and meeting the standards that they have set in West Haven?

                  1. re: cheereeo

                    I heard back from the WH owner. This is what he said; he is the owner and EC of the SRRC in WH: "The owners of Harborside and I have been friends for many years, I was the opening general manager of Harborside in the beginning. They were looking for a way to improve their operations, they agreed on purchasing a franchise package that included weeks of training with our chefs, complete recipe documentation as well as the ongoing support and sharing of fresh new culinary ideas. We are all looking forward to working together to make a fresh difference in the restaurant industry. As far as entertainment goes I believe the focus will be on dining, catering and comedy."

                    My husband and I and our two young boys dined there (Stratford) on Sunday around 3PM. We had a very good meal. I had six oysters on the half shell for $8 with really good cocktail sauce served with a little bottle of Tabasco to make it hotter. They were very chilled, clean, briney and delicious. My husband had the shrimp martini (glorified cocktail); he said he had wished his cocktail sauce was hotter, so I just passed him my Tabasco bottle. The bread was quite good quality, crusty and served piping hot. My husband tried the ribs which he said were tender, but not necessarily the best he has ever had, he brought the rest home. I chose the scrod and picked the cracker/crab stuffing as my topping choice and it was probably the best I had ever eaten. I think it was $20 for the large order. I love cracker stuffing and always order that at Stonebridge in Milford, but I must say that this was better, and the fish was not dried out during the baking process. The vegetables served on the side were an excellent mix of carrots and assorted squash. My husband had fries on the side, which he said were quite good. For the kids, it was the usual offerings, but what was nice is they had a choice of sides and one was fruit, which was served fresh!--a nice selection of grapes, pineapple, melon--my toddler was in heaven. The menu is quite large which is scary but makes it nice for dining out with friends, some may just want a sandwich while others an entree'. They also offered a special menu that had prime rib listed at $22. They offer nice options of sauces that you can select for your fish/seafood or steak which I liked. Our server Amanda was quite good with a friendly personality and checked on us throughout the afternoon. I agree that the service was on the slower side but not horrible given that they just did this changeover last Thursday, so I figure they just need to get the kinks out. I also asked her about the change in ownership and she basically reiterated what the franchise owner told me above but also added that his goal was to open six of these franchises. Now, a party of three sitting two tables over from me had this "pill" of a woman sitting at the table, you know the type, she looked like she wanted to find fault with everything. They had a different server, a very tall girl, who did not seem as competent as our server only based on the fact that I could tell she seemed to disappear; I could see by the look of the patron that she was just a miserable person, so their server was probably afraid to venture near her! . I saw her taste her soup and make a face and share it with her husband who also seemed unhappy becauase the soup cup sat there untouched the rest of the meal, but their server never came back after that. Also she shared an entree with her husband. They were there when we arrived and were there still when we left, so I'm guessing that they may have had a bad experience which is just too bad. I think this menu will do well in Stratford and hopefully they will be able to live up to the WH standards and succeed. You really can't beat the location. And the comedy nights are still there through Treehouse Comedy Club; My husband and I went to one in the last few months and it was great with a very diverse crowd. I wish them the best on trying this reinvention and hope they uphold the quality standards.

                    1. re: cheereeo

                      We'll have to give it a whirl sometime. I also have two boys, ages 5 and 7. What was the kids menu like? Typical Grilled Cheese, Mac-N-Cheese, etc.?

                      1. re: LorenV

                        Yes, your basic kids stuff and then they had fish & chips for kids too (but there is no persuading my fuss-budget 7yo to try something other than chicken or grilled cheese!), but nice thing was they could choose fresh fruit, french fries or soemthing else (forget) for their sides. And they get an icecream too. Mine are 1.5 and 7.5.

                      2. re: cheereeo

                        I work right near this restuarant and never even knew this place had changed hands. I was not a fan of the shrimp dish I had gotten. The shrimp seemed twice-frozen. However, the Rhode Island Clam Chowder had a alot of clams and it was a rich broth. Though.. Wont be running back anytime soon.

                        And hopefully, they will not turn the place into a nightclub at night or else it will have the same fate as Harborside did. You cant stop the fake Ids in this area, but they will stop a growing business. (Look at Bravo and Harborside)

                  2. Article in the Stamford Advocate today.


                    We'll have to check it out. Drove by a couple Saturday's ago late at night and the parking lot was absolutely mobbed. Good for them.

                    1. Had take out dinner from here Saturday. Wife got a salad which she enjoyed and I ordered a roast beef on rye with hot and sweet peppers. Not bad. The rye bread was thin and quickly turned soggy and fell apart but there was quite a pile of flavorful beef on it. Decent sandwich. The french fries were OK and seemed hand cut but the portion was loaded with potato skin on nearly every other fry, which I didn't mind...but...some may not.

                      Also took home the menu which is pretty much just meat, meat, meat and more meat. And salads. Subs and sandwiches for ~$9? Dinner entrees seemed a bit pricey for the mold of food they're offering. Seems an odd style of restaurant for such a large venue...but...wish them well.

                      1. FYI- Savin Rock Roasters has opened in Norwalk on New Canaan Ave at the former Costa Bravo location close to A & S Deli.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: makko

                          Yeah, when did that happen? I live around the corner...

                        2. My wife and I had lunch there this past Saturday and were generally pleased with the place. It was a beautiful day, so we opted to sit out on the patio like everyone else. We tried their 'Cornmeal Crusted Calamari' which was very good. The cornmeal coating was an interesting twist and the calamari was cooked to perfection. The red pepper sauce was alright - I would've like a nice spicy marinara instead.

                          My wife had the 'Seafood Burger' which is a combo fish, scallop, crab, and shrimp cake served on a bun. She really enjoyed it, and the bite I had was very tasty, though I think the big, fluffy bun made it a bit bready. Would probably be better as an open-faced sandwich or as a salad.

                          I had a pastrami Reuben which was good. The pastrami was really lean, maybe too much so, but piled high. There must've been close to a 1/2 pound of pastrami on that sandwich. Could've used a bit more Russian dressing, but the seeded Rye was grilled nice and dark. Pickle was ok, and the slaw was forgettable.

                          I had a chuckle at the menu and had two "New Castle" beers and my wife just drank soda.

                          Service was a bit sketchy - the food came out in timely fashion, but our server never checked up on us and in fact, our water glasses sat empty after the entrees were served. My wife tried a dessert - some previously frozen, single-serving cheescake in an Oreo crust thing - which was as good as you'd expect.

                          Total for the app, 2 sandwiches, 2 beers, 2 sodas, a manufactured dessert, and the tip was $60.

                          The view of the river on a sunny Saturday was good. We'll stop again sometime before it gets too cold to sit outdoors.