New restaurant aims to add flavor to Shelton's downtown

Hartin Ballabani, owner of Tacomida, will soon be opening Chaplin, what he calls a "bold, yet classic establishment with American fare," in Bridge Street Commons II - developer Angelo Melisi's new building at 427 Howe Ave.

Hartin Ballabani, owner of Tacomida, will soon be opening Chaplin, what he calls a “bold, yet classic establishment with American fare,” in Bridge Street Commons II - developer Angelo Melisi’s new building at 427 Howe Ave.

Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The owner of Tacomida — known for its tacos and tequila — will be adding some new flavor to the downtown restaurant scene in the coming weeks.

Hartin Ballabani will be opening Chaplin, what he calls a “bold, yet classic establishment with American fare,” in Bridge Street Commons II — developer Angelo Melisi’s new building at 427 Howe Ave.

“This restaurant will be completely different in terms of what we offer, our concept — it will be affordable, yet casual, fun, with different cuisine,” Ballabani said about the contrast between Tacomida and Chaplin. “We are happy to continue to be part of the revitalization of downtown Shelton.”

Ballabani said Chaplin will feature a seasonally driven menu with a focus on hand-cut, dry aged steaks, a raw bar with fresh oysters and clams, classic favorites like linguini and clams, steak tartare, or the Chaplin burger - served on a brioche bun with caramelized onions, black garlic and Taleggio cheese.

The new restaurant also will feature wines from small vineyard producers mainly based in the U.S., but also will include favorites from around the world, he said.

The bartenders will be serving up drinks from our cocktail list which will focus mostly on Prohibition-era cocktails such as aviation, Sazerac, bees knees, martinis and plenty of other craft cocktails, he said.

“We want to be versatile and approachable with the menus and offer something for everyone’s palate,” Ballabani said. “You can stop by any day of the week and sit at the bar for a cocktail and light appetizer and not have to commit to a lot. The design will have an art deco that meets industrial feel to it, perfect for a trendy yet approachable setting.”

The 1,600-square-foot establishment will also include an outdoor patio, which is covered and heated, with plenty of seating. Ballabani said he hopes to open the doors before the end of the year.

“We’re excited about this,” Ballabani said, adding that his hope is that this new restaurant will further develop foot traffic in the burgeoning downtown area. “We want people to stop here for a meal, then stop off at (The Pub on Howe) for a drink. Or have a drink at Porky’s, then stop by our place.”

Ballabani, who has roots in Valley, opened Tacomida in 2019 at 50 Bridge St., the Bridge Street Commons building also built by Melisi.

Tacomida offers primarily street style tacos, including Baja fish, chicken Borracho, pork carnitas and more. Focused mainly on Mexican flavors, there are small plates such as corn on the cob, queso and chorizo fundito, and kids favorites such as cheese nachos quesadillas or churros.

The menu also features specialty cocktails focused on tequila and mescal-based cocktails along with other favorites such as the gin fizz or amaya swizzle (pineapple infused rum, blackberries, orgeat and ginger simple syrup).

Tacomida opens daily at 11:30 a.m. and is available for take-out and delivery. Guests also will notice that the restaurant has grown in the past year, he said.

“We expanded Tacomida’s square footage during lockdown due to the restrictions, so now we have a beautiful new dining room that serves as a private room or simply more dining space,” he said. “In the past when the patio would close due to weather, we would turn to bar seating only and it made it tough for families or large parties to join us, so now we hope with the added space we can better cater to them this fall and winter.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com