Passport, Please: New Haven Restaurants Open Doors to Pilot Pen Players

July 29, 2004 02:38 PM

"Mayor's Passport To Downtown Dining" Program A Big Hit With International Stars

NEW HAVEN, CONN., July 2004 - Where can you find world-class tennis stars like Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters when they're not on the courts? Next month, your best bet is to check out any or all of downtown New Haven's many excellent restaurants. Mayor of New Haven John DeStefano Jr. announced today the return of the unique "Mayor's Passport to Downtown Dining," an initiative of the Mayor, the Town Green Special Services District, and Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA. The program, now in its fourth year, will be held in conjunction with the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament in order to welcome the players to New Haven and promote downtown restaurants. The tournament, a US Open Series event, will be held August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

Each player in the main singles and/or doubles draw will receive a "Passport to Downtown Dining" which provides them with one complimentary meal at each of 22 of the city's finest restaurants, all within easy walking distance in Downtown New Haven. The passport contains brief cuisine descriptions and pages for validation stamps from each restaurant the player visits.

The "Mayor's Passport to Downtown Dining" program encourages players to discover that Downtown New Haven has an unparalleled collection of outstanding international restaurants just steps away from the players' Downtown hotels. The program showcases New Haven's resurgence as a fine dining hot spot, with restaurants that serve almost every world cuisine and the native dishes of Pilot Pen's international stars. With so many stars roaming the streets, the general public may have the opportunity to shop and dine alongside the players somewhere in Downtown New Haven.

"The 'Passport to Downtown Dining' is a creative, fun way to match the world-class tennis pros with the world-class dining experience in Downtown New Haven," said DeStefano. ?It's been tremendously successful in introducing players to the outstanding restaurants our city has to offer, and from the reviews it's obviously been a big hit with them as well. We encourage everyone to come Downtown and try New Haven?s restaurants and to experience everything else our city has to offer,? he added.

Players have made hundreds of restaurant visits and invariably raved about the program. American Lindsay Davenport, who has participated in the program for the past few years, speaks for many of them. ?We all look forward to the Passport program when we come to New Haven,? she said. ?There is literally something for every taste and something different for every night. It's one of the things that makes the Pilot Pen special.?

?The eclectic downtown restaurants are a big attraction for the players who compete at the Pilot Pen,? said Anne Worcester, tournament director. ?The ?Mayor?s Passport to Downtown Dining? program also gives Pilot Pen spectators and the general public a chance to 'dine alongside the pros'.?

For anyone interested in ?dining alongside the pros,? restaurants participating in the 2004 ?Mayor's Passport to Downtown Dining? program include:

BACK ROOM @ BOTTEGA - Rustic Italian BENTARA - Malaysian Fusion Cuisine

954 Chapel Street (Temple St. Plaza), 562-5566 76 Orange Street, 562-2511

BLUE PEARL - Creative American Food BRÜ ROOM @ BAR - Pizza

130 Court Street, 789-6370 254 Crown Street, 495-8924

CAFFÉ ADULIS - Eritrean Cuisine CENTRAL STEAKHOUSE - American Steakhouse

228 College Street, 777-5081 99 Orange Street, 787-7885

HOT TOMATO'S - Eclectic World Cuisine IBIZA - Contemporary Spanish Cuisine

261 College Street, 624-6331 39 High Street, 865-1933

ISTANBUL CAFÉ -Turkish Cuisine LA PIAZZA - Italian

245 Crown Street, 787-3881 65 Broadway, 562-3993

LALIBELA - Ethiopian Cuisine MISO - Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

176 Temple Street, 789-1232 15 Orange Street, 848-6472

NIKKITA - American NINI'S BISTRO - French and Italian Cuisine

200 Crown Street, 787-0227 40 Orange Street, 562-6464

POLO GRILLE - Eclectic Italian American Food ROOMBA - Nuevo Latino Cuisine

7 Elm Street, 787-9000 1044 Chapel Street, 562-7666

ROYAL PALACE - Fine Regional Chinese SANDRA'S - Soul Food

32 Orange Street, 776-6663 46 Whitney Avenue, 787-4123


152 Temple Street, 777-3482 229 George Street, 498-3222

UNION LEAGUE CAFÉ - Parisian Style Brasserie ZINC - Modern American Food

1032 Chapel Street, 562-4299 964 Chapel Street, 624-0507

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA

?New England?s Premier Women?s Sports Entertainment Event of the Year.? The 2004 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (, a US Open Series event, will be held August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Four of the world?s top 10 and eight of the top-15-ranked players, including Wimbledon Champion Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, have already committed to the tournament. A total of 14 hours of Pilot Pen Tennis action will be televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2004 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at 203/776-7331 or 888/99-PILOT.