The fried seafood restaurant is “Still Off The Hook” – in New Haven and soon in Bridgeport, Middletown and Waterbury


NEW HAVEN — Besides knowing a deep fryer and the spices that go into fried shrimp, scallops or fish, Paul Hill, owner of new restaurant Still Off The Hook Seafood in the Amity section is nothing if not persistent.

It should.

For several years, Hill, 47, owned and operated Off The Hook restaurants in a few locations along Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. It closed the last few years ago.

But now he’s back with a new restaurant in the Whalley Commons shopping centre. It’s in the corner storefront that used to be the pop-up Koreana restaurant and before that the Thai restaurant, in the mall that also houses Walgreens and a post office.

And he’s set to open more restaurants that will spread his love of crisp seafood to Bridgeport, Middletown and Waterbury.

Paul Hill, owner of Still Off The Hook, prepares an order of fried shrimp and fries at the Whalley Avenue restaurant in New Haven on April 28, 2021.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

“I want people to think of me as a guy who took a chance and made it,” said Hill, who grew up in the Newhallville neighborhood, pointing out that “during the Great Depression millionaires were found.” .

Although not all of his past ventures have endured, “you’re not a boss until you’ve suffered a loss,” Hill said, calling himself “a 47-year-old man with a thirst for success “.

He’s taking big steps now because “I like a challenge,” he says. “I’m a big risk taker.”

He also has longer term plans, although he calls the restaurant business “a very difficult industry”.

“My dream and my goal will be to mentor and franchise,” he said.

Hill, who heard about fried seafood years ago as an employee of Kevin’s Seafood in New Haven, said Still Off The Hook may not be the only fried seafood restaurant in New Haven “but I’m the most unique”.

“What makes me unique are my sauces – my garlic parmesan, my General Tso,” he said.

Still Off The Hook also serves a lobster egg roll which is a mix of two classic Connecticut dishes, lobster rolls and Chinese egg rolls.

An order of fried shrimp and fries pictured at Still Off The Hookon Whalley Avenue in New Haven on April 28, 2021.

An order of fried shrimp and fries pictured at Still Off The Hookon Whalley Avenue in New Haven on April 28, 2021.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

Its food is available to eat in, take out or via delivery from Seamless, Grubhub and DoorDash. Hill hopes to add outdoor seating soon. Lately, business has been split about 50-50 between dine-in, takeout and delivery, he said.

The New Haven restaurant opened last fall. Restaurants in Bridgeport, Middletown and Waterbury are all fully approved and on track to open as soon as Hill can gather staff for them, he said.

The Bridgeport Still Off The Hook will be at 75 Fairview Ave. near St. Vincent Medical Center. The Middletown restaurant will be at 102 Court St. The Waterbury Still Off The Hook will be at 21 East Farm St., he said.

If you go to the New Haven restaurant, chances are “chef” Jeff Simuel will cook for you if Hill doesn’t do it himself. Simuel has 15 years of experience including Chowder Pot, Chili’s and TGI Fridays, among others.

What is his secret to making good fried seafood?

“Love,” Simuel said. “I put love in food.”

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