Update: In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, owner Carmen Anthony Vacalebre confirmed that he has listed his New Haven and Waterbury restaurants for sale. "I am deeply saddened by the fact that I had to close these two restaurants and feel deeply sorry for my approximately 70 employees that have lost their jobs in these two restaurants," he said. The Woodbury location will remain open, saving approximately 40 jobs.
"For the last 2 years, I have had to struggle through 'the perfect storm' to keep my businesses open," he said, noting the Chase Avenue road construction in front of the Waterbury restaurant and the cold and snowy winter months of 2015. "I had to close my businesses for 4 1/2 days during these storms and the additional snow removal costs added to my financial burden. We have worked very hard to keep our doors open; I have hung on as long as I can. Now is the time to stop the hemorrhaging of the financial losses."
Vacalebre says he will focus all of his energies on the Woodbury fishhouse. "We are revamping our menu to include many of the steakhouse menu item favorites. I will personally be overseeing the day to day operations of the Carmen Anthony Fishhouse of Woodbury and look forward to serving our loyal customers and meeting our new guests."
The Carmen Anthony Restaurant Group, which once owned and operated five steakhouses and seafood restaurants in Connecticut, has closed two more of its locations in New Haven and Waterbury. The Woodbury location remains open.
An employee who answered the phone at the New Haven restaurant Tuesday morning confirmed that the eatery's last day of service was Easter Sunday. A recorded voice message at the Waterbury steakhouse stated the restaurant was "closed until further notice" and directed callers to the phone number at the Woodbury location.
The Woodbury fishhouse is now the sole location listed on Carmen Anthony's website. An employee who answered the phone at that restaurant Tuesday morning directed The Courant to owner Carmen Anthony Vacalebre, who did not immediately return request for comment.
A lifelong resident of Waterbury, Vacalebre has been in the industry since 1969, according to the restaurant group's website. He opened the Waterbury and New Haven steakhouses in 1996 and 2004, respectively.
In May 2012, Vacalebre sold his Avon restaurant to the owners of the Grist Mill in Farmington. At the time, he told The Courant the sale "gives me an opportunity to strengthen the other four restaurants."
Just over a year later, he closed the Wethersfield fishhouse on the Berlin Turnpike in July 2013, citing economic downturn and weather as contributing factors.