Frank Lobo is a Professor of Immunology at Yale Medical School, a doctor at Yale Pediatric Specialty Clinic and Yale Allergy & Immunology Center, and a long-time resident of New Haven. This summer, he opened City Point Kitchen, a new restaurant on 98 South Water St. serving local produce and fresh seafood. We sat down for lunch last month and talked about sustainable agriculture, healthy intestines, and what makes New Haven great.
It’s lunch time, and Frank Lobo sits wedged into a sleek white booth in the corner of City Point Kitchen’s dining room. The restaurant feels miles away from the busy, urban center of New Haven—cherry tomato vines reach out from the mason jar centerpieces; two wooden oars adorn the walls; a white flag hung from the door billows in the wind off the harbor. Entering City Point Kitchen is like being transported to a calm, New England waterfront hideaway.
Lobo opened City Point Kitchen, New Haven’s newest farm-to-table eatery, on July 9, 2015. The small restaurant sits perched on the southern tip of New Haven, between South Water Street and the waterfront, overlooking the sound on one side and his home on the other. Lobo has lived in the City Point neighborhood for almost 20 years, and New Haven for almost 25. He hasn’t left since his time as a medical student in the ‘90s, to his tenure as an allergist, immunologist, researcher, pediatrician, and Yale Medical School professor today.
“New Haven is, pound for pound, as cool as any city in America,” he says. “Whichever way you want to divide coolness, New Haven’s cool.”
City Point, especially—even though it’s a bit off the radar, he says.
Lobo started City Point Kitchen with the hopes that it would become the “City Point place,” a gathering spot for neighborhood locals and a force to draw other New Haven residents down towards the waterfront. He doesn’t claim to be a chef, or an experienced restaurateur. He’s more of an epicurean, he says. “I just like to eat,” he smiles, and looks down at his belly.
Lobo is being modest. He might not know much about cooking, but as an allergist and immunologist, he knows germs. He also knows that over the past few decades, people have gotten a whole lot more allergic to things—Lobo says that over the past 25 years, he’s seen marked increases in the severity and number of food allergies, asthma, and nasal problems across the board. Lobo thinks he knows why. “Inside vegetables are indigestible probiotics and microbes. They come right from the soil, and inoculate intestines against disease,” he explains. “But we’re currently living on a sterile tarmac.” The fruits and vegetables we eat now aren’t filled with these little helpful bacterias—big farms use pesticides to kill most germs indiscriminately, and the long periods of refrigeration that occur between farm and table zap even more.
The dishes Lobo serves at City Point Kitchen are cooked with fresh, local ingredients that will work to inoculate intestines, and add back microbial diversity to New Haveners’ diets. True, the lobster is from Maine, but the salads and juices are made from vegetables grown in New Haven Farms like the Phoenix Press Garden, and the eggs come from Soffer Egg Farm in Branford. Soon, they’re hoping to source oysters from the nearby Thimble Islands.
“Instead of farm-to-table, I think of it as soil-to-table,” Lobo quips.
Besides their health benefits, vegetables taken right from the ground just taste better, he says. One fresh squeezed lemonade, lobster roll, and clam chowder later, I—and my intestines—have to agree. Germs have never tasted so good.
Visit City Point Kitchen at 98 South Water Street Mon. through Fri. 7am-4pm and Saturday & Sunday 8am-3pm.
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Dr. Francis Lobo attended Yale School of Medicine and continues to practice allergy and immunology in greater New Haven for more than two decades. Now he’s moving into a new field: restaurant ownership! ℹ Learn more about Frank here .
Visit City Point Kitchen ℹ
98 S Water St, New Haven, CT 06519 » (475) 238-6101
Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will move its hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m
? City Point Kitchen in the news:
Where does City Point Kitchen get its #local food?
Fruits & Veggies » New Haven Farms
Eggs » Soffer Egg Farm
69 Damascus Rd, Branford, CT 06405 | Phone: (203) 488-3205
Products: Bees Wax Honey, Bees Wax Candles, Bees, Garlic Contact Vincent Kay 178 Nicoll Street, New Haven, CT 06511 | Phone: (203) 787-0494
Herbs » the garden behind the restaurant!
Photos by Aaron Kotowski, AARON KOTOWSKI PHOTOGRAPHY
View full City Point Kitchen gallery here
**Featured image credit to Jeffrey Kerekes of I Love New Haven!