During Thanksgiving break, I went to Trinity Restaurant located at 243 Zion Street right across from Trinity College. The Agolli’s, an Albanian family, established this local gem offering a variety of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine in 2007. The Agolli’s were involved in the restaurant business in their home country, and their native culture shines through many aspects of Trinity Restaurant from the menu to the decor.
This popular mom-and-pop feel business stands strong because of its location. Trinity Restaurant sits in an area with a very high crime rate, surrounded by poor neighborhoods inhabited by very low-income families. However, the establishment caters predominantly to the Trinity community: students, staff, and faculty members. Because of the selective clients attracted by Trinity restaurant, the owners charge more per item than other restaurants in the area. This reverse process of “catering to your audience” results in the restaurant continuing to attract a particular clientele. It would be an extremely rare occasion to find a local Hartford resident who lives nearby the restaurant to dine at Trinity Restaurant. Compared to other local competitors, Trinity Restaurant is not a feasible option for many Hartford residents. Other restaurants in the area are ABC Pizza, Campus Pizza, Papa Johns, Sam’s Fried Chicken, Dunkin Donuts and other local small shops and restaurants that are significantly cheaper than Trinity Restaurant. These places attract more of the population living in the neighborhood. In contrast, Trinity Restaurant caters to a very specific type of audience, because and in spite of its location.
In the book Global Cities, Local Streets, the authors argue that gentrification brings in up-scale boutiques and restaurants that can have an undesirable impact on existing local residents of a city. While not very up-scale or fancy, Trinity Restaurant stands out in the quality and price of its food in the surrounding low-income neighborhoods where most residents cannot afford to spend $15-20 on a ravioli dish. Therefore, a place like Trinity restaurant tends to exclude the majority of its nearby residents.
Kanzy El Defrawy ’16