UConn students, locals, parents and alumni alike shuffle into Ted’s Restaurant and Bar looking to enjoy drinks, food, and live music. The bartenders all appear to be college students. Most of them are.
But one of them, Ryan McDonald, a UConn 2006 graduate of 2006, is more than a student trying to earn some extra spending money. He has owned Ted’s since September of 2007.
McDonald, now just 25, graduated with a degree in sociology. As a student, he was a regular customer. He also worked a stint in the kitchen.
After graduating, he got a job as a sous chef in restaurant in his hometown of Litchfield. He found that working 60 to 80 hours a week and making an annual salary of about $40,000 was not for him.
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Then he got a call from the owners of Ted’s. They wanted to sell the campus watering hole. He took out some loans, negotiated terms, and Ted’s was his.
His goal for Ted’s: keep it the same, while spicing it up, too.
“Don’t forget, this is the bar I went to when I was here, if you didn’t know Ted’s, you couldn’t buy it and keep it the same,” he said.
And the same, it is.
It still has the same great food it’s been serving for 20 years. There are $1 pizza slices on Tuesday, huge grinders, amazing chicken fingers. McDonald uses Facebook to promote the bar’s daily drink specials, promotions, and competitions, such as “best halloween costume.”
Ted’s is known for it’s “regulars,” and McDonald has worked to retain that homey feeling. It’s the only bar opened seven days a week, all day, and during the summer.
It is where the UConn community goes. Before they know it, it’s the only place they want to go.