The title of this month’s In & Out could be “Delayed Gratification.” There were just two openings, a number of closings, but lots of projects in the works. There continues to be increased activity in the Bedford/Downing/Carmine area, and a couple of Korean restaurants are coming, replacing Do Hwa which closed last month.
Chama Mama—149 West 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues
Finally, the Georgian restaurant Chama Mama has opened. The focus is on bread, baked in a custom tome (a traditional clay oven). Khachapuri or Cheese Breads are the best known Georgian dish, and Chama Mama offers five varieties, including the Adjaruli, a boat-shaped bread filled with cheese and an egg (the restaurant helpfully suggests “#instagram moment here”). The menu also features small plates that are reminiscent of middle eastern food, and larger heavier-sounding “Shared Plates” that are mostly meat-centric. The restaurant carries a large selection of Georgian wine which could be interesting. The Guardian recently ran an article entitled: “Why Georgia is a hotspot for natural wines” and in it was a discussion of how some Georgian winemakers have returned to making wine in qvevri, a traditional, earthenware winemaking vessel. The article concludes that “the qvevri renaissance has put Georgia at the forefront of winemaking fashion.” The décor is sleek with lots of wood, and wine bottles line the left wall as you enter.
Ardyn—33 West 8th Street near Macdougal Street
Chefs Ryan Lory and Adam Bordonaro had cooked together at Charlie Palmer Steak in 2014, and later went on to other projects. Two years ago they decided to open a restaurant together, and after a few failed lease negotiations on West 8th Street they finally found a space and opened their local ingredient/farm-to-table restaurant in March. Their press release explains: “The 1,900 square foot space draws inspiration from the restaurant’s name and evokes the tones, textures and depth of a forest with jewel green tiles and white countertops, accented by natural woods in the floor and ceiling.” The restaurant has a bar/lounge area where cocktails and small dishes are available, a dining room with an à la carte menu, and soon, a six seat chef’s counter will open serving a seven course tasting menu. The regular menu includes burrata, pickled beets and octopus which have increasingly appeared on restaurant menus around town, as well as some large format dishes (Duck, Wagyu, Fish).
We reported in the October issue of WestView News that Café Loup had closed, seized by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for non-payment of taxes. The closing was widely reported since the restaurant was a known literary hangout. A week or so after the closing, the restaurant reopened, much to everyone’s surprise. Since we are a monthly publication, we reported the re-opening in the November issue. On January 31st, we received an angry letter from Harry deBari, who accused us of inaccurately reporting the closure. We explained that we had reported it closed when it was closed, and re-opened when it re-opened, but he continued to hound us and insisted we remove any reference to the closure in our online edition and we complied. In addition we once again mentioned that the restaurant had re-opened in the February issue. However, he was still not happy and continued to send emails, saying “I think that we deserve more than a retraction.” In March, once again, Café Loup was seized for non-payment of taxes, and emails to Harry deBari have gone unanswered. Grub Street reported that the owners Ardes Quinn and Lloyd Feit had handed over the management of the restaurant to deBari and blamed him for the debacle. Stay tuned. Trattoria Spaghetto (232 Bleecker Street at Carmine Street), an inexpensive old-style Italian restaurant which had been around since the 1980s has closed. Petland Discounts (389 6th Avenue between 8th Street and Waverly Place) has closed, and according to employees at the store, all Manhattan locations have shuttered as well. The West Village location of Ricky’s (466 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets), the edgy NYC-based beauty shop, will be closing in April. Venetian restaurant Giulietta’s Cantina Club (13 Carmine Street at 6th Avenue) is no more, and a Marhal’s Legal Possession notice adorns the window. Also seized by the marshal is the deli/salad bar spot Café Water (519 6th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets).
I was sad when Maison Kayser closed, mostly because it meant no more freshly-baked baguettes. That may change now that Marie Blachère, a French bakery, sandwich and pastry shop is opening in the space vacated by Jean le Gourmand Creperie and Kut (301 6th Avenue near Carmine Street). The company has over 500 stores in France, and just a month ago opened its first store in the U.S. in Great Neck. So far, the Yelp reviews have been quite positive. Mr. Panzerotti came and went on Macdougal Street, leaving the Village with no panzerotti options. Now, another panzerotti spot will be opening at 220 Varick Street (at Downing Street). It is called I Love Panzerotti, and Angelo, the owner, has posted a sign on the door where he provides some details about the coming restaurant: “I am so excited to invite you to be part of a new neighborhood spot. I grew up eating Panzerotti, and I hope you will love it! It’s a savory turnover, typical to Puglia in the southeast of Italy. It’s kind of like a small calzone, but healthier—especially with the fresh and organic ingredients we will be using. I’ll be running the place: I’m looking forward to knowing my neighbors at a small neighborhood place after many years as owner of bigger operations including the world-famous resort Ca’ Del Conte, located near Milan Italy.” Sales of panzerotti support a charity called Mary’s Meals which helps feed hungry children. Over at 27 Bedford Street, expect Marble Dessert Bar to open in the future. Taboonette, the fast casual Mediterranean restaurant specializing in pita sandwiches with a branch near Union Square is opening a second location at 84 Carmine Street (near Varick). Taboonette was conceived by Israel-born chef Efi Naon as a follow-on to the full-service restaurant Taboon in Hell’s Kitchen. A taboon is a traditional Middle-Eastern oven, and at Taboonette, breads and other ingredients are cooked in it. In the space where La Carbonara used to be (202 West 14th near 7th Avenue), a Korean restaurant called Zu Sik will be opening. According to employees there, fusion-style Korean tapas will be served in the evening. Frevo, a restaurant serving contemporary French cuisine will be opening at 48 W. 8th Street (between 6th Avenue and Macdougal Street) in the old Il Bambino spot. L’Accolade, a French Bistro, is applying for a liquor license at 300 Bleecker Street (between Barrow and Grove Streets) where until recently Nisi used to be. Ever since Spice Market vacated the space at 403 West 13th Street (at 9th Avenue) back in 2016, there have been plans for Dean and Deluca to open there. Almost three years later there is signage in the window for Dean and Deluca Stage, and an apostrophe-challenged job posting for the new enterprise reads as follows: “Calling all Servers, Aspiring Chef’s, Barista’s, Supervisor’s and Brand Ambassador’s! DEAN & DELUCA STAGE will be holding open calls for experienced Hospitality Professionals for our new Restaurant concept opening this Spring.”
We previously reported on the future opening of Windrose (39 Downing Street) which will offer “A spin on Korean food.” A new sign in the door promises that the official opening will be on April 5th. Llamita (80 Carmine Street near Varick Street), the tiny Peruvian fast-casual spot closed for renovations in February and has re-opened with a slightly different format. While sandwiches and roast chicken are still available, in the evening there is a larger menu of plated Peruvian dishes. Pork Chop, Chicken Leg and Hangar Steak are featured in the new offerings. Beloved bar White Horse Tavern was sold to Steve Croman (well known to WestView News readers), and the operation has been turned over to Eytan Sugarman who also owns Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square in partnership with Anthony Scaramucci. This change has the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (recently re-branded to Village Preservation) concerned that the historic interior will be altered, although the new owners have stated that that is not their intention. Andrew Berman, the executive director of Village Preservation, in the organization’s weekly newsletter explains: “The storied White Horse, opened ca. 1880, is world-renowned as a gathering spot for luminaries as diverse as Dylan Thomas, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, and Jane Jacobs, among many others.” Village Preservation has written to the Landmarks Preservation Commission urging them to landmark the interior as well. Fedora (239 West 4th Street between Charles and West 10th Streets), Gabe Stuhlman’s revamp of the classic Italian Village restaurant has applied to expand the restaurant by building into the rear garden. At a contentious March 14th Community Board 2’s SLA Licensing Committee meeting, proponents and opponents of the plan testified. According to the New York Post, Sarah Jessica Parker appeared and testified in support of Gabe Stuhlman and his Little Wisco empire, calling the group “responsible, respectful and hospitable.” According to The Villager, at a March 21st full Community Board 2 meeting, members voted against the proposal anyway.
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Don’t stop now! Please email us your observations at email@example.com. Photos by Darielle Smolian.