When Village residents received the August issue of WestView News, the first article screamed out at them “Open Restaurants: Assault on Quality of Life”. The Open Restaurants program, which was launched early in the pandemic on an emergency basis is currently undergoing reviews to determine whether it will become a permanent program, and if so, what changes will be made. Not surprisingly, a group of Villagers turned out at the public hearing on July 19th and complained bitterly about the program. And rather than consider how changes might be made to address some of the residents’ concerns, a small but vocal group are calling for the entire program to be scrapped. One argument is that, while the Open Restaurants might have been necessary early in the pandemic, now that indoor dining has restarted, there is no excuse to continue it. However, as we have seen in the last month or so, the pandemic is not over, and it is smart to have the ability to serve food outside where the risk to diners is smaller. Also, others have portrayed the patrons of the Open Restaurant program as mainly rowdy tourists, while Village residents cower in their apartments in hopes of avoiding the noise and filth. But of course, many of the patrons of these outdoor set-ups are Village residents who are delighted to be able to sit outside and enjoy the conviviality that did not exist before. And as someone who is an avid window box gardener, I really appreciate the time and effort that has gone into creating some of the elaborate floral decorations that dot the landscape. While some changes will need to be made (and some reasonable recommendations have already been presented in a report by Corey Johnson’s office), it is unfair to give the impression that all Village residents are against the program. It may seem that way, but that is only because the opponents of the program are the most vocal, complaining loudly on Nextdoor and at CB2 meetings, while those on the other side of the argument are spending their time enjoying the outdoors with friends and family over a drink or a meal.
Two Brooklyn imports have recently opened in the Village: Beer Garage (118 Christopher Street near Bedford Street) and Hungry Ghost Coffee (315 Bleecker Street at Grove Street). The first Beer Garage opened in Park Slope, Brooklyn last year. The interior is modeled after a vintage garage, and locally sourced beer and bar food are on the menu. Hungry Ghost Coffee, which serves Stumptown coffee, was founded by a Turkish immigrant in Brooklyn in 2012, and now has 13 locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Daily Provisions, the Danny Meyer café and take-out spot has opened a third location at 29 Bedford Street (at Downing Street). Breakfast is served from 8 AM to 2 PM, and lunch is served from 10:30 AM to 5 PM. There is also a selection of pantry items available for purchase.
More information has come to light about the new restaurant opening at 99 Bank Street (Greenwich Street between Bank and Bethune Streets): the name will be The Mary Lane, and it will be part of the Blackfoot Hospitality group which also runs other popular Village spots such as Market Table, The Clam and Little Owl. Two Hands Corndogs will open at 95 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane). This national chain operates over 30 restaurants across the United States, and it is the second Korean coated hotdog on a stick to arrive in the Village. Do Not Feed the Alligators (337 Bleecker Street between Christopher Street and West 10th Street) will be a coffee shop and bookstore with a focus on photography books and coffee related events. Daisies Burgers is opening in the old Benedicts space at 516 Hudson (near West 10th Street). Saigon Market, a Vietnamese restaurant, will be opening at 202 West 14th Street (near 7th Avenue) where Korean fusion restaurant Zusik used to be. Saigon Market also has a location on University Place which has been closed during the pandemic.
There has been a lot of press about the opening of the Marvelous by Fred flagship in the Bryant Park area, but West Villagers have been enjoying the meringue concoctions at the smaller Aux Merveilleux de Fred (37 8th Avenue near Jane Street) for years, as well as the delicious brioches.
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