Summer is usually a bit quieter in terms of openings. This month was not as busy as the last few, but there were still a number of high profile spots coming on-line. Much of the activity was in the southern part of our area.
One Fifth—1 Fifth Avenue at West 8th Street
Marc Forgione is gaining something of a reputation for operating restaurants in iconic spaces with a long history of housing restaurants. He comes from a cooking family: his father, Larry Forgione and brother, Bryan Forgione are chefs and everyone in his family cooks. He opened his eponymous restaurant in Tribeca in 2008 and when Peasant was poised to close in December 2019 after a 20 year run, he stepped in and took it over. Before the pandemic hit, he was looking for a space for a new restaurant, but COVID put those plans on hold. When the city shut down indoor dining for the second time in December 2020, he was driving to Peasant, took a wrong turn, and ended up driving by 1 Fifth Avenue and noticed the “For Rent” sign. He stopped his car in the street, got out, and called the number. He had immediately decided that this was the space he had been looking for because of its history and energy. Most recently, that location housed Otto, a pizza restaurant owned by Mario Batali. Otto closed in November 2020.
One Fifth has been described as serving Italian fare by many outlets including the New York Times, but Marc Forgione says what he is striving for is something that reminds him of his family gatherings, with everyone in the kitchen, and where the food never stops. The space was carefully renovated, and it now looks more like it did during its days as One Fifth in the 1970’s. There is lots of dark wood with Art Deco accents that harmonize with the building’s design.
When I asked Marc Forgione what he hoped the clientele would be, he said he wanted it to be a neighborhood restaurant as well as somewhere people from other parts of the city would come to. The menu will use what is available and local, and that should keep prices more reasonable.
The bar has an extensive Amaro list but also features seasonal cocktails and the restaurant has a large wine list. Marc Forgione recognized that meeting strangers is not as easy as it used to be, and would like the bar to be a place where strangers can talk to strangers.
Hungry House Jones Street (9 Jones Street) has opened where the Greek restaurant Voula used to be and is an anti-ghost ghost kitchen. Hungry House partners with different chefs to create dishes that are prepared there and are available for pick-up or delivery. The featured chefs cover a wide range of cuisines and offerings, such as plant-based Filipino food, cemita-style tortas, ice cream from Caffe Panna, burgers and salads. Figaro (184 Bleecker Street at MacDougal Street) has opened where Le Figaro Café first opened in 1957. It was a Village institution for many years and through a number of iterations, but ultimately closed in 2008. The new version features flatbreads, crudos, sandwiches and haute comfort food dishes. Nat’s on Bleecker (170 Bleecker Street between Sullivan and MacDougal Street) has opened in the old Junzi Kitchen space. This restaurant by Natalie Freihon is a follow-on to her successful Nat’s on Bank which is more seafood focused. Fly E-Bike (466 6th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets) has been open for a couple of months but they only recently put up a sign with their name. The store sells electric transportation devices that are manufactured in China and assembled in the United States, and are mainly geared towards food delivery workers. Fly E-Bike has over forty stores worldwide.
A number of readers have written to us to let us know that long-time Turkish spot Istanbul Grill has shuttered at 310 West 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). That stretch of 14th Street has seen lots of activity recently, such as the arrival and quick departure of Harlem Biscuit Company in July.
Carriage House will open at 142 West 10th Street (between Waverly Place and Greenwich Avenue) according to WhatNowNY. The space has been empty since Portuguese restaurant Louro closed in 2016. According to Gotham, a supper club is opening at 9 Jones Street. This is the same location that is currently housing Hungry House Jones Street—perhaps they will be timesharing the space. Kolor Boutique is opening at 485 6th Avenue (at 12th Street) where Salon Ziba used to be.
Pepe Rosso (168 Sullivan Street at Houston Street) which opened in 1997 as Pepe Rosso To Go has moved from 149 Sullivan Street into a larger space that most recently housed World’s Wurst restaurant. Song’ e Napule Pizzeria & Trattoria is moving from 146 West Houston Street to 132 West Houston Street (off Sullivan Street) where Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily’s used to be.
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