Boulud On Bowery?
Like many other restaurateurs and real-estate proprietors, renowned chef Daniel Boulud is looking to own a slice of the Bowery, Avalon Bowery Place to be exact, for his new proposed restaurant/bar Daniel Boulud Good Burger, or DBGB. It’s the latest in the rapid transformation of the Bowery, with the restaurant’s name referencing closed rock club CBGB. If it opens, the restaurant will join a Whole Foods Market, a new art museum and the haute Bowery Hotel with Italian restaurant Gemma, whose seats were packed opening night despite no tasting preview. Upmarket restaurants and bars are replacing the family-owned establishments, which is pushing the real-estate values up and leaving those with lower income unable to afford the rent hikes.
Photo: Daniel Boulud
With long-time residents finding the unique neighborhood now unrecognizable, the local community board is clamping down on the expansion of nightlife, anticipating new traffic on already crowded streets and excessive noise and pollution from restaurants/bars new to the area. Therefore, CB3 is denying a liquor license within 500 feet of existing establishments. Boulud has said that he will not pursue the restaurant if a liquor license is denied.
Though the board has approved his bid for a liquor license, Boulud is not yet in the clear. State liquor officials still need to sign off on the license. Lawyers for former CBGB owner Hilly Crystal have reportedly served the chef with a cease and desist letter for using a name and font strikingly similar to that of the shuttered music venue.—N.T.
Chumley’s To Reopen, Eventually
The West Village’s favorite speakeasy is scheduled to reopen in October. Prohibitionists and police raids couldn’t close Chumley’s when it first opened in the 1920s, but the bar shut down this past April after a wall collapsed during construction, and rumors that the historic tavern had closed permanently have been circulating ever since.
“[Chumley’s] is important because it goes back into historical times and has several West Village identities,” said Joyce Gold, a professor, author and tour guide of New York City history. “It rather famously never had a sign, so it was always an in thing if you knew where it was.”
Chumley’s, at 86 Bedford St., opened in the 1920s, and quickly became a popular spot for a generation of literary greats. Bar patrons included e. e. cummings, William Faulkner and Willa Cather, among many others, and their book jackets could be found hanging on the walls. The bar never lost its popularity, and well into the new millennium, neighborhood residents and visitors alike would flock to Chumley’s to down pints and wonder whose famous bar stool they were sitting on.
“It’s so involved in the idea of Greenwich Village, and the people of Greenwich Village have kept it intact,” Gold said. “It has kept its identity for 80 years, and if it closes, the Village will lose an important part of its history.” —Jovana Rizzo
Chef Jehangir Mehta – dubbed the sadist by the restaurant industry because his decadence captivates those even without a sweet tooth – is due to open Graffiti Food and Wine Bar on 224 East 10th St. by the close of the summer. The former pastry chef of elite restaurants AIX, Jean-Georges and Vong is bringing his haute dining background to the East Village with a new boîte that promises a menu of assorted flat breads, steak, seafood, pastries and chocolate with an atmosphere of equal eccentricity.
“What we are trying to achieve from Graffiti in terms of the décor and in terms of food and in terms of the people working there is lending its style in a very varied way,” said Mehta. “Different flavors coming from different parts of the world.”
The chef promises a menu of small plates to nibble in a relaxed atmosphere. “It’s more a restaurant for you to relax and have fun type of a place,” said Mehta of the cozy space, that comes in at under 500 square feet. “We’re not making it stiff, it’s just something where you want to come and have a glass of wine.”
He calls the restaurant a “global bistro,” that in addition to its rounded menu, will offer cooking lessons. Rumor has it the multi-national wait staff will wear appliquéd third eyes, although the kibosh has been put on the much buzzed-about plans to invite patrons to be as creative in the restrooms with spray paint and markers as Chef Mehta is in the kitchen. “The way we translate graffiti is not just the graffiti that most people might think it to be,” said Mehta. “It’s expressing yourself in a more artistic way. We want to encourage that type of graffiti, that type of art.”—Nicole Tringali
BBQ For UES
Pop star Justin Timberlake is trying his hand at the New York restaurant scene. Last week, the singer unveiled his latest gastronomic venture, Southern Hospitality, an Upper East Side barbecue joint on Second Avenue and E. 76th Street.
The Tennessee-born crooner’s restaurant features Memphis-style barbecue and homey comfort food, like “Mom’s Meatloaf” and “The Best Pulled-Pork Sandwich in These Here Parts.”—Heather Corcoran