Fedora Reopens Under New Operator and With Updated Digs


Fedora in the West Village

West Village landmark, Fedora, opened as an unnamed speakeasy in 1917 and was later called Charlie’s Garden.  It was taken over by the original owner’s son and his wife, Fedora, in 1952.  It was one of the few restaurants in the neighborhood at the time that was patronized by heterosexuals even though they welcomed homosexuals as well.  Last summer, Fedora (then 90), finally decided to retire from her daily stint behind the bar and homemade pie making in the kitchen, and the future of the eatery was unknown.

Fortunately, Gabriel Stulman, proprietor of Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery on Waverly, has taken over as the new operator.  The Mahogany bar and original hardwood floors have been maintained, but the rest of the space has been renovated (including a new collection of pop art).  The menu now has a French influence under executive chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly.  Brian Bartels (the bartender for Joseph Leonard) has developed a season cocktail menu for Fedora.


Fedora, 239 West 4th Street, near Charles Street; (646) 449-9336


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Cabrito is Replaced by Pop-Up Bar Fatty Johnson’s

Fatty Johnson's

Cabrito, which opened on Carmine Street in 2008, closed at the end of 2010 and has been replaced by a temporary pop-up called Fatty Johnson’s.  Zakary Pelaccio’s Fatty Crew (of Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue fame) has given the space a “more adult” makeover, including repainting the iconic pink goat.  According to Mr. Pelaccio, David Schuttenberg, Cabrito’s chef, has moved to the Upper West Side branch of Fatty Crab.

Fatty Johnson’s will feature guest mixologists approximately every other night.  The first “pop-up bartender” was cocktail expert and historian David Wondrich (aka the Punch Guru).  Reportedly, Fran Cisneros of The Drink in Williamsburg, will be behind the bar one night soon. Check out their Menu and stop by before the permanent concept is implemented and your chance

Fatty Johnson’s, 50 Carmine St. at Bedford, (212) 929-5050 or www.fattyjohnsons.com

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O CAFE brings Brazilian Coffee to the Village

South American coffee connoisseur, Fernando Aciar, is launching O CAFE in the former space of beloved local coffee shop Joe’s Jr.  Many locals are taking Joe Jr.’s sudden closure pretty hard as evidenced by all of the support left on their Facebook page.  But Mr. Aciar will usher in a new era with a new flavor.  He will be serving up his signature pão de mel (chocolate covered honey bread) as well as a traditional Brazilian cheese bread called pão de queijo and chocolates imported from Bahia and Pará.  O CAFE is in the process of completing a green renovation that incorporates recycled lamps, reclaimed building materials, and LED lights.  They intend to offer weekly “laboratories” for small groups of people interested in coffee and sustainable agriculture.

Per their website:

“O CAFE philosophy focuses on the production of high quality coffee accompanied by high quality service. Our values are rooted in ecologically responsible practices, supporting fair trade and sustainable agriculture. We recognize that our coffee is the result of both people and ecosystems and foster close relationships with our growers.”

O CAFE, 482 Sixth Avenue at 12th Street, (212) 229-2233 or www.ocafeny.com

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Hidden Date Spot Opens on Hudson Street

Hudson Clearwater

Hudson Clearwater has just opened in what sort of looks like an abandoned insurance office on Hudson Street.  You may need some help in discovering it, but we can help with that.  From the corner of Hudson and Bank, locate the boarded up storefront, head around back, and walk fifteen paces to the unmarked green door that is the entrance.

Once you enter you will find yourself in a garden that will be open for al fresco dining in the warmer months.  Enter the restaurant and find yourself surrounded by marble countertops, reclaimed wood tables, hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, and a beautiful bar.  Check out the Photos and the Menu.

The restaurant also offers a private dining room (as if the hidden storefront wasn’t already enough!).  They are accepting reservations now.

Hudson Clearwater, 447 Hudson Street, (212) 989-3255 orhttp://hudsonclearwater.com

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SoHo Pop-up Restaurant to Open For Nine Months

Cobblestone street in SoHo

What Happens When, an elegant restaurant project supported by Kick Starter, is set to open next Tuesday, 1/25/11, in SoHo.  According to their website, Kick Starter “is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.”  The restaurant intents to open every month for nine consecutive months with a new theme and then will close its doors for good.  Every table will have a drawer and all of the accoutrement of the evening will be there (e.g. anything from tweezers to an acetylene torch).

The planned menus are being guarded as closely held secrets.  However, word on the street is that you should expect an amalgamation of Michelin-star chefs, live marching bands, and avant-garde ambient sounds.

What Happens When, 25 Cleveland Place, (212) 925-8310 or www.WhatHappensWhenNYC.com (open now)

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Preservationists Push for NYU to Consider FiDi for Expansion Plans

A view of the park showing the Washington Squa...

Washington Square Park

As NYU proceeds with its efforts to bring to fruition its massive expansion plans in Greenwich Village, preservationists are promoting alternative ideas.  With commercial vacancy rates in the nearby Financial District at less than desirable levels and the anticipated completion of millions of additional square feet of commercial space at the World Trade Center, some believe it would make great sense for the university to focus its growth further downtown.  The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation wrote to key city officials promoting their alternative.  These officials will ultimately decide whether to approve NYU’s request zoning changes and special approvals they would need to add their proposed two million square feet of buildings to the Washington Square Park area (i.e. about the amount of space in the Empire State building).

In February, the public review and approval process will begin the “scoping process” for the rezoning application during which the environmental impact of the proposed changes will be evaluated.  We will keep you updated as new information is available.

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West Village Landmarks Applications Webpage Launches

Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village

Commerce Street in the West Village

The Greenwich Village Society for Historical preservation launched the Landmarks Applications Webpage which, according to the website, maintains “A running record of applications to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for work on landmarked properties in Greenwich Village, NoHo, Gansevoort Market, the South Village, and the East Village that require a public hearing.”  Visitors to the page can check the status of landmarks applications, find the dates and times of committee meetings, or read about proposed changes in the neighborhood.

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