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