What The New, Mammoth Butter Says About New York

by BILLY GRAY · April 8, 2010

Richie Akiva and Joe Sitt will open a 13,000 square foot satellite of Lafayette Street mainstay Butter in the Meatpacking District. The "small restaurant" (complete with a 5,000 square foot roof deck) reflects some big current developments as the local scene churns turns.




The Meatpacking District is a cockroach that will outlive us all. Like a wizened Michael Corleone in stilettos, just when you think the Meatpacking District is out, it's pulled back in. Remember all the fuss about news agencies having a Britney Spears obituary at the ready during her wild years? Same goes for the Meatpacking. The Standard opened on the western fringe of the old Gansevoort Market in early '09 and, in the minds of scenesters if not locals and NYC nostalgists, rescued the neighborhood from B&T-clogged oblivion. Abe & Arthur's, Bill's Bar & Burger and 675 Bar followed the Standard's defibrillator jolt. Soho House resolved to be cool again. But wait! The Meatpacking District still kinda sucks, right? Butter will get the debate going, once again.

If Brooklyn used to be the new Downtown, Downtown is the new Brooklyn. (Sorry, Chiara.) Emaciated Bushwick hipsters reluctantly ate the pizza at Motorino's Brooklyn outpost--it's either in Williamsburg or Bushwick, depending on the realtor you ask--before the restaurant hopped the river to the East Village. But Sam Sifton didn't (glowingly) review it until its Manhattan branch opened.  Same goes for the Hecho en Dumbo taqueria, which kept its Kings County-ish name despite a move to the Bowery. Gawker noted the trend in a post about frenzied gallery openings. And now Sitt, a Brooklyn native and man best-known for his dealing with Coney Island is coming to 14th Street. Everything old...

There Are No Nightclubs, Only Restaurants. Why has "nightclub" become such a dirty word in this town? The answers range from Jersey Shore associations to liquor license complications to assuaging a Footloose-style local government and Community Boards comprised entirely of elderly shut-ins. The team behind Marquee opened Avenue, a "gastro lounge" with "table service" that in no way resembled bottle service. Beatrice Inn and Rose Bar alums Paul Sevigny and Nur Khan teamed up with ace chef Joey Campanaro (Little Owl) for Kenmare (Not the New Beatrice). And Montauk invaders (Surf Lodge) from the likes of Jamie Mulholland (Cain) stressed food over partying. It's not a new phenomenon (think Indochine, Odeon), but has certainly revved up.

Then again, maybe all this project demonstrates is that New York City is following in North Carolina's footsteps.

(Photo 2 via AmandaCharlotte)