Here's a gimmick that's bound to work: inviting your adult Upper East Side customers to draw all over the restaurant walls in crayon. From a press release for the upcoming "blithe-of-spirit" Italian restaurant I Vandali that we repeat is geared towards adults:
"Several large blank panels line the exposed brick, eagerly awaiting vandalism. 'People are always scribbling on napkins and writing on bathroom stalls,' Carlo says amiably, 'so why not give them a chance to make their own mark on this place.'"We can think of a couple reasons, mainly that it's going to be a challenge to get Upper East Siders to take them seriously. However, we have to admit the food is affordable and at least the proprietors are showing some gumption. And of course, the author of their press release is a regular Nabokov:
New York – I VANDALI (1590 First Avenue at 83rd St.), a casual restaurant and wine bar, flings open its doors Thursday, July 3rd. Started by an unlikely trio – a plumber from Rome, a hairdresser from Calabria, and a self-described hillbilly from Lucca – the venture serves up fresh cucina povera dishes with subtle flair, including small plates for under $5 and all main courses under $25....We're guessing people will simply avoid participating in this 'vandalism'.
Menu offerings begin with several libation-inducing small plates such as crostini of lardo butter and white bean spread, baccalà mantecato (whipped salt cod...and a solid selection of cheese and cured meats. Appetizers deliver punch with seared scallops and a roasted beet salad...
Sal, Tony, and Carlo of the eponymous “Vandals”; each made signature contributions to the restaurant’s higgledy-piggledy décor for a relaxed and merry dining atmosphere. Sal’s copper pipes fringe the bar and other nooks, images torn from style magazines piling up at Tony’s salon are embedded in the dining tables, and Carlo’s hunting paraphernalia from his rural adolescent years make whimsical additions.
In keeping with the irreverent theme, the greatest departure from tradition is the standing invitation to all patrons to graffiti the restaurant walls. Several large blank panels line the exposed brick, eagerly awaiting vandalism. “People are always scribbling on napkins and writing on bathroom stalls,” Carlo says amiably, “so why not give them a chance to make their own mark on this place.” Crayons provided, but B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bravado) is very much the watchword at this blithe-of-spirit, easy-on-the-palate establishment.