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Eater Inside BLOCKBUSTER: Minetta Tavern, Pt. 1

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[Krieger, 2/23/09]

Greenwich Village: Well, hello gorgeous. Step on inside, you ask? Have a look around? Perhaps a drink at the bar? Why, it would be our pleasure.

What you see above is the glory that is the new, revamped, McNallyfied Minetta Tavern, a 72 year-old restaurant saved from the brink of closure last spring by Keith McNally and finishing prep for its reopening on March 12. We present this sneak preview in two parts. First: establishing shots. Fans of the old Minetta Tavern will be happy to see the caricatures, murals, paraphernalia, bar, and ceiling all there and intact while the walls and floors received the classic McNally gloss-over. Those familiar with the Minetta story, please take a look around and stay tuned for the detail shots.

Opened in 1937, the red-sauce Italian restaurant once served as a gathering spot for Greenwich Village locals, famed and not, and became known for its caricatures (drawn by many in exchange for dinner) and murals lining the wall. But by 2008, Minetta had receded into one of those classic old New York restaurant everyone said they loved but rarely went to. That sad reality, paired with a rent increase, led the owner to sell. The rumored going rate, paid by Sir Keith McNally: $1.2 million.

At first, the community worried they'd lose an old gem and gain a new Pastis, but McNally assured the masses he would be keeping the interior, the look, and the ambiance intact. Weeks after approval by the community board, McNally announced Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, the chefs at Balthazar and Pastis, would be partners in the restaurant, executing the French brasserie menu, and on May 6, the restaurant closed for the nearly nine months of renovation.

In that time, few menu details have been released, but we do know this: they'll be serving the Black Label burger from Pat LaFrieda, as well as "old-fashioned dishes such as fried frogs' legs and crispy pig's trotters as well as pricier prime meats catering to more au courant tastes." Stay tuned for more as we approach the March 12 liftoff date.
· All Minetta Tavern Coverage [~E~]

Minetta Tavern

113 MacDougal Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 475-3850 Visit Website

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