While neighborhood game changers like Pies 'n' Thighs and to a (much) lesser degree Led Zeppole are on the mind today, it's time to take a look at the Cub Room space, presently occupied by Josh Pickard, operator of Chinatown Brasserie, Joe's Pub, Lure, and most pertinently, Locanda Verde. Given his expertise and past projects, whatever ends up happening with his American cafe here will probably be a win for Soho. But who will be at the stoves when it opens after a gut reno next year?
Two independent sources today reveal that Andrew Carmellini is eying the gig and that Pickard would (obviously) love to have him aboard. Man's blowing up at Locanda, and it would behoove him to take advantage of the momentum by expanding. Except there's one little problem: an alleged non-compete with Mr. Robert De Niro and investors.
Carmellini offers up a solid "no comment," while Pickard says he's not sure who will be involved in the project. But to speculate, it would be a misplay for Carms to back out, a la Michael White at Fiamma, given the current trajectory of Locanda. (Also, who wants to piss off De Niro?) But if he can work out a deal to handle both at once, it could be a great news for the eaters out there. Otherwise, Pickard has a strong stable of chefs and colleagues he could call upon for the gig.
· Josh Pickard Takes Cub Room, Dentons Move Into Frederick's Downtown [~E~]