Michael White and the Altamarea Group have crossed the final hurdle towards opening Caffe Morini & Enoteca next to Osteria Morini, their Soho restaurant. The new venture will occupy 216 Lafayette Street and feature a menu of "small plates, meat, cheese and panini" according to an Altamarea representative
It has been a long journey. White originally wanted to expand Osteria Morini itself into the adjacent space, extending the size of the dining room under the existing liquor license. But a group of area residents successfully blocked that move. Then he switched strategy, and instead of a full blown restaurant with a hard liquor license, attempted to get approval for Caffe Morini & Enoteca, a more casual, beer and wine only operation. That move was also met with resistance, but the New York State Liquor Authority ultimately granted the beer and wine license. Caffe Morini & Enoteca is expected to open early next year.