Caffe Dante, the 100-year-old West Village institution, has been closed since March, when it changed hands and landed in the care of former AvroKo executive Linden Pride. It will never be what it used to be, but now it looks like Pride has decided to hang on to at least some of that identity in his revamp of the restaurant. When it opens later this summer, the new restaurant will be just be called Dante. On its website it bills itself as an "Aperitivo bar celebrating the Italian heritage of a New York institution." Instagram boldly asserts that Caffe Dante is "coming back." But how much will it actually resemble the original?
When Pride and company applied for a liquor license shortly after taking over the space, the new project was billed as a small plates restaurant with "a focus on clean, healthy eating." Chef Noriyuki Sugie, a Charlie Trotter alum, promised crudos, antipasti, and seasonal flatbreads – not a whole lot like anything at the original. Now a representative says that the concept has changed somewhat from that early plan, though in what ways is unclear. For now we only know that flatbreads are still happening. Also, don't expect the space itself to be exactly like it was it the old days. It's getting a full makeover, though the team promises they "will retain the original bones of the restaurant." At this point, only time will tell what that means exactly.