Gabe Stulman's four-year-old Italian restaurant Perla is getting a new home closer to its siblings Fedora, Bar Sardine, Joseph Leonard, and Jeffrey's Grocery. Later this winter, Stulman will close his critically acclaimed Minetta Lane restaurant and move it to the space on the corner of West 4th and West 10th streets that previously housed The Windsor and Charles. Stulman says that Perla is successful in its current location, but this new space will allow it to become more of the "great neighborhood restaurant" that he'd always envisioned.
Last year, while working as a maitre d' at Bar Sardine across the street, Stulman saw The Windsor close and an auction sign go up in the window. That's when he got the idea for the move. Gabe explains:
When I saw that corner, the first that jumped out to me was, "That's where Perla should be." I debated whether I should be coming up with a new concept there. And to me, the reality was....I thought the clear, right choice was rather than start something new and start with a new concept, I felt like I had something that was beautiful that I had not fully realized yet. And that's Perla. I think I need to focus on fully realizing Perla before I should be focused on doing something else. And the reality is that, if that space was available when we were building Perla the first time, I would have put Perla there, hands down.
It seems to me like that's exactly where Perla should be. I think about knowing that Montmartre is closing, and I think that if we bring Perla even closer, it's like bringing our community a little bit tighter. And when I think about what I always wanted Perla to be...I wanted it to be the Italian version of Joseph Leonard.
In keeping with the idea of an all-day neighborhood restaurant, the new Perla will be open for lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends. The new space is smaller than the old one, but Gabe was drawn to the French doors, the basement storage, and the fact that it's on a corner with a lot of foot traffic.
Jack Harris will remain the chef, and Lindsey Prokscha, the pastry chef at Jeffrey's, will be making desserts. Reservations will be available via Resy, and Stulman also promises that the wine list will have "lots of options under 60." He says that these new digs will allow his team to "focus more attention on fewer guests" at a time. Stulman notes:
I think by moving it to this new location we're going to be able to continue to build upon a lot of changes that we started really successfully last June and continue to keep it at the lower price point and build upon it being lighter, more year-round fare. We'll continue to make it a year-round room, and not just a winter and fall room, and really fulfill that idea of it being a great neighborhood Italian restaurant that you can go to three or four times a week.
The last service on Minetta Lane will be in the middle of February, and if everything goes according to plan, the new Perla will make its debut at 234 West 4th Street the first week in March. For those keeping track at home, this will be Gabe's fourth restaurant on a West Village corner — and technically his sixth if you count his previous partnerships in The Little Owl and Market Table. Stulman remarks: "I love West Village corners. I understand them. I am a firm believer that there are few pieces of real estate that have more heart and soul and charm and warmth than a West Village corner."