For his follow up to the Red Farm restaurants and the duck-centric Decoy, Ed Schoenfeld is opening a new bistro in the old All’Onda space on East 13th Street with Zod Arifai, the chef behind recently-shuttered Montclair, New Jersey establishment Blu. During his time at that restaurant, Zod earned some raves from local critics and foodies, including dearly departed writer Josh Ozersky, who called him "one of those singular, eccentric, brilliant figures that you occasionally see in the restaurant business." Jeffrey and Zach Chodorow are also partners in this new venture.
Dubbed The Mess — as in "mess hall" — the restaurant will feature a main dining room on the second floor as well as a casual cafe on the ground floor that will be open during the day. Eventually, Schoenfeld and Arifai also want to have some type of grab-and-go option on the sidewalk out front, to appeal to the many students and people who work in the area. Ed Schoenfeld tells Eater that he's wanted to do something with Arifai for years:
Without question, he is a world-class great, creative chef who is setting up shop in New York City, whose dream is really to have a three-star Michelin restaurant, and he came to me many years ago. We became friends — he cooked the food at my wedding — and Jeffrey had this space. We’re not opening a three-star Michelin restaurant. We’re opening a modern New York bistro that’s very personal in terms of the food that Zod’s created for the restaurant. And it’s a lot like Red Farm: It’s finely crafted, very delicious, there’s an element of fun to it, and it’s very accessible.
Schoenfeld expects to finish up hiring around the end of December and get the restaurant open in early winter 2017. The space isn’t getting a major renovation, but it will be redecorated by Sasha Bikoff, who Shoenfeld calls the "it girl of the interior design world." Stay tuned for more details on the opening of The Mess as it they become available.