Some East Village restaurateurs have started an organization to bring restaurants in the neighborhood together — both to share tips amongst each other and to attract more business as single, unified force. Nate Adler of Huertas, a founder of the group Eastville Restaurant Collective (ERC), initially thought of it as a way to exchange knowledge, such as recommended vendors or whether to switch reservation systems. "We're all dealing with some of the same issues, the ups and downs of operating in this particular neighborhood," he says. But the group has broader goals, too.
As a collective, they hope to eventually have a bigger impact on the city and on the neighborhood, like through working with community groups and nonprofits, Adler says. "There’s a reason people collaborate and create small political institutions to begin with," he says. "Just to have more influence over the general group think of the city, and make it be known, that we are a bunch of ambitious restaurants." The Brooklyn Allied Bars and Restaurants (BABAR) group, composed largely of bars and restaurants in North Brooklyn, is a similar collective that has established partnerships with the Brooklyn borough president and developed relationships with local community boards and police precincts. ERC could one day do that too, Adler says. "The goal is to pool our collective minds together and make it a more attractive neighborhood for dining," he says.
So far, just seven restaurants are part of the collective, including Virginia's, GG's, Pouring Ribbons, The Eddy, Noreetuh, and Maiden Lane. Reed Adelson of Virginia's helped to recruit the others and initially only approached a small group of enthusiastic and like-minded people to get things going. They're inviting any other restaurants who are interested to contact them for more information.
To kick things off, they're hosting monthly collaboration events at one of the restaurants. Adelson and Adler found that restaurants in the East Village tend to have the same ebb and flow of business — tons of business on Friday and Saturday night and middling traffic on weekdays. They're hoping the events will help turn the neighborhood into weekday dining for more residents, as well. The first one will be a Latin Block Party theme on Tuesday, May 10 at Huertas, with each collective restaurant serving a different type of pintxos. Part of the revenue from the event will go back into the collective for costs like flyers or charitable projects.
It's still just a baby project. But with plans for block parties and community events, they want the collective to be a part of the East Village fabric one day, Adler and Adelson say. "Come have some pinxtos, come have some drinks," Adler says. "All the restaurateurs are going to be here, hanging out. We’d love to see some people from the neighborhood come through."