Owner August Cardona and chef-owner Andrew Whitney have signed a 10-year lease in Hell’s Kitchen’s Gotham Market West, morphing their neighborhood restaurant — which in its 11 years became a go-to for pasta and wine — into a counter at the hall. “You have to adapt,” Cardona says.
Here, Cardona and Whitney say they won’t have the headache of maintaining a facility in a 200-year-old building. Food hall employees manage garbage, cleanup, and building issues. Rent is a percentage profit share rather than a monthly set amount. Downsides, though, include being able to employ fewer people and not having the same control over the environment, Cardona says.
The kitchen will be larger, though, so Whitney will have room to serve lunch. It’s a somewhat similar set-up, taking over the old El Colmado bar and still having an open kitchen with a chef’s counter. There are 22 seats in all, with 10 in front of the kitchen area. The idea is to serve the same food and geeky wine at a similar price point. Whitney is also bringing his kitchen team and general manager Danir Rincon, who charged with the wine list.
Dell’anima is the latest neighborhood restaurant to succumb to higher operating costs and rising rents, closing on December 23. It follows places like Thai destination Pok Pok, Williamsburg Southern spot the Brooklyn Star, and Portuguese Midtown restaurant Lupulo in the last year. But now it will open in this new iteration in mid-January, joining Ivan Ramen, Corner Slice, and Seamore’s, among others, in the market.
“It may not be the jewel box restaurant in the West Village, but it is what it is,” Cardona says. “We’re lucky to have this opportunity to take a beloved restaurant that we would have loved to continue to run in a space that just wasn’t working.”