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Gjelina’s NYC Restaurant Sounds a Whole Lot Like the Popular LA Original

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A liquor license application shows it will have a bakery in the morning

The pastry case at Gjusta in Venice
The pastry case at Gjusta in Venice
Photo via Matt Winter Design

The new NYC restaurant from the quintessentially modern Californian team behind Gjelina may include a bakery and a coffee shop in the morning along with evening table service — suggesting that pastries from the team’s equally popular bakery Gjusta could end up here.

According to a liquor license application filed to Manhattan Community Board 2, Fran Camaj, Travis Lett, and Shelley Armistead have not yet named their planned, 167-seat and two level restaurant at 45 Bond Street, between Bowery and Lafayette Street. But the app does note some details that suggest they’ll be keeping the same DNA of their wildly popular LA restaurants.

One section of the application, a “public interest statement” arguing for why they should receive a license, says the restaurant will be “open in the morning and serve the local community as a bakery and coffee shop,” with freshly made pastries and baked goods. Tables, as well as two bars with food service, will be used for full-service dining. A sample menu submitted as part of the application is virtually identical to the original LA Gjelina, with a selection of pizzas, vegetable dishes, salads, and plates such as duck confit and mushroom toast. Cocktails, wine by the glass, and beer are on tap are also listed as potential menu items.

The Gjelina team did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The team has been working on this location since at least spring of 2016, when Lett, Cemaj, and Armistead filed documentation with the government in hopes of raising $4 million. The landlord of the space has said that they opened a farm upstate in Rhinebeck specifically for the restaurant, keeping in line with Gjelina’s farm-to-table and local ethos.

Gjelina is known for being an uber-hip and culinarily influential LA restaurant that helped define the pan-Mediterranean and seasonal cuisine that people now know as “new California.” It, along with its bakery and deli offshoot Gjusta, is acclaimed and frequently crowded.

The team has been tight-lipped about what a New York version of the restaurant would look like, but judging by the application, it won’t be a total 180 from the California restaurants. Gjelina has a take-out space and full-service dining, and Gjusta is very much “a bakery and coffee shop” for the community. It serves items such as bread, chocolate olive oil cake, fruit pies, and a baklava croissant that LA Times called “a marvel” in a three-star review.

With the liquor license application rolling, the opening of the restaurant itself is surely not too far off either.

Additional reporting by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya