Popular Midtown Italian trattoria Bice Cucina — started in Milan in 1926, brought to New York City in 1987, and now a global brand — makes its return to NYC on Wednesday.
Co-owner Peter Guimaraes and his partners are relaunching the restaurant today at 62 West 55th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, around the corner from where it originally was when it shuttered in January 2014 after nearly 30 years.
A highlighted area of the menu calls out Bice classics such as osso bucco, lobster tagliatelle, ravioli massaia, lobster salad, and veal Milanese. New dishes include sandwiches and varieties of pinsa — a Roman flatbread — which required special machines to be flown in from Italy. It’s made with three flours and is “lighter, crisper and uses less oil” than traditional pizza, Guimaraes says. Among the options are margherita, sausage and mushroom, and prosciutto with arugula. The full menu is below.
The new, 175-seat space has a large outdoor patio with its own bar. An afternoon “Italian aperitif,’’ similar to a happy hour with complimentary bites, will be offered in the afternoons. The restaurant is full of greys and silvers, including in the concrete floor, a marble bar, wood paneling, and crown moldings.
“This is a more fun Bice, which is geared to a younger audience as well as longtime patrons, and it will be a little more casual,’’ Guimaraes says.
While a return may be celebrated by its tony regulars — the Times once said it was “too chic, too crowded, too self-consciously European — yet everyone wants to visit” — toward the end of its tenure, Bice’s time in NYC was troubled. The restaurant was often at odds with its unionized workers, who demanded higher pay, and original owner Roberto Ruggeri had to sell in 2011 after falling behind on rent, bills, and taxes. Guimaraes did not return an inquiry on if workers are unionized this go round.
In addition to the other 20 Bice branches around the world from Shanghai to Palm Beach, the partners are planning more in Manhattan, potentially on the Upper East and West Sides and in Nomad.