The team behind slick Lower East Side restaurant Fat Radish is taking customer loyalty to the next level. At the company’s latest restaurant, the Orchard Townhouse in Chelsea, they’re supplementing the brasserie with a library for residents and four apartments on the top two floors — places available for their most-frequent, out-of-town diners to rent.
“We wanted it to be more than just a dining experience,” says Natalie Freihon, one of the partners at Fat Radish. “Sort of like an extension of your lifestyle.”
As its name suggests, the Orchard Townhouse, located at 242 Tenth Avenue, at the corner of West 24th Street, is located in a four-story townhouse. The restaurant, located on the ground floor and formerly home to Trestle on Tenth, focuses on American-ish comfort foods like burgers, chicken milanese, crab toast, and a crispy eggplant sandwich.
Breakfast, lunch, and brunch are available, as is a dinner menu that will expand in the coming weeks. The comfy and chic restaurant with its plush leather couches, wood-and-marble-clad bar, and gold accents, seats 50 people — an adjacent greenhouse space that’s set to open in a few weeks will add in 30 more seats.
The drinks are a nod to the neighborhood and the Sex and the City era, with twists on classic cocktails like Chelsea Sour, Perfect Manhattan, Townhouse Penicillin, and Cosmo on Draft.
But the company is also making use of the rest of the property in hopes of planting the restaurant as both a neighborhood place for Chelsea residents and as a “home away from home” for out-of-towners, Freihon says.
On the second floor, there’s a lounge space and library that will open to the public in February. It will double as a private dining room that seats 50.
And the team is in the middle of renovating the four apartments that take up the top two floors of the building. The Fat Radish, which has been open for nearly 10 years on the LES, has attracted a big fan base of people outside of New York, Freihon says. Eventually, these apartments will be available to those frequent, out-of-town diners.
The mechanics sound similar to an upscale boutique hotel, though the team doesn’t consider it one and is still working out details on who will be able to rent it. She declined to say how much they would rent for, but they will become available sometime next spring.
“When we saw this space, we thought we could create a wonderful spot for the neighborhood,” says Freihon. “A home away from home.”
When it opened in 2010, the Fat Radish was a scene-y spot for youngsters and became known for its seasonal British fare, and vegetable-focused dishes — nowadays the restaurant is known more for its neighborhood-y vibe. Since Fat Radish’s opening, the team dipped its hands into other restaurants, like former LES oyster bar the Leadbelly, UES restaurant the East Pole, and Ruschmeyer’s, a rustic-chic hotel in Montauk.
But in the past few years, the Fat Radish team decided they wanted to streamline their company — with restaurants similar to Fat Radish with a focus on seasonal fare, and a menu where vegetables often take center stage — and have sold their stakes in the other restaurants.
Freihon, a restaurant industry veteran with previous stints at Ace Hotel New York and Soho House, has spearheaded that effort along with founding partner Phil Winser. The Orchard Townhouse — the team purchased the building in 2018 — is the first major push in this new expansion effort.