Latest York City’s prodigal chef Todd English has returned to open his first Big Apple restaurant in greater than 20 years, Side Dish has learned.
English – who made waves with Olives NY on the W Hotel in Union Square when it opened in 2000, and who launched a national food court trend along with his eponymously named Plaza Hotel food hall – will helm Pappas Taverna in Greenwich Village.
The wood-fired Greek restaurant, which opens its doors Feb. 15, will provide a contemporary, playful tackle Mediterranean cuisine, offer a $275-per-person 40-seat chef’s tasting room and serve $3,500 bottles of wine by the glass, English told Side Dish.
“I try to provide it a bit little bit of a twist with some layers, like torched tuna — adding flavors and textures on top of tradition. That’s the exciting part,” said English, who’s partnering with restaurateur Stratis Morfogen on the enterprise.
The 11,000-square-foot eatery will open in a landmark constructing at 103 Macdougal Street, with seating for 220 inside and 50 on the sidewalk. It would even have a Chefs’ Room with 40 seats — and no menu – costing $175 per person, or $275-a-plate if lobster and porterhouse steak are included.
“The chefs will cook until the table gives up,” Morfogen said. “They’ll have eight courses. Chef English and [chef de cuisine] Pavlos Devaris will seek the advice of with the guests and cook based on their preferences, more meat, or fish, or vegetarian.”
Pappas Taverna will even offer any of its wines by the glass — including from a 2009 Chateau Margaux, which costs $3,470 a bottle on the restaurant. Each glass will run a wine lover $870.
Once “uncorked,” the bottle will probably be listed on a chalkboard menu for others to order.
“It becomes a really social thing,” said Morfogen, adding that the wine list will offer a big range from Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and California.
“We’re disrupting. It’s a really social thing and can work well within the Instagram world we live in.”
The wood-fired Greek restaurant opens its doors Feb. 15.
English is partnering with restaurateur Stratis Morfogen on the enterprise.
“The chefs will cook until the table gives up,” Morforgen said.
The 11,000-square-foot eatery will open in a landmark constructing at 103 Macdougal Street, with seating for 220 inside and 50 on the sidewalk.
To preserve the wine from souring, the restaurant turned to the high-tech company Coravin, which has developed a technique for inserting an “extremely thin” needle into the cork. After the wine is poured, the cork will naturally close up without damaging or destroying the seal, protecting the wine and helping it breathe.
“Using inert argon gas, the machine dispenses wine from the bottle while protecting it from oxygen entering the bottle, so every glass tastes pretty much as good as the primary,” said Greg Lambrecht, the founding father of Coravin, adding that there are also two additional models requiring the cork to be removed.
The system can preserve a wine for weeks, months and even years, the corporate claims. It’s available for home use, for $119 to $399 per system.
The restaurant – named for the Pappas restaurant Morfogen’s grandfather ran for 65 years until 1975 on W. 14th St. – will even provide takeout or delivery with a contactless system of lockers outside the restaurant.
Delivery drivers, or diners, are notified by phone when their orders are ready, and so they use a QR code to open their lockers, that are individually adjusted for temperature and labeled accordingly. Cold foods are in blue coloured lockers; hot foods are in red. Morfogen uses an identical system at his Brooklyn Dumpling Shop.
A sneak peak on the Pappas Taverna menu reveals dishes including mini-clay pots with tzatziki trios of whipped avocado and carrot hummus. Small plates feature filet mignon, torched crudo, wood roasted mussels, grilled halloumi and oak-roasted chili feta. There will even be classic oak-wood grilled fishes and meats, together with dishes like duck schwarma and pita pizzas of the day.
“Mediterranean food is delicious and healthy and what people actually need to eat now,” Morfogen said. “Todd and I actually have the identical pondering. Greek has been overexplained. We just need a fresh outlook on what Greek food could be.”
The opening has been delayed by the pandemic, in addition to supply issues.
“Two and a half years of headaches and obstacles,” Morfogen said.
In the course of the pandemic, Morfogen reconnected with English at a friend’s Halloween party and so they decided to work together.
Pappas Taverna will even offer any of its wines by the glass — including from a 2009 Chateau Margaux, which costs $3,470 a bottle on the restaurant. Stefano Giovannini
“He’s so talented. He needed to return back, put an apron on, and reclaim Latest York City,” Morfogen said. “English’s market exploded everywhere in the world, and that’s pretty sexy. But it surely was time for him to return to being an artist. Latest York City is the mecca of dining and his roots are here.”
Born within the Big Apple, the 62-year-old English was once named considered one of People’s 50 most beautiful people — and dubbed a “culinary lothario” by Page Six — almost a decade ago. English said those days are long behind him.
“I’ve learned so much since then,” English said.
Like many chefs, a few of English’s projects wound down through the pandemic — the food hall on the Plaza Hotel, for instance, closed and never reopened, nor did eateries in places like Dubai, Manilla and Abu Dhabi, although English is in talks to open latest spots in several of those cities.
His current portfolio spans the US, including a hotel in Las Vegas, and his staple restaurants Olives, Figs and others are still thriving in multiple locations, as is a restaurant within the Bahamas. Nonetheless, the Olives in Latest York closed in 2012.But other Latest York City projects are within the works, sources told Side Dish.
“Latest York is one of the best food city on the planet. I really like the energy. It’s exciting to be back in Latest York in an important situation with an important partner. I’ve been doing this for 30-plus, 35 years, and it’s like anything. You mostly should reinvent what you’re doing and keep it fresh,” English said.
***We hear…that Lincoln Ristorante is hosting a tribute dinner for the late pastry chef Richard Capizzi on Feb. 19, to lift funds for his widow, Phyllis, and their two children. For $1,250 per person, diners will enjoy a cocktail hour followed by a six-course meal with wine pairings prepared by a star-studded solid of chefs, including Thomas Keller, Shea Gallante, Jonathan Benno, Artem Orlovskyy and Chad Palagi, while pastry chefs Sebastien Rouxel, Stefanie Morgado, Kara Blitz, Katie Backlund and Scott Cioe rule the dessert collaboration.
Capizzi suffered from glioblastoma, an aggressive sort of brain cancer. He died in September at age 45.
Patina Restaurant Group conceived of the tribute dinner, which will even launch a scholarship in his honor at his alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America.
“Richard was an incredible talent and tremendous human being who graced our teams at Per Se and Bouchon Bakery. We owe to Richard how we make our Bouchons, how we make our confections, and a lot else on the bakery. His legacy is in every single place,” Keller said in a press release.