Why the East Village?

We asked our favorite restaurant, shop and bar owners.



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Stephanie Pappas, owner, Eva NY boutique
355A Bowery between 3rd and 4th Sts (212-925-3890, evanewyork.net). Opened March 2009.
“I was in Nolita before, for eight years. It was an up-and-coming neighborhood that never took. The East Village has a more creative crowd that also has money. I think that this is the ideal location.”

Pam Nelson, co-owner, Butter Lane
123 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-677-2880, butterlane.com). Opened November 2008.
“The East Village didn’t really have cupcake coverage. The West Village has Magnolia. Billy’s is in Chelsea. Sugar Sweet Sunshine is in the Lower East Side. Those are the three biggies. Crumbs we don’t really count as the competition; it’s a different kind of cupcake. The East Village reflects our brand. Our manager trades cupcakes for drinks when she leaves at night. We borrow ingredients from nearby shops. We borrow change. It’s a much different experience from what we would have gotten on Madison Avenue.”

David Chang, chef-owner, Momofuku empire (momofuku.com)
Momofuku Noodle Bar: 171 First Ave between 10th and 11th Sts (212-777-7773). Opened August 2004.*Momofuku Ssm Bar: 207 Second Ave at 13th St (212-254-3500). Opened August 2006. * Momofuku Ko: 163 First Ave between 10th and 11th Sts (no phone). Opened March 2008.*Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar: 207 Second Ave at 13th St (212-254-3500). Opened November 2008.
“It was just a space that was available at the time. The West Village was too expensive, and I never wanted to go uptown. After I signed the lease, I moved next door and that sealed the deal. And if we are going to open up a second restaurant, it should be in walking distance. When we moved in, there were remnants of the old East Village and now that is gone—like the old Polish shops. People probably hate our fucking guts for it, but it was not by choice.”

Amanda Cohen, chef-owner, Dirt Candy
430 E 9th St between First Ave and Ave A (212-228-7732, dirtcandynyc.com). Opened October 2008.
“I knew I wanted a small restaurant, and the East Village is really conducive to mom-and-pop restaurants. It makes sense to have a small restaurant in the East Village, whereas, say, if you had one in the Meatpacking District, it would just get lost. I knew when we started looking that the Lower East and East Village were the best neighborhoods for a small vegetarian restaurant. You have to go with your demographics. You’re not that far from NYU, and there are a lot more younger people. Vegetarianism doesn’t have to appeal to a younger crowd, but often it does.”

Paul Grieco, co-owner, Hearth and Terroir
Hearth: 403 E 12th St at First Ave (646-602-1300, restauranthearth.com). Opened November 2003.*Terroir: 413 E 12th St between First Ave and Ave A (no phone, wineisterroir.com). Opened March 2008.
“When we opened Hearth in November of 2003, [the East Village] afforded us a venue that we could simply afford. The space itself was awesome—it had been a restaurant, so the build-out cost was not that much, and the space was big. [For Terroir], it was the proximity to Hearth. A great deal of the food is prepared at Hearth; we walk it down the street. We believe we have been upping the ante of the East Village—there was a time earlier in the decade when people talked about the East Village, they thought cheap.”

Rick Smith, owner, Sakaya
324 E 9th St between First and Second Aves (212-505-7253, sakayanyc.com). Opened December 2007.
“Being a store that specializes in sake, we wanted to be among the Japanese community. We wanted to be in an area where they are concentrated and where they do their shopping. The East Village was our No. 1 choice. We considered Nolita, the Lower East Side, but really this was our primary focus. The rents are a little bit more reasonable here for what we were looking to do than some of the other downtown-type locations. One last thing is that I used to live about four blocks from here, so I have a fondness for the neighborhood from having lived here in the 1980s.”

Take back the East Village
Once, the East Village was the shit. Is there any cool left? We found out.

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