Donna reopens as a worker-owned bar and restaurant

The beloved Williamsburg cocktail destination is now in the West Village.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
The dining room at Donna
Photograph: Nicholas Ruiz | The dining room at Donna

A lost Williamsburg cocktail destination is reopening in the West Village.

Donna, which closed in 2020 after almost 10 years in business, is coming back in a new iteration. As of Wednesday, May 17, Donna will be open at 7 Cornelia Street as a worker-owned restaurant and cocktail bar.

The menu will echo the original Donna’s, with flavors spanning Latin America, infused with some Mediterranean influences. The cocktail program draws from Filipino cuisine and what they describe as tropical flavors.

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Donna’s opening menu features small plates like Napa cabbage salad (with chili cumin vinaigrette and candied pepitas), smashed potato (with lime and coriander labneh), and roasted cauliflower (with chorizo-spiced whipped feta) plus hearty pupusas (such as pork shoulder and charred onion) and tostadas, including a plant-based roasted carrot tostada. Entrées include pork shoulder with za’atar and whole roasted fish with harissa and pickled vegetables. Flan is served for dessert. 

Donna’s “modern tropical” cocktail menu honors native Filipino ingredients, including rums and liqueurs,  as well as avocado and coconut, aiming to offer a sense of escapism. Highlights include the Tiny Sparrow Martini (with Vietnamese Gin and Calamansi liqueur), the Umami Old Fashioned (with shochu, Charanda Añejo rum, and mushroom), the Lolo Avo (with Charanda Añejo, Amontillado sherry, avocado, and coconut), the frozen Brancolada (Donna’s take on a Piña Colada) and more. Most beverages can also be prepared without alcohol. 

Photograph: Nicholas Ruiz

Donna’s 2.0 functions as a cooperative, meaning all workers have a chance at partial ownership in the business. Donna’s original founder, Leif Young Huckman, is now an advisor and supporter of the business, after fully transferring ownership to the team. 

The business is designed to champion employee equity and overall sustainability and can be a model of progress for the hospitality industry, its owners say.

Nearby, the recently opened Banter cafe is worker-owned, and the longstanding liquor shop Astor Wines & Spirits announced in 2022 that they’d shifted to an employee-ownership model.

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