On Thursday, Danny Meyer's seminal restaurant Union Square Cafe reopens in its brand new location just a few blocks over from its home of 30 years. It's taken a bit longer than expected to get set up in the new digs, but as you can see, it's finally ready for prime time.
The new space is quite a bit larger than the original on Union Square West, boasting more seating and multiple bars, but, more importantly, plenty more room for kitchen staff to move around, prep and cook. It'll also be just as close to the all-important Union Square Greenmarket, where chef Carmen Quagliata gathers the day's produce. "I told Danny we couldn't go farther than a five-minute walk," he once said.
While the location's changed, a few things remain the same, like Executive Chef & Partner Quagliata, who's been with the restaurant since 2007, and Managing Partner Sam Lipp, who's been with Union Square Hospitality Group for some time before joining on at USC in 2011. And while the menus have certainly changed over the years, the heart and soul (and longtime favorite dishes) are still intact at the new location.
Duck Pappardelle (Paul Quitoriano/Gothamist)
"There are so many people that have come here for 30 years that come just for certain dishes all the time and those are Carmen's ricotta gnocchi, which is just a very simple dish with a tomato basil passatina," Lipp explained to us last year. "That's a dish that is not printed but if guests ask for it we do have it."
"We were all having dinner [at the former location] and I said, 'How about the gnocchi, you think that needs to stay on?' And they all looked at me like I was crazy. 'What are you, nuts?'" Quagliata recalled to us last December. "As a chef, sometimes you never get a dish like that, that's so beloved and so simple, it's timeless and perfect. I actually challenged myself and said, 'Does this need to come with us?' And that's one that everyone absolutely agreed that had to, so that's coming with us."
101 East 19th Street, 212-243-4020; unionsquarecafe.com