Restaurants employ plenty of buzz tactics to lure in new customers—remember the ice bar?—but a new Bushwick diner might be the only one that encourages you to make out over your mac & cheese. Welcome to Amancay's Diner, set to debut
in a few weeks tonight at 2 Knickerbocker Avenue.
Owner Chang Han, a restaurateur known more for his jello pool parties than his finesse with food, tells us that for his latest venture, he wanted to create a kind of space where the "kids"—his term for the new residents rapidly filling up the neighborhood—would be able to eat late and hang out. "If you come out to Bushwick, there's 50 bars and maybe 20 restaurants around here that opened up in the last few years but there's no place to eat late at night," Han explains. "That's when we said, 'Let's do a 24-hour diner.'"
His menu isn't set in stone yet, but he says his ethos is "cheap and affordable," with a burger and fries under $10 and other diner fare—though with that signature Brooklyn bent. "They are very particular in what they eat," Han says of his prospective customers. "We were thinking of doing a diner but they don't want the traditional diner food; they want organic chicken, the new grains, that kind of stuff. So we're listening to what they want and trying to incorporate all of that into the menu."
Also part of the space: an 80-100 capacity performance venue downstairs. "I'm building it with a sound engineer from the New School; these guys are helping me and all these musicians have come by to tell me what they want," says Han. "They want cork boards and sound diffusers; they want it to sound nice. I asked, 'What do you want it to look like?' And they said they didn't care, they just wanted it to sound nice."
The performers may not care what the venue-diner combo looks like, but patrons certainly might. Han has decked out his 1,000 square foot eatery with all manner of knickknacks from naked Barbies in bathtubs to Sesame Street figurines; the walls are either exposed brick, exposed wood or plastered with comic strips. The Spin the [Glass Coke] Bottle table comes with dark red banquettes, because one should feel most relaxed when prepared to tongue kiss a dining companion.