With the ongoing pandemic’s impact on dining slowly diminishing, the number of new restaurant and bar concepts can sometimes feel like it is skyrocketing, so here’s a report on some of the latest places that have come to our attention.
In 2009, Atomic Wings was a small chain with about 10 locations splattered around the city. Now, there are more of them and some even as far and wide as the suburbs of Albany and deep into Long Island. More pertinently, one of them opened last month with mild fanfare on Myrtle Avenue, taking the place of a poorly trafficked Pizza Hut near the Ridgewood-Glendale border. The bright blue and orange branding and splashes of 2000s internet coloring will bring to mind hours spent watching reruns of Naruto under the glow of light paler than the moon on a starry night. By the time you read this, you will be too late to catch the free Sony Playstation 5 allegedly given away to a lucky customer last month to celebrate the franchise’s move. (100 lucky customers also received free orders of waffle fries. This is a real speciality of the brand, which seemingly batters them in the same spice as curly fries.)
Atomic Wings is located at 6051 Myrtle Avenue. Call them at (718) 769-8300.
The stretch of Ridgewood that quietly turns into the far eastern ex-warehouses of Williamsburg may not be the hottest spot in town. But it maintains a solemn, dignified quietude that largely does not interact with the kids trekking to the Knockdown Center or the occasional arresting gallery show. On one of these unremarkable corners, across from an enormous cemetery, the lifetime of Drunken Fish Sushi & Lounge had passed by largely unremarked. Now, in its place, is Gonzo’s: a spot for self-proclaimed Venezulean fusion fare that opened two months ago. By fusion, this means pepitos stuffed with steak, chicken, bacon and melted American cheese and topped, if the menu can be believed, with ketchup and mustard (this is the “Gonzo’s” pepito, which goes for $17). The name of the restaurant can also be read in bright pink neon on a wall of greenery. Underneath it reads: “good vibes only.”
Gonzo’s is located 5235 Metropolitan Avenue. Call them at (518) 654-3613 or hit up them on Instagram.
Cafe Restaurant El Parce
The ribbons still say “Grand Opening” at El Parce, a Colombian bakery and cafe that opened last month on Woodward Avenue, joining such recent neighbors as HBO comedian John Wilson’s favorite bookstore (Topos) and the Pinterest-worthy gift shop Stay Forever. Taking the place of a quiet window installation business, El Parce sets its sights on neighborhood pleasures. There are crispy empanadas made of corn flower, and rows of Colombian pastries fill display glass like pointillistic impressions. A loud poster also advertises jugos “El Parce”: batidos that come in guava, blackberry, mango and guanábana. Heavier items on the menu include skirt steak ($25) and friend snapper ($21).
El Parce is located at 758 Woodward Avenue. Call them at (347) 493-9183.
Sobre Masa Tortilleria
While nowhere near the first taco shop in Bushwick to double as a tortilla factory – Mi Barrio Tortilleria has been around for over fifty years and Los Hermanos is still going – the publicity campaign for the latest endeavor from a former chef at Central Park’s Per Se landed largely identical notices last month from the Times, Eater, Thrillist, Time Out and here. Much like there are prestige movies, there are also prestige restaurants. And the critics are right: the burlap sacks filled with corn are charming. They speak frankly to the former warehouse’s past in a way that most of the other restaurants inside former warehouses do not. Similarly, Wangeman’s small menus come out in little cardboard cards and are explained helpfully. (“The gringas are basically like quesadillas,” a waitress tells me about one of them, which goes $7 a pop.) The vibe: elevated Tacombe. Come in before they get the spot on the bib gourmand list they are gunning for and it gets too crowded.
Sobre Masa Tortilleria is located at 52 Harrison Place. Catch up with them on Instagram.
Juanito’s is the project of Juan Orellana, who can be found behind the counter most days at his new slice shop on Cypress Avenue. It’s the man’s first solo operation after working behind the counter at a joint called Carlo’s Pizza in Port Washington. For the past month, Orellana has been minting out a thin kind of crust that comes with the choice of embellishments galore: baked ziti, eggplant and strips of grilled chicken can be found behind the glass. But on a windy late autumn day, a vodka slice does just fine as the rain batters the windows of the former iron work supply store.
Juanito’s is located at 953 Cypress Avenue. Call them at (347) 889-5214 or (347) 889-5254.
Ridgewood Taco Company
Getting tacos in Ridgewood is always an adventure: some of the best come from a truck called the Big Boss that sits outside the Rite Aid on Myrtle Avenue. Now, more of them can be found on a busy corner near the Forest Avenue M station, home previously to a pizzeria called Big Apple Pizza, among other fallen businesses. The fresh layer of paint and a new ornamental moniker also helps. The basics come by easy at RTC: the tacos cost $4 each and come in silver aluminum that crinkles easily and an array of filling burritos come in at around $10 or so each, just like at Chipotle.
Ridgewood Taco Company is located at 6689 Forest Avenue. Call them at 718-456-8226.
Cherry On Top
Some artists pay the bills by designing art for restaurants, which is what Cerise Zelenetz did before opening Cherry On Top, an emporium for her twee, Wes-Anderson-meets-Madeline style that also doubles as a wine bar. Backed by the owners of Sami & Susu in the Lower East Side, Zelenetz shares her business partners’ interest in reinventing the Left Bank. (She tells Eater the concept is based on a “Parisian wine bar.”) The menu comes on a single card and includes dressed-up old school bar food like pickled eggs, cubed cheese and anchovies, which come paired with radishes. Conveniently, her wine selections fit on a single page too. In one of the bathrooms, Zelenetz has scrawled on the wall, in pen-red ink “Quel Dommage,” which I understand translates to: What a pity!
Cherry On Top is located at 379 Suydam Street. Catch them on Instagram.
Do you have a suggestion for “Openings”? Let me know at [email protected].
All photos: Andrew Karpan. (unless otherwise stated)
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