Shakers restaurant primed to make strikes within the West Village

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You will have heard of the Shakers, a celibate sect recognized for his or her furnishings and ecstatic dancing, if not their meals.

Now Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, who simply received this yr’s James Beard Basis’s greatest New York Metropolis cooks award for his or her beloved Italian hotspot Through Carota, are planning a Shaker restaurant at 50 Commerce St. within the West Village early subsequent yr.

The Shakers don’t have anything to do with the Italian and French meals for which these cooks are recognized. However Shaker meals, like Tuscan fare, is predicated on subtle simplicity — and, the cooks say, it’s an ideal match for his or her neighborhood.

“We all the time wished to do early American, with Shaker design and early Shaker cookbooks. It matches in with the structure and historical past of this neighborhood. We are going to fill it with antiques, similar to what we’ve at house,” Williams instructed Facet Dish throughout a sit-down interview at her first restaurant, Buvette, with Sodi by her facet.

The Shakers had been based in 1747 and settled in upstate New York — Watervliet, close to Albany — within the 1770s. They’re apparently down to 2 residing members, resulting from their strict celibacy guidelines and their resolution to cease taking in orphans. Their legacy consists of outdated cookbooks.

Sodi and Williams received impressed to create Shaker meals because of a group of 19th-century cookbooks in Williams’ household.

Early American “founding fathers” meals additionally occurs to be on pattern.

Simply ask prime chef José Andrés, who launched America Eats Tavern in Georgetown, DC, which options dishes like Ben Franklin’s milk punch; Jamestown shrimp and grits from 1607; braised brief ribs from a 1660 recipe; and an 1802 mac and cheese dish from Lewis Fresnaye, a refugee from the French Revolution.

However simply what, precisely, is Shaker meals?

Assume “do-it-yourself mayonnaise, noodle soup, thick slabs of bacon, cured ham, recent rolls, poached carrots, little scorching truffles — and plenty of recent farm meals,” Williams mentioned.

Herbs are an enormous a part of the menu.

“It has the identical type of simplicity as Through Carota. But it surely’s American in an enormous approach. I can’t wait to make use of buttermilk and dill, and to make shoo-fly pies,” Williams mentioned.

Whereas Williams was raised in California, her mom grew up close to Amish/Shaker nation in Pennsylvania, whereas Sodi was raised in Florence.

Now the cooks are going by their assortment of outdated cookbooks and heading to the New York Public Library for analysis into outdated menus.

Will probably be the cooks’ fifth West Village eatery, their third collectively, and a significant addition to their rising empire.

Final month, the married couple opened Bar Pisellino at 52 Grove St. and Seventh Avenue South, across the nook from Through Carota, which they opened in 2014. Sodi additionally has the traditional Tuscan eatery, I Sodi. In 2011, Williams opened Buvette, a French “gastrotheque.” There’s one other one in Paris. The couple met in 2008, when Williams — then at Keith McNally’s Morandi — dined at I Sodi’s bar.

The 50 Commerce St. area is 1800 sq. ft, and it comes with a 1500-square-foot prep kitchen within the basement. The deal was brokered by Winick Realty Group director Charles Rapuano and Matthew Schuss of Jones Lang LaSalle.


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