9 and i: Welcome to the Era of the Single-Character Restaurant Name

Hey, the single-character thing worked for him.
Hey, the single-character thing worked for him.

A few weeks ago, Restaurant i opened in a former Jennifer Convertibles in the Flatiron District. Next week, i Lounge, the adjoining bar, makes its debut. The resto-lounge combo will be the dining and drinking destinations for the forthcoming Hotel Gramerci, slated to open this winter.

About 20 blocks north and a few more west, another single-character restaurant is preparing to launch next week. 9 is opening in the space formerly occupied by Mangia e Bevi. Michael Berardino, formerly of dell'anima and 'inoteca, is at the helm, and will turn out Mediterranean-influenced dishes like chickpea fritters, meatball sliders, braised lamb neck, and his answer to the city's fried-chicken obsession: buttermilk fried rabbit.

The two launches beg the question: Is it a good idea to name a restaurant a single digit or letter? It might make for tricky Googling. Then again, it can't be worse than some of the other restaurant names we've seen in this town.

i 893 Broadway 646-398-9663

9 800 Ninth Avenue 212-956-3333

Have a restaurant tip or other food-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.

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