Daniel Rieger and Evan Rosenberg met a few years ago, when Rosenberg worked with Rieger at an online reservation system for bars and clubs. Now they’re getting ready to launch a restaurant together in Midtown East, where they’ve spied an opportunity for a hipper, more lively concept than what currently exists. If everything goes to plan, Atwood Kitchen & Bar Room (986 Second Avenue) will make its debut next week.
“Midtown, and this exact location, is so close to corporate and residential buildings,” says Rieger.
“There’s foot traffic unlike anything else in the city,” says Rosenberg. “You can stand outside of the property, and there are hundreds of people walking by there at all times.”
But there aren’t many restaurants that serve both the after-work needs of office workers looking to decompress after a long day and residents who want a place to dine and celebrate weekend occasions.
“What we’re really planning here is that super-high-energy restaurant feel in Midtown East that doesn’t really exist over there,” says Rieger. “It’s a perfect mix of a neighborhood bar with great food and great energy. The overall feel and comfort will encourage people to come for a drink after work and stay for a great meal.”
“It’s a great date spot,” adds Rosenberg.
The partners gave the two-story space a “rustic feel,” says Rosenberg. It’s outfitted with antique mirrors, Edison bulbs, and exposed brick and piping. “It has a dark, comforting vibe,” says Rosenberg.
Brad Warner, who has worked at The General and Dos Caminos, is helming the kitchen; he’s been tasked with creating a menu of “approachable but exciting food,” he says. “Dishes are shareable and engage the diner.” He cites mussels, a variety of toasts, and tuna hamachi tartare. “My goal [is] to have very refined plating that’s visually appealing as well as delicious,” he adds.
And the team enlisted cocktail master Gil Bouhana of Milk & Honey to consult on the cocktail list; he’s put together a menu of mostly craft cocktails — and classics — that work in a fun, fast-paced environment.
General manager Keith Dorrow, who came aboard from Tao, says the team hopes this combination of food and drink brings in a crowd all day. “We’re trying to capture everyone from 11:30 a.m. to late night,” he says.
Once it opens, Atwood Kitchen & Bar Room will serve dinner, and it’ll have space for private events as well. It plans to debut brunch and lunch in 2015.