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June 5, 2013– By Steven E. Greer, MD
The Poulakakos group presented to the CB1 their detailed plans for the new 25,000 square-foot market/restaurant/bar that they are building in the ground level of the WFC 2 building (where the old SouthWest restaurant used to be located). Clearly emulating the successful Mario Batali “Eataly” market on 23rd Street and Madison Park (see our recent review), the Brookfield Place market will have a vegetable and produce market at the southern entrance near the round Cherry Tree lawn. As customers walk north, toward Vesey Street, they will encounter various specialty isles for fish, beef, etc, just like Eataly.
There will also be numerous island bars for beer, cocktails, etc. The Poulakakos group is establishments are more known for their bars than their food, so the jury is out as to whether this will be one large bar that happens to have food, or whether the food will be the focus as it is at Eataly.
If managed properly, the space could be a tremendous asset to Battery Park, obviating the $40 roundtrip cab fare to Madison Park for Eataly, and improving upon the Gristedes experience, which is the only source for produce now. If managed improperly, the Poulakakos version of Eataly will be nothing more than an airport food mall.
The CB1 board astutely noticed on the Poulakakos plans that the ability of pedestrians to walk through the WFC, indoors, without going upstairs in the current detour, might be cut off by the maze of food isles. The Brookfield buildings isolate North and South BPC, and the indoor hallway, prior to construction shutting it down, was the only pathway. As a result, the CB1 wants to have Brookfield management present more detailed plans to the board (Perhaps in response to BP.TV’s previous story that “Important decisions in BPC are made without community input).
The CB1 voted that the liquor license for Poulakakos should be approved. They also allowed the maximum 4:00 AM variety, with the promise that the outdoor seating would not be open that late.
Love to see Eataly in BPC!!