‘Shockingly Different’ Papaya King Opens Next Month, Will Serve Beer

UntitledDaniel Maurer Blake Gower and Wayne A. Rosenbaum

Papaya King unveiled its St. Marks storefront today, and its proprietors (papaya-tors?) say it’ll open during the last week of April.

At 1,100 square feet, this location is about three times the size of the Upper East Side original, and the extra room will be put to use: take a look at the construction shot below and imagine vintage video games (think Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders), a proper speaker system for pumping out music, and a projector displaying vintage footage of New York City.

Come early spring or late summer (depending on the State Liquor Authority), there will also be beer. (Likely just one tap, said Wayne A. Rosenbaum, director of operations.)

“What you’re going to see in this store is going to be shockingly different from all Papaya anything that’s been done in the city,” said Blake Gower, head of development, adding that the store would be all about “embracing the old but creating the 2.0.”

Don’t worry – the food program will feature the “exact same product, exact same everything,” according to Mr. Rosenbaum. And the colorful signage festooning the Upper East Side store will also hang here. But the menu will feature a debut item (“a very interesting creation that we’ve been testing for a while” winked Mr. Rosenbaum) and the décor will likely nod to neighborhood lore.

UntitledDaniel Maurer

“We did a lot of research on the East Village and St. Marks Place and what it means to be down here so we know what this street is all about and the history here,” said Mr. Gower. “So you’re going to see some of that inside.”

Of course, the store is just a five-block walk from that other institution, Gray’s Papaya. What’s an N.Y.U. student to do?

“We are the original in the city,” boasted Mr. Rosenbaum.

“Let that be known!” added Mr. Gower. “They were the first franchise of Papaya King back in, what, 1979? [Well, 1973, but point taken.] So, we’ve been around 80 years for a reason.”