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Inside Exchange Alley: New Orleans Flair from an Employees Only Owner

Back in June, Paul Gerard, the chef who took over the short-lived Zi’Pep space on Ninth Street, told us he would open Exchange Alley with Billy Gilroy, a partner in West Village hotspot Employees Only. So what does “New York with a New Orleans flair” look like? Watch our video of yesterday’s opening night festivities to find out.

Yesterday Mr. Gerard, who was a chef in New Orleans before most recently serving as chef of Soho House, said he would be preparing a frequently changing menu using, in part, ingredients from a backyard garden that he hoped would be used by local schoolchildren. “Some days I’m enamored with pasta, other days I’m enamored with tomatoes,” he said. “By the time the tomato season is just about over, I’ll be enamored with root vegetables and game.” The bar, backed by mirror-finished stainless steel, will serve beer-and-wine cocktails till 2 a.m. on weekends.

The walls are decorated with photos of some of Mr. Gerard’s creative inspirations, including downtowners like Lou Reed and Miguel Piñero. The chef is hoping to tap into the new make-up of the neighborhood, which has changed a lot since his younger days living in Alphabet City. Read more…

Curtis Brown Will Open The Cardinal With American Apparel’s Dov Charney as Investor

curtis-Courtesy of Curtis Brown

Curtis Brown, the former frontman of rock band Bad Wizard who became chef at Bubby’s, has left his gig at the Tribeca comfort-food standby and will open his own place at 234 East Fourth Street. Named after the bird of his home state of North Carolina (Mr. Brown was born in Asheville in 1972 and moved to New York City in 1996), The Cardinal is expected to open around Aug. 14, and will offer a “90 percent Southern” menu consisting of Memphis-style ribs, North Carolina-style pulled pork, and Texas-style brisket, as well as non-barbecue items such as lard biscuits, fried chicken, and fried pork chops with red-eye gravy.  Among the restaurant’s investors is Dov Charney, the notorious founder of American Apparel.

Mr. Brown’s front-of-house partner in the restaurant is Leanne Hebert-Nguyen, who worked at the clothing company for two years (before that, she was a manager at restaurants in Montreal). “He’s a friend of hers and we were looking for investors and he got involved,” said Mr. Brown of Mr. Charney’s “hands-off” role. “He’ll be here opening night— that kind of situation. And he gives us any support he can, helping us find stuff like light fixtures for the restaurant.”

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