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On St. Marks, Saints Tavern Comes Marching In

Care for a Malibu Barbie with that plate of frickles? You can now order just that on St. Marks Place.

Its red-and-gold exterior may be loud, but Saints Tavern opened rather quietly last week, boasting 20 beers on tap, cocktails with names like The Grapeful Dead, and a touch of Americana (a pinup photo of Marilyn Monroe faces a replica of Joe DiMaggio’s Yankees uniform).

Alfonso Londono, who owns the tavern along with partners Richard Romano and Aida Levinshon, comes from a restaurant family. He opened his first place Hoops, a college sports bar, at the age of 21, and went on to operate a Mexican restaurant and an Asian fusion concept as well as The Copper Barrel in the Financial District.

Mr. Londono thought the American vibe would help distinguish Saints Tavern from its Asian neighbors. He and his partners scoured flea markets and local shops such as Obscura Antiques to find decor such as a bear head with boxing gloves and a big fish with a soda can. On the ground floor customers can draw all over tables made of chalkboard.
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An Espresso Nook Brings Touch of Italy to St. Marks Place

Photos: Joann Pan

At the tiny coffee bar that opened on St. Marks Place yesterday, the beans aren’t the only thing that have been imported: the counter, front door, and other fixtures were designed and assembled in Lombardy, Italy by architect Beppe Riboli, and shipped over in boxes.

Giovanni Finotto and Caterina Musajo, the owners of I Am Coffee, wanted the 65-square-foot space that once held Another Wireless Shop to look and feel like an Italian terrazza. Beyond the sliding-glass front door, four people (and no more) can stand comfortably at a counter that resembles a balcony. There are toy birds by the handwritten menu, water pipes holding up shelves, exposed brick walls and Italian stone flooring — just the sort of touches you’d expect from the stylish proprietors of I Am Wine, an online artisanal wine shop.
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7-Eleven Opens Wednesday, Owner Offers ‘Peace Treaty Slurpee’

IMG_3241Stephen Rex Brown Norman Jemal, the owner of the soon-to-open 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place, is ready to bury the hatchet with whoever smashed the window of his store.

The soda machine is already operating, the fridge is getting stocked with Gatorade, and the 14 coffee dispensers are in place. The new 7-Eleven on St. Marks Place is set to open on Wednesday with a new window pane on its storefront, following vandalism during Saturday night’s anarchist-fueled mayhem.

IMG_3243Stephen Rex Brown The cracked window.

“People have the right to express themselves, hopefully non-violently and without property damage,” said the owner of the convenience store, Norman Jemal. “Everyone has the right to their own opinion — though I’m not exactly sure what their opinion is.”

Mr. Jemal had heard rumors about the rowdy goings-on at Astor Place and off of Washington Square Park that likely led to his window getting cracked, but said he was unaware of the details. After hearing about the attack on Starbucks, he sought to distance himself from other corporate businesses. “This is not a standard powerhouse chain store. They’re all franchised to people like me,” he said, adding that the replacement window is “not cheap.” Read more…

And Now, Watch a 7-Eleven Sign Go Up on St. Marks Place

As soon as The Local noticed yesterday that 7-Eleven decals had been affixed to the windows of the former Jas Mart, we dispatched news vans to the heart of St. Marks Place. They’ve been stationed there ever since, awaiting the new store’s moment of christening. Readers, that moment came mere minutes ago, and our cameras were rolling as workers hoisted the universal Slurpee sign in place.

Okay, so in all honesty, we just happened to see this on our lunch break, but don’t let that detract from the drama. A 7-Eleven rep previously told The Local that the store at 35 St. Marks Place, along with another one on 14th Street, would open by the end of July. Looks like it could be even sooner.

Update: A representative says the store should open by the end of this month.

On St. Marks, Comics on the Big Screen

St. Mark's ComicsMeghan Keneally St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Marks Place.

This summer, the posters lining the walls of movie theaters could just as easily have been found in a teenager’s bedroom as comic books are hitting the big screen. “Thor” came out in May, “Green Lantern” in June, “The Green Hornet” in July, “Captain America: The First Avenger” debuted last weekend and new teaser trailers for the prequel to Spider Man and the return of “The Dark Knight” franchise were recently released.

Gossip Web sites and fashion magazines splash pictures of Hollywood stars greeting enthusiastic fans at Comic Con, the comic book trade show which finished Sunday in San Diego.

The public attention and adoration that equals big bucks for movie studios — “Captain America” brought in $65.8 million in its first weekend — does not necessarily translate into traditional book sales.

“Good movies help, and bad movies hurt,” said Mitch Cutler of St. Mark’s Comics, one of the oldest comic book retailers in Manhattan.
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