Taavo Somer and Carlos Quirarte Planning ‘French New Wave Health’ Restaurant in Failed Antonioni’s Space on Chrystie Street

Posted on: April 13th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Where Antonioni’s failed, Taavo Somer hopes to strike again. After all, 177 Chrystie Street (corner of Rivington) is literally part of his backyard; everyone else is just living in it.

Taavo Somer, the established restaurateur behind the popular destination, Freeman’s, is in talks to transform the former home of Antonioni’s into a new French restaurant. According to application materials submitted to Community Board 3, he’s paired up with Carlos Quirarte, a co-owner of the overpriced sub-level cafe, The Smile.

This new Lower East Side venture (“Swiss White Int’l LLC”) seemingly has gimmick written all over it – a sixteen-table restaurant that specializes in “French New Wave health food.” To fulfill this goal, the duo seeks an OP liquor license, with intentions to stay open until 2am, seven days a week. There are eighteen OP’s within 500 feet (it’s getting there).

Given the collective pedigree and the fact that 177 Chrystie was already licensed, it’s hard to imagine this not netting approval. Moreover, if the deal goes through and full liquor is secured, Somer will basically command a large section of the block. Freeman’s, Freeman’s Sporting Club, Freeman’s Sporting Club Barber, and on and on…

On paper, the corner of Chrystie and Rivington should be a shoo-in for success. Great exposure, lots of traffic, but still rough around the edges. But that’s not entirely the case. Many in the vicinity are of the belief that Antonioni’s couldn’t hack it due to its aggressive pricing. Like so many similar failed projects, its time behind plywood (2 years) far exceeded the time in business (1.5 years).

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