In the heat of the day, we stopped in Pylos to eat a light lunch. While waiting for our horiatiki salads, we enjoyed the ambiance of contemporary and traditional styles blending as one: the clean, crisp decor clashed nicely with the ceiling strung with clay pots and the house bar topped with gray marble. Our meal arrived. Salads dressed simply in olive oil and red wine vinegar, kalamata olives, capers and feta served with warm pita on the side hit the spot. On evenings when we have been by, the restaurant is filled with people engaged in conversation and savoring their dishes. On this particular day, it was as if we sat in a shady cafe on the shores of the Mediterranean, the hum of 7th outside, the open doors giving us that al fresco feeling. Jared, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, first encountered Pylos by accident a few years ago when his family was in search of a good Greek meal. They knew they had found a winner when they saw the lively crowd spilling out of Pylos and walked inside; needless to say, they have been back many times since. For dinner, the menu consists of delicious traditional Greek recipes such as moussaka, braised lamb chops, and grilled whole fish in olive oil and herbs, and more contemporary dishes such as chickpea soup with roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions, or organic chicken farci with raisins, rosemary, thyme, and kasseri cheese over roasted zucchini and eggplant.
"The Two Faces of Italian Food" is the tagline at this restaurant and wine bar. The perfect blend they are referring to is tradition and innovation. The menu boasts homemade and traditional options - the wine list is not limited to Italian varieties, though the beer is. We stopped in briefly and relaxed with a glass of wine in their quiet back garden and spoke with one of the restaurant's partners as waiters set up for that evening's meal. When we asked him to describe the food that Giano served in a short sentence he told us humbly: "Italian food. No big deal. " Can't wait to try it!
Most business owners know how difficult it is to bounce back after being robbed. Makoto Wantanabe has done it twice and, ironically, has a thief to thank for the very birth of Tokio 7. Makoto was globetrotting in the early 1990s when he arrived in Southern California on what was supposed to be the penultimate stop on his tour. He befriended a homeless man and let him stay in his hotel room for the night, but Makoto awoke to find everything except for his passport was stolen. Stranded with no money and far from his home in the Japanese countryside, Makoto called one of his only contacts in the U. S., who worked at a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan. He scrounged up enough money for a bus ticket and was off. While in New York, Makoto felt that men’s clothing suffered from a lack of style. Having always had a knack for fashion, he knew he could change that but lacked the funds to open a store with brand new clothing. So, after several years of saving his wages as a waiter, he founded one of the first consignment shops in New York City. Tokio 7 now carries men’s and women’s clothes, with the overarching theme being, as Makoto says, that they are simply “cool. ” The clothes are mostly from Japanese designers and name brands with unique twists. In the store, clothing that has been donated with a lot of wear is labeled “well loved. ”Despite its importance in the community, the shop fell on tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make matters worse, Tokio 7 was looted in the summer of 2020 and had 300 items stolen. When Makoto contemplated closing his doors permanently, longtime customers begged him to reconsider. Resilient as ever, he set up a small photography area in the back of the shop and sold a portion of his clothes online to compensate for the decline of in-person purchases. Reflecting on his journey, Makoto marveled at the whims of fate. Had he not been robbed all of those decades ago in California, he had planned to start a life in the Amazon rainforest
This small, old-world neighborhood barbershop is loaded with personality. Everything about Barbiere is unique: the whimsical wrought-iron gate out front, the retro hair and shaving products along the walls, and the high-quality, old-fashioned service. When we poked our heads in to chat with the barbers and their clients—all seated in vintage leather chairs—they were proud to tell us that James Franco is among the celebrities that drop by for a haircut or a classic shave.