Reed Adelson, owner of the American restaurant Virginia’s, was trained by the best in the industry. He learned about wine at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, interned at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, then returned to his Manhattan roots to work under Jean-Georges to open the Mark Hotel, and finally worked at Locanda Verde. Riding in a car with industry legends Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, he was presented with the answer to his doubts about working in the restaurant business, "If this is what you’re passionate about, there is nothing else you can do. It’s more of a vocation than a job choice. "Reed brought all of this expertise to open his first restaurant in 2015. Named for his mom, Virginia’s has become known for its burger, with bone marrow aioli, cabot cheddar, and house-made pickles, but there are more sophisticated dishes that deserve equal praise including the wild king salmon with red cabbage slaw and golden beet puree. Reed focuses on consistency for his menu, with a few seasonal dishes, such as the corn ravioli with fontina cheese and crispy shallots. With his eye on the future, Reed is contemplating moving a little closer to the city’s center, while admitting, "there’s something romantic about the side streets. "
Kenkeleba Garden, named for an African healing plant, is simply magical. We followed the densely forested greenery around to the back, arriving at a clearing that transported us to another world far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. We were completely surprised when we landed in front of the sculpture garden, which is only visible from 3rd Street. From large African sculptures to collections of scraps or bricolage, a specialty of the Lower East Side art scene, we could not help but linger before doubling back and re-emerging onto the concrete sidewalks of 2nd Street. It was not until many months later, when we had the pleasure of meeting Joe Overstreet and his wife, Corinne Jennings, that we learned that this is affiliated with their gallery next door, Kenkeleba House. It is their life-long dream to someday use these grounds to build a museum that would house their massive collection of African-American art. It has an entrance on both 2nd Street and 3rd,
Book Club isn’t just for the suburbs anymore — as a new bookshop, bar and coffeehouse gives East Village denizens and beyond a new place to pore over and pour over their favorite reads. Married proprietors Erin Neary and Nat Esten, East Village residents themselves, had longed for an independent bookstore to serve the Alphabet City area, they told the Manhattan Sideways team when we popped in to see dozens of happy customers enjoying a read and a latte one sunny Friday morning. “We always thought that the neighborhood needed another bookstore, ” said Erin, “and we also kept wondering, ‘Wouldn't it be so cool if you could drink wine while you were shopping for books? ’” They decided not only to open a bookstore and bar, but to additionally add in the day-to-night-element of coffee into the mix. While both Erin and Nat had worked in hospitality before, bookselling was new to them. “I started doing research in 2017 and worked with the American Booksellers Association’s consulting program to help new bookstores get off the ground, ” said Erin. “I met with them as well as other bar owners and bookstore owners in the neighborhood and did as much research as I could without actually doing it. ” The duo launched Book Club in November 2019, enjoying an enthusiastic community reception until COVID-19 forced them to pivot. “Nate started doing bike deliveries — as many as 20 miles a day! ” Erin told us. “He’d go out to Harlem to drop off books and then all the way out to Bushwick — so a lot of people learned about the store that way. ”Once they were able to reopen to the public, Book Club forged full steam ahead in engaging the community in “book club”-esque events — from author talks to poetry readings to creative writing workshops, with additional unique offerings like an adult spelling bee and a “drink and draw” sketching class. They’ve also recently received their full liquor license, and plan to roll out literary-themed cocktails like an In Cold Bloody Mary or the Murder on the Orient Espresso Martini, Erin told us. More than anything, she added, she enjoyed having customers back in the store to guide them toward their next favorite book. “Our staff are not just really good baristas, but they’re avid readers as well. So between myself and the rest of the team, we have a really good handle on the books here — it’s fun to be able to curate not just what we stock, but to get the right book into someone’s hands. ”
The common thread throughout this brilliantly executed mini restaurant/takeout spot is broth. Try it with free range chicken, grass-fed beef, or a combination of veggies. But the fun does not stop here. There are "add-ins" that one can choose including ginger, turmeric, sweet potato, eggs, meatballs and more. The menu also offers further filling food options, but there is always a small cup of broth that can accompany any dish on the side. It can be used as a marinade, poured into the mix of vegetables and/or meat, or, of course, the third option would be to simply drink it down separately. The brains behind this clever endeavor - that opened in the spring of 2016 - are Jordan Feldman and Sam Eckstein who have been best friends since they were five years old and living in Manhattan. Coincidentally, that same year both sets of their parents decided to move to Englewood, NJ where their backyards connected. Sam and Jordan traveled back into the city to attend high school together and then went in separate directions for college. While Jordan studied film at the University of Pennsylvania and went onto a career in real estate development, Sam received a degree in Chinese from Johns Hopkins followed by a job in China in the banking world. Upon his return to the United States, he found himself investing in food companies. When Sam and I were chatting about how they came to start Springbone Kitchen, he said, matter of factly, "Although the two of us took different paths beforehand, we each had the perfect skill sets to bring together to open a food business. " It was initially Jordan's obsession with nutrition and healthy eating that was the spring board for their eatery. He shared his ideas with Sam one day in 2014, asking his advice on certain issues with which he was not as familiar. As Sam tells it, the more he became involved, the more he realized that this was what he, too, wanted to do. He quit his job and decided to "Go all in. " They quickly realized that they were a match made in heaven. "Jordan knew all about zoning, he had the knowledge for how to find the best location, and how to build it out, and I had knew the business end - profit margins, suppliers, production, and how to market. "From an early age, Sam was always passionate about food and dining out. "I was attuned to the restaurant world and always appreciated the great chefs - they have had a strong influence on me. " When he decided to team up with Jordan, Sam knew that he had to meet the standard of the chefs who had inspired him. Then Sam added that it was Jordan who was determined to have those same high standards when it came to healthy eating. "We definitely compliment one another, " Sam stated. Though it had only been open for a few short months when I visited, Sam was eager to discuss how they have recently begun partnering with new businesses to sell homemade products by others in the New York area who share the same philosophy. Some fantastic examples are Matt's Kimchi, Raaka Chocolate, and Pilot Kombucha. After spending a few minutes in the kitchen - observing the process and the ingredients that go into their massive pots of broth - I came away knowing, with certainty, that what people are eating here is filled with love, passion, and the best possible recipes that these two men have concocted. They have done their research and are fully committed to serving healthy, satisfying meals to their customers.
Once described by writer Allen Ginsberg as “the most integrated place on the planet, ” the lively Nuyorican Poets Cafe is not only a venue for poetry readings. Audiences have witnessed visual artists, musicians, writers, actors, and every other kind of performer pass through its doors. Though the Nuyorican has cemented a place for itself in New York City’s art scene, its beginnings were humble. Puerto Rican-born writer and poet Miguel Algarín founded the group in his East Village apartment to give artists and performers of color a space to develop their craft. Many New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent met regularly in Mr. Algarín’s living room to share their creative efforts, fueling the rise of what would be known as the “Nuyorican” artistic and literary movements. By the 1980s, the Nuyorican went from being excluded from the mainstream to attracting enough of a following to open a new location in a former tenement building on East 3rd Street. Today, the Nuyorican continues to draw crowds at its regular poetry slams, open mic nights, concerts, and art exhibits spotlighting talented people with powerful messages.
Around the corner from the well-regarded traditional restaurant, Il Buco, is Alimentari & Vineria, the market and wine bar that sells imported Italian foods. Up front, there is counter seating for a quick bite as well as more leisurely, contemporary dining down a few steps in the back. The food not only looks enticing, but it tastes amazing, and the people who work here are helpful and knowledgeable. Shortly after they had opened in the fall of 2011, we sampled some sandwiches on their house-baked breads - Tuscan Kale Panini with Stracchino cheese spread and a Soppressata panini with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Simple and delicious. Garnering instant popularity and acclaim from The New York Times to Zagat, we are confident in adding our enthusiastic support and highest recommendation to this authentic hotspot.
Sifu Doug Pierre is just the guy you would want at your side if you were to ever find yourself in a dark alley. He has studied, trained and is certified in just about every kind of martial arts there is, and he has an impressive wall of honor in his office covered with the accolades to prove it. But do not let his size and strength fool you, as Sifu Pierre is all about giant smiles and kindness. He has earned a warm reputation here on East 3rd Street where he has lived for forty years. We were lucky to have caught a glimpse of his expertise in action, as a few students had arrived early for stickfighting practice. In a bright and spacious studio that leads to a backyard garden, traditional Karate, Kickboxing, Capoeira, Filipino Stickfighting and T'ai Chi Chu'an classes are offered - providing something for the entire family. So if you are looking to hone your skills or simply try something new, Sifu Pierre definitely has your back.