Sorella Plans New Eatery on “Underdeveloped” Allen St.
There were some interesting morsels in yesterday’s Post profile of Emma Hearst, co-owner and chef of Sorella, the Italian-inspired small plates spot on Allen Street. First off, plans are in the works for a small “steak driven eatery.” The new spot, scheduled to open next year, will feature beef from the Hearst Cattle Ranch in California (Emma is the great great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst).
Hearst, 24 years old, opened Sorella at 95 Allen in 2008 with partner Sarah Krathen. Two months ago, they debuted Stellina, a dessert/ice cream cafe next door. Speaking of Allen Street, Hearst tells the Post:
“It’s a little bit underdeveloped,” she admits. “We were like the first restaurant on Allen Street below Delancey. So we’re taking over the block one spot at a time.” Hearst and Krathen found such fulfillment in Sorella that they jumped at the opportunity to open Stellina when the Real Estate Gods came calling. “Sarah and I just adore our pastry chef and really wanted to give her an opportunity to do her thing because she’s unbelievably talented. When the space became available, we had to jump on it,” says Hearst. “It’s definitely been a little bit of a struggle to come to terms with how much responsibility we’ve put upon ourselves.” (Hearst was just on “Iron Chef,” where she was the youngest contestant in the show’s history.)
Allen Street underdeveloped? Not so, argues Village Voice blogger Rebecca Marx:
Which part is she referring to, exactly? The other side of the street where White Slab Palace, Congee Village, the Tenement Museum, and the ChinaSquare contemporary art gallery reside? Or her own side of Allen, which, in addition to Sorella and Stellina, is home to Berkli Parc and Fried Dumpling? Exactly which part of this block is underdeveloped? The parts occupied by what the Post snottily calls “Chinatown greasy spoons and shabby boutiques”?… Are pricey, trendy establishments that capitalize on the irony of their “shabby” ethnic surroundings the only kinds of development that matter anymore? And why exactly does this block of Allen Street need to be taken over “one spot at a time,” as Hearst told the Post? So that moneyed white folk can further congratulate themselves for re-molding a neighborhood in their own image? Yeah, yeah, the lady was just talking. And she makes good food that we’ve enjoyed on multiple occasions and likely will again. But the notion of “underdeveloped” is one that rankles: that block Allen Street isn’t underdeveloped to the people who opened their businesses there long before Hearst came around. It’s only underdeveloped to people who want to sell $13 pints of gelato.