It looks like a quick transition at 171 East Broadway, where Rosette held a farewell party Saturday night and Mission Chinese Food appears poised to open in short order. Last week, owner Ron Castellano made the decision to close Rosette after an eight month run and to relinquish the space to the Mission Chinese team. Danny Bowien, forced from his original LES restaurant at 154 Orchard St. by a rodent problem, will go before Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee tonight.
Fans of Rosette, including a sizable local contingent, crowded into the front room Saturday evening for one last drink, a burger or some chicken wings from the wood burning oven. Castellano, an architect best known for restoring the neighboring Forward building, hung out with regulars and talked about the transition.
A couple of weeks ago, a liquor license application for the Rosette space surfaced on Community Board 3’s website, a development that caught Castellano by surprise since negotiations were ongoing. The name listed on the paperwork was Andrew Yang, who described a modern Chinese concept for the space. Last week, Yang connected with SPaCE, the local block association, and the two sides quickly reached an agreement on operating procedures.
It wasn’t until Friday – when Bowien tweeted a photo from in front of 171 East Broadway – that it became widely known he was behind the new venture (the big news was first reported by Eater). The next day, Yang contacted the block association to give them the official word that the project involved one of the city’s most high profile chefs. In a story published yesterday, Florence Fabricant of the New York Times reported that the 74-seat restaurant would open “with only minor changes to the venue,” assuming all goes well at CB3 tonight. The application has now been updated to include Bowien’s name.
The highly designed space, where Castellano previously operated LTO and Broadway East, has not been an easy location in which to do business. Rosette attempted to walk a fine line between catering to locals and destination diners. The area around East Broadway, Rutgers and Canal Street has become a hot dining and nightlife spot in the last couple of years, but many restaurants continue to struggle. Mission Chinese, one of the buzziest restaurants in Manhattan before shuttering last year, will focus even more attention on the micro-neighborhood. it was a common site to see people congrehating on Orchard Street, waiting two hours or more from a table. The new space is much larger, so hopefully the waits will be shorter. There’s been some talk that Mission Chinese might even accept reservations.
Castellano hopes to reopen Rosette in detroit, where he’s working on development projects.