Earlier in the week I alerted you to the opening of The Progress, the long-awaited, larger sister restaurant from the team that brought you State Bird Provisions which is right next door. Today we have photos as well as some more details straight from one half of the couple who conceived of both restaurants while on a plane back from Latin America five years ago, chef Stuart Brioza. Brioza says that wife and pastry chef Nicole Krasinski recently found the paper bag they used to sketch out their ideas, still on a high from an inspiring trip through Chile, Peru, and Argentina. "We were like, 'Dim sum, that'd be fun,' and we had this idea for a place where everything was served family-style, they way food is served in South America, and that idea has just evolved over time."
The space was originally The Progress Theatre, a movie house that operated for 14 years from 1911 to 1925. (See a historic photo here.) The building then went through many uses and iterations, getting sliced up for different purposes over the decades, until the landlord offered Brioza and Krasinski both the vaulted space for their family-style restaurant, which would require a full buildout, and a tinier space next door that had been a pizzeria and already had an exhaust hood and ovens installed. This was in 2011, and the circumstances forced them to open the more modest dim-sum style concept first as State Bird Provisions, the runaway success of which took them completely by surprise. "Our minds have been blown by it," Brioza says. "We just never imagined it would become what it became."
The new restaurant is set to open on Tuesday, December 16th, though the reservation books have not been opened to the public yet. When asked if it was just coincidence that, for the second time, he was opening a restaurant right up against the holiday season (State Bird opened on New Year's Eve, 2011), Brioza says yes. They had been aiming for October but several construction issues held them back.
The menu features the same international crush of Western and Asian influences you see at State Bird, with perhaps a little more of Europe and Latin America thrown in, and the added influence of chef de cuisine John Becker, an alum of Boulevard and Prospect. The menu, though not finalized, will feature things like housemade lap cheong sausage with toasted peanuts; a "roti" (Indian flatbread) with sunchokes, Burgundy black truffles, and rosemary oil served with buttermilk ranch dressing; lamb scaloppini; and something they're calling "Treasure Chest soup" with a rich pork broth.
And everything will be served communally, though attractively plated, to be shared in a prix fixe menu with an array of choices. Groups can choose to either have five dishes ($54 per person), seven dishes ($68), nine dishes ($82), or an imperial menu of eleven or more ($108), and you'll have to decide on the dishes as a table. And dishes will come out in waves, not in distinct courses, with canapés coming out first as a group kind of in the style of the snack course on Rich Table's prix fixe menu.
Check out our photos of the space, which includes a pretty front bar cocktail list also to come and a 25-foot-ceilinged space that still has the original curvature to the ceiling from its movie theatre days. Also: disco glitter bathrooms.
And though the official opening is early next week, it appears they may be softly open over the weekend, though table availability for walk-ins could be dicey and reservations have not come online.
Update: Eater scored a version of the opening menu which is subject to change. See it below.