Kazusa Jibiki, the owner of the popular Nolita Thai eatery Lovely Day, will be expanding to the Lower East Side next week. Jibiki’s new venture, entitled Gohan, will be a return to her Japanese heritage. Unlike Lovely Day’s Southeast Asian diner fare, Gohan, which means “a meal” in Japanese, will be all about wholesome, comforting Japanese home cooking, Jibiki explained. The restaurant, which is located at 14a Orchard Street at Canal Street, will open its doors next Monday, on August 1. Although the menu is still going through its final stages, Jibiki has given Bedford + Bowery a hint of what her version of Japanese home cooking will entail.
When a bathroom mirror went missing from Lovely Day on December 5, the owner of the beloved downtown Thai food diner, Kazusa Jibiki, was heartbroken. “It’s a really sad day for us,” she posted on Instagram. The staff was angry. The regulars were incensed. Clearly, this wasn’t just any old piece of glass. “Two friends of mine were like guardians, they really wanted it back to Lovely Day so they were on the case,” explained Jibiki, who moved to New York City from Japan more than 20 years ago.
The owners of the Munchie Mobile (um, not the same one that belonged to the Workaholics crew…) have ditched their wheels for a former warehouse. The Deep End, as the two friends Jon Gneezy and Jorge Mdahuar are calling their burgers-and-beers-and-performance establishment, has a home inside Rockwall Studios, a massive warehouse of nearly 57,000 square feet that’s been converted into upscale artist studios along the Bushwick-Ridgewood border (they boast a “famous heavy metal band” as one of their tenants). The guys already had somewhat of a cult following. Serious Eats defied everyone’s expectations and described the Munchie Mobile, which Jon and Jorge have taken off the road, as a “stoner food Mecca” with “outlandish burgers,” while the food truck’s Twitter followers have implored them to bring back their deep fried fare.
Except for the case of a fire, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much active interest in a single building as I did on my visit to Industry 1332. I spent one short evening at the brand new, still in-the-works restaurant and bar that sits less than a block from the Halsey stop on the L train, which compared to the Morgan and Jefferson stops, is a sleepy holdout. Throughout my visit I was confronted with several curious passersby who seemed to think the restaurant is a harbinger of something that’s about to start raging in this part of Bushwick with fury equal to a fire.
Excellent news for those who like fried octopus-filled dough balls and the warmth of the indoors; beloved 9th Street kiosk Otafuku is moving a couple dozen feet west to a storefront in which customers can wait for and devour their favorite Japanese street snacks in a well-heated space. Set to open sometime in the next two weeks at 220 East 9th Street, the new outpost features an open kitchen, a stand-up bar, adorable signage and an additional name, Medetai (according to owner Yo Katsuse, it will also be called Otafuku, in case you’re resistant to change).
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