At Cheeky Sandwiches on the Lower East Side, things are starting to look normal again; or, as normal as it gets at Cheeky. After closing its doors just over two weeks ago due to a bad inspection by the DOH, Cheeky reopened them—cautiously—last Monday. Din Yates tells B+B that the basement is also under renovation, and it’ll open as a new, separate restaurant within the next two months, ostensibly to fill the void of his shuttered “breakfast club,” Bread for the Eater, in Greenpoint.
Upstairs, Cheeky has upgraded from wooden to concrete floors, and now has a new counter space, new cooking equipment, and — soon — new stools. The stools are still being made, but that hasn’t stopped Yates from serving up grub for takeout and delivery. “People actually eat in,” he adds. “They’re sitting at a table that was a makeshift office on crates. Which is funny, because it was supposed to be for me to sit on and use the computer.”
The basement is still in the works. “Downstairs we’ve got a whole ‘nother restaurant,” Yates says. “It’s gonna have a whole ‘nother kitchen. It’s gonna have a whole ‘nother menu. It’s gonna be a whole ‘nother setup.” The new space won’t actually be called Cheeky Sandwiches, and there’s no name for the forthcoming restaurant yet.
“The basement looks different because it looks like a basement,” Yates says, cheekily. “It looks like a cave almost. As far as food, it’s the same vibe in the sense of, it’ll be us. But the menu will be slightly different. We’re not 100% finished on the menu.” Yates designed the space to look like a “dark alley,” he says; he added archways to accent the vaulted ceilings.
Yates created the new space because he wanted to do something different. But don’t worry, it won’t be too different. “I don’t think I could ever go away from [New Orleans cuisine],” Yates says. “It’s a part of us. The thing is, opening the shop, I didn’t think we were a New Orleans place at all until so many people said it. Oh my God, I didn’t think it at all. I thought it was just sandwiches!”