The New Social Order

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More Next-Big-Thing Eats, Eat the Dirt

Food & Drink

Among the fall-outs, Melvin’s Juice Box holds the fort, mon. (Yes, we said that.)

So, if you didn’t hear, this is the worst time ever in decades for a New Yorker to rent a new apartment. There’s nothing remotely decent, not even a one-bedroom, for under $4K. You’d think that meant that Manhattan was doing fine, thank you. Truth is, there just aren’t enough apartments to go around for all of us sadomasochists who choose to live here in a veal box.

And that leads us to restaurants. Despite all those people, restaurants continue to die like the flies “out back” in massive numbers. The commercial rents too are demented, outrageous. The economy, sorry Mr. President, is in the crapper. But the real problem is that would-be restaurateurs aren’t offering anything new, no original supply for any kind of surprise-me demand.

If you ever read this website, you know that we have a particular thing about the Bermuda Triangle known as SoHo, as we live here, and it’s a major foodie hub for visitors as well.

While poor Da Silvano and Bar Pitti are covered by scaffolding during their peak-patio summer months, they’ll get by with their loyal clienteles. And The Dutch just keeps reeling in the Upper West Side, because they’re consistent. But…here we go again…

In just the past two weeks, two bistros that the restaurant critics fawned over, even before they opened—making us suspect they were getting payola or advance freebie meals—appear to be history. We are talking about the chic-enough 10 Downing, which is more WoHo (West of SoHo than SoHo), and the what-the-fuh King, which is (was) on the SoHo side of Sixth Avenue, across the street from the bustling Mekong. King seemed to have only made a go of it for several months; the umbrellas are stored inside the glass-walled space and the chairs have been up on the tables for a week now.

People: When you see restaurants advertising sidewalk-chalkboard “specials” all of a sudden—or there are movie crews leasing the place for a week—know this: they are going down. Meanwhile, another ridiculous place has opened up on Prince Street, across the street from the venerable Raoul’s, in the old Shortys.32, that will, sadly, go away like all the others that have semi-tried there before. There is zero on the menu that would suggest something “new” going on. The wait staff…wait outside, looking mournful. Got a cig?

There is hope: John MacDonald’s upcoming Mexican joint expected to open this summer across from Da Silvano, in a space that has had countless failures. We say: When in doubt, go Mezzican.

And there is Serge Becker’s block-party Miss Lily’s enterprise, with its flagship restaurant, radio station, record shop, the Miss Lily’s Bake Shop, and our favorite, Melvin’s Juice Box. Melvin, the man with the smile and dreads, is there every day, providing energy, and energy drinks, to a good-looking but unpretentious crowd. Becker is smart enough to live above it all—quite literally. That’s how you do it if you want to survive. Have fun. Not just shill out more same-old Northern Italian and French bistro bulls—t. We love Melvin’s non-dietary, creamy carrot cake and banana pudding. Oh Yeah! We love the vibe here, the whole shebang. And the wait-staff is scary-hot, we must confide. Who expected “Jamaican” to be a hit? Well, it’s creative, unique, delicious, multi-culti, exotic, kooky, cool. Learn, people, learn. They deliver, in all ways, and it’s located at 130 W. Houston St.,