In the year since Nate Lobas and Jonah Oryszak purchased the 150-year-old building on Lorain Avenue near W. 41st Street, the neighborhood around it has evolved so much that they decided to completely rework their plans for the space. Early models had the joint being a modest coffee shop that only took up half the first-floor square footage. Now, the operation will swallow up the entire first floor, include a full kitchen and bar, and operate as an all-day café and bistro.
Oryszak, a bartender for the past five years at Happy Dog, describes The Plum Café and Kitchen as a “Ramones version of Spice — an affordable farm-to-table bistro with zero pretense,” says the 33-year-old owner. He already has signed on a skilled (and presently employed) chef, he adds, but will not be releasing his name until a later date.
The building, formerly a storage facility for the antique shop that existed where Platform Brew now resides, currently is under construction. It was jammed from the floor to the ceiling with boxes stuffed with antiques, some of which will land in the restaurant. When completed, the space will have seating for 50 in the dining room and another 15 or so at the bar.
“I have no interest in these huge operations that people are building,” Oryszak explains. “I love small, intimate bars and restaurants. My goal was always to open a place that’s an alternative to those bigger places on W. 25th Street. I think small is the next trend.”
As Oryszak envisions it, Plum will open early in the morning with barista-prepared coffee and pastries. At lunch, guests will order off a menu of fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. At night, the space will be a down-to-earth neighborhood bistro serving local, seasonal and economical fare.
“This will be the kind of place designed for neighbors, where there will always be low-cost options.”
Assuming the build-out proceeds as planned, The Plum will open in early winter.