Since it was announced that Red Restaurant Group
took possession of the Gateway District building at 811 Prospect Avenue, rumors swirled as to what restaurant – or type of restaurant – would ultimately prevail following the planning phase of the process. After all, the restaurant group has in its portfolio Moxie, the Restaurant and three Red Steakhouses. Given that one of those Red locations is right down the block, the smart money was on Moxie.
Sounds like that would have been a sucker's bet.
“We are not limiting ourselves on what we are going to serve,” explains chef and partner Jonathan Bennett. “It will be extremely cost-effective food with a of lot salads, a lot of sandwiches, and a lot of healthier options.”
Given the size of the building, which has been vacant since it was built in the late 1990s, that makes perfect sense. Tentatively called 811, the restaurant will be a vast departure for Bennett, who has only worked in tightly focused fine-dining establishments.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept,” he says half-jokingly. “It’s all over the place.”
He describes the concept as a “no holds barred international amalgamation” with inspiration for the dishes coming from all over the globe.
“Who says we can’t have Korean fried chicken and a burger on the same menu? There’s Chinatown and Little Italy right down the street. America is a melting pot – and we’re not done melting.”
In addition to salads and sandwiches, diners might have their choice of sushi, burgers and yakitori grilled over charcoal.
“Maybe a carnitas sandwich with spicy tomato soup, because it’s tasty!”
Bennett and partners Jon Gross, Brad Friedlander and Peter Vauthy are wrapping up the planning and design phase and soon will begin the build-out phase. The latest estimates place opening day in late spring.