Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vinatería: A Restaurant in Harlem Where Everything Old is New Again.

There is an egregious omission in this morning's NY Times' article  36 Hours in Upper Manhattan in the travel section. They completely left out any mention of Vinatería.  Pilar Viladas wrote a great article about it in T-Magazine and I am sure you will agree with me once you check it out. 

photo by William Geddes

photo by Liz Clayman
Vinateria's owner, Yvette Leeper-Bueno's vision to hire the brilliant Jonsara Ruth was a stroke of genius. Though full disclosure, I am proudly biased, as the design talent behind the restaurant Jonsara  and Fritz Karch are good friends and former colleagues from my Martha days. 

Bias aside, it's one of those special places that could easily be habit forming. Chef Gustavo Lopez's food is delicious with a great wine list and a welcoming and attentive staff. Vinatería has a relaxed vibe with great energy. Jonsara's ingenious use of recycled industrial felt on the walls keeps the noise at a very comfortable level, even when the restaurant is in full swing. I love that she sourced it from a PA factory that stamps out felt washers and sells the leftover-lengths of white felt perforated with small round holes.

photo by William Geddes
photo by William Geddes
Helen Quinn's colorful wall tattoos.  photo by Jonsara Ruth
photo by Jonsara Ruth
photo by Jonsara Ruth
photo by William Geddes

'The front corner of the dining area contains planter boxes filled with decorative herbs, which emit a pleasant fragrance and make the window a kind of “beacon for the neighborhood,” according to Ruth.' 

photo by Jonsara Ruth

An excerpt from Pilar's article is below and the full article can be found here

'The space is the work of Jonsara Ruth, the director of the M.F.A. program in interior design at Parsons (and a product designer with a master’s degree in architecture), who was hired by the restaurant’s owner, Yvette Leeper-Bueno. The project offered Ruth the chance 'to test the waters on bringing environmental consciousness and social awareness to the practice of interior design, while preserving whimsy and delight,' she said. Budget concerns made this approach imperative, but 'I didn’t want it to look like you were walking into a flea market,' she explained. 'I wanted to transform the materials and objects and make them modern.'

One of Ruth’s collaborators, Fritz Karch, a former collecting editor at Martha Stewart Living, scoured flea markets and secondhand stores for many of the furnishings and objects, like the vintage bentwood chairs and the milk glass shades used in the hanging lamps. Ruth designed the long dining tables with recycled wood. The smaller tables have old metal bases and new zinc tops. The tall bar tables were made by adding new aluminum tops to old industrial stands. The bar and even the blackboards were also bought used." 

I encourage you to go soon and I hope the rosemary and mint panna cotta is still on the menu, a slice of heaven in Harlem! 

Vinatería, 2211 Frederick Douglass Boulevard; (212) 662-8462.
For more reviews singing their praise check out Village Voice , Michelin, Guide,  and New York Magazine. 

More information on the design collaborators behind Vinatería check out Salty Labs.

No comments:

Post a Comment