Friends, Fans & Followers,
We’re excited to share that our newest restaurant, Fairfax, is now open. Fairfax is named after the area in Virginia where both myself and our chef, Jack Harris, grew up. We open every morning as a café and every afternoon and evening as a neighborhood wine bar and restaurant.
The restaurant is inspired by home living and an eclectic set of new wine bars emerging in cities around the globe. We love that many of these places have a more casual vibe, place an emphasis on the food and seem free to offer whatever dish or wine excites the team that day. We’ve put those principles in the service of an everyday menu at repeatable prices. All morning, Jack and his team will be serving a full, sit-down breakfast menu alongside pastries and coffee to stay or go. Midday, the kitchen will begin offering a larger menu and more shareable dishes.
Fairfax is my West Village living room. We designed it to feel as comfortable as home, day or night, solo coffee, bottle of wine or full meal. Grab a corner of the couch with a newspaper, set up at the bar for a working lunch, or bring your friends for dinner at the table.
Look for friendly faces from Perla cafe, including Chef Jack, who has been with us since before Perla first opened its doors. Jack is joined in kitchen team by our long time Pastry Chef Lindsey Prokscha, who for years has been making guests smile with her wonderful pastries and desserts at Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery. Leading the service team is our General Manager James Lauer, complimented by Beverage Director Nick Grenier, who has been educating all of us through his broad palette and enthusiasm for diverse styles.
We can’t wait to see you at Fairfax! It’s walk-in only, so come on by anytime.
Dear Happy Cooking Family,
We have some news to share. As a team, we’ve made the decision to close Perla cafe on Sunday, July 23rd after dinner service and to open a new restaurant called Fairfax in the same space. It’s not a decision we take lightly, but we’re ready to realize a new vision for the space that we’re really excited to share with you.
In 2012 when we opened Perla on Minetta Lane, we created an original Italian restaurant that was unlike others in the city at the time. We are grateful for how strongly it was embraced by our guests and the recognition it received in the media. Before Perla, there were not so many restaurants playing hip hop music and serving innovative Italian cuisine in a relaxed environment with enthusiastic service. But today there are many more options where you can find all of those elements, so we evolved. We started by moving the restaurant in a more casual direction, shortly after, we relocated a few blocks closer to our other restaurants Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery, Fedora and bar Sardine.
While there was wind in our sails when we made the initial move to 234 W 4th St., we are not as busy today as we once were. While many of our neighbors and friends love Perla dearly just the way that it is, the reality is, Perla no longer stands out for many in the way that it once did, particularly with the increased number of Italian restaurants nearby. We are not alone in wrestling with the same set of challenges that restaurateurs across the city are struggling with. Between the increases in cost of goods, rent, labor and insurance to name a few, there is little leeway remaining in how to manage a successful restaurant. One change that we are not comfortable with at Perla is to continue to raise our menu prices. Dining in New York is already expensive enough, and it is our desire to keep this corner easily accessible in style and price point for our guests near and far.
We love the charm of the space and we love this neighborhood, and the silver lining in this transition is that we will continue to work with our amazing team in this amazing place. With Chef Jack Harris, Pastry Chef Lindsey Prokscha, Wine Director Nick Grenier and General Manager James Lauer all on board, we’ve made the decision to move forward together not as Perla, but as Fairfax.
If you’ve been following as we evolve as a company, you know we’re not afraid to rethink and reinvent as we go along, something we did with Chez Sardine when it became Bar Sardine a few years back. Change is scary, but we are choosing to embrace the change and the adversity that comes along with it. With the great location and the great team we already have two of the three most important elements in making a great restaurant. We believe that our vision for this new concept is the third element.
So get ready for Fairfax, a café and wine bar, opening at 234 W 4th St about a week after we’ve closed Perla and made design and layout changes. Inspired by places I’ve visited in cities like London, Paris, and Copenhagen, it will be a laidback spot that works throughout the day and becomes a wine bar with great food at night. Throughout my travels I have been drawn to these places that are more casual than restaurants and more sophisticated than bars. They share a theme of inspired food, reasonable prices and service that is as professional and sincere as what I encounter in fine dining restaurants, but with a more relaxed vibe.
Please come and visit and toast with us in the next few weeks. We want to thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your support of Perla over these past five years - in all its forms. It has been a privilege to work with so many talented individuals and to get to be a part of the lives of so many regulars. We are so proud of what we have achieved and we look forward to continuing our relationship with all of you as we continue to grow together. Restaurants are a crazy business (and only getting crazier), but being a part of your lives is why we do what we do.
After a two week hiatus, the whole team is back together again. Please warm our new home at 234 W 4th Street with us!
We've moved even closer to the heart of Happy Cooking - directly across from bar Sardine and only a couple of doors down from Fedora. We’re easy to spot through the French windows that open wide onto West 4th and West 10th Streets.
In anticipation of our reopening, Chef Jack Harris and his team have been rolling out all of the pastas you’ve come to love. He’s joined at our new location by Pastry Chef Lindsey Prokscha, who’s been making all of the sweets at our sister spots Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery.
We're now talking reservations and walk-ins for dinner nightly, but in a few weeks we'll add lunch and weekend brunch (stay tuned). Come by and say hi! We can't wait to see you.
January is a time of new beginnings, and as 2016 kicks off I’m excited to share with you that this coming March we’ll be relocating Perla to 234 West 4th Street. After four years in our current home at 24 Minetta Lane, we’ve decided to make the move to a new space a few blocks away.
We will be taking our entire team and so many fond memories from our current location. Minetta Lane has been good to us and we’ve loved welcoming you there, but the space on West 4th Street, opposite Bar Sardine, speaks to me on a personal and emotional level. Many of our restaurants occupy corner spaces and I know the charm and power of a great West Village corner. The new space will bring Perla closer to the community of our other restaurants and to a busy, energetic intersection.
In making this move, we’ll continue to evolve Perla in to the great everyday neighborhood Italian restaurant that we always wanted it to be. We’ll build on the changes we made last spring when Chef Jack Harris took over the kitchen and in addition to serving dinner seven nights a week, we’ll also be introducing new menus for daytime lunch and weekend brunch. We can’t wait to have you in to dine with us not just in the evening, but also in the light of day!
While holding on to all the things that we and so many of our guests love about Perla, we look forward to bringing a new atmosphere in to this beautiful, sunny space that looks out on to West 4th and West 10th Streets. Perla will be leaving Minetta Lane in mid-February and reopening its doors on West 4th Street only a few short weeks later. We hope you’ll join us in saying farewell to our current location over the coming weeks, and come visit us in our new home in early March. We look forward to welcoming you there!
Happy Cooking Hospitality Founder
Get excited. We've made some big changes at Perla and after a short closure, we're back with a new menu and look. Fear not: We've kept our Italian roots (and those famous pastas), but our new menu from Chef Jack Harris also features lighter, seasonal fare. We've made the space a little more casual and conducive to everyday dining, inkeeping with the friendly neighborhood atmosphere we're known for. The menu will continue to change seasonally, but right now it includes dishes like Black Bass Crudo with Radishes, Mint & Habanero Citronette; Asparagus with Tokyo Turnips, Capers & Tonnato; Agnolotti with Sweet Peas, Carrots & Parmigiano; and Diver Scallops with Carrots, Faro & Mint. We've also added a section of family-style dishes meant for groups of 4+, like Lasagna with English Peas, Ramps & Swiss Chard and the show-stopping Lamb & Clams (a killer platter of lamb leg, breast and tongue served with Ipswich and Littleneck clams and anchovies, mint and lemony yogurt). Click here to see the full menu.
To match the new menu, we've redesigned the interior for a brighter feel and have turned the back counter into a second bar (which means more room for walk-in diners!).
For a reservation, give us a call at 212-933-1824 or make an online reservation through Resy.
Thanks to Serious Eats Associate Editor Niki Achitoff-Gray for selecting our Black Spaghetti with Skate, Corn and Habanero as her favorite dish of the year. She says of the pasta, "I still don't understand how [the kitchen] straddled rich and refreshing, zesty and savory, with such remarkable balance and intensity. And frankly, though I'm typically inquisitive about these sorts of things, I don't know if I want to. This is one dish I'm happy to leave shrouded in mystery and just a little magical." Read the full list here.