White Street Restaurant Is Likely Headed for a Big Change

White StreetThe agenda for last night’s Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee meeting included a change of White Street‘s method of operation; the materials submitted said that the restaurant wants to start serving alcohol at 11 a.m. (rather than 6 p.m.), so it can open for lunch; the menu will be changed; and video screens will be added. At the meeting, it was explained that the principals (Dan Abrams and David Zinczenko) were bringing on a new partner, Matt Schindel Shendell. [NOTE: Please see the update at the end of this post.]

The committee, sensing a snow job, pushed the attorney until more became clear. Namely, White Street as we know it will cease to exist; the space will become an outpost of The Ainsworth, which already has three locations in Manhattan and one in Hoboken, and the 17 TVs will air sports. Shendell, who is buying 60% of the business, said that this will be a “more upscale version of what we’ve done in the past.” (His company, Paige Hospitality Group, also has 121 Fulton in FiDi.)

The committee and neighbors, feeling like they were victims of a bait-and-switch, thought it was only fair that the community—now that it knows what the plans are—have a chance to weigh in. The proprietors do not want later closing hours, but even so, with a 10,000-square-foot space (5,000 on each level), the potential for something disruptive is high. Shendell and company are going to come back in a month having done more outreach to the community and with a noise-mitigation plan and a full application with all of the info that CB1 would like to know. Certainly, the emphasis on private events on Paige Hospitality’s and the Ainsworth’s websites will be a cause for concern; in July, when Abrams and Zinczenko announced they were considering a change at the restaurant, one of the options they mentioned was an event space.

In the meantime, here’s the self-description from the Ainsworth’s website, along with the menu that was submitted before the meeting.

The Ainsworth venues are multipurpose spaces comprised of full-scale restaurants, bars, lounges and event areas. All Ainsworth locations offer a fusion of classical American fare favorites with exotic herbs, spices and ingredients, a first-class bar and visually stimulating décor culminating in the ultimate drinking and dining experience.

ainsworth-tribeca-sample-menuUPDATE 9/16: “White Street is not closing,” emailed White Street partner Dan Abrams. “We have been seriously evaluating a partnership with the Ainsworth Group. If the community board had signed off on it we would have moved forward with that joint venture and we still intend to return next month with them but regardless of what happens with Ainsworth, we have no plans to close the restaurant.” I don’t entirely understand how the restaurant known as White Street wouldn’t close if it becomes the Ainsworth, but I concede his larger point that the headline was too broad, and that the restaurant is most definitely open for the foreseeable future. I changed the headline accordingly.


1 Comment

  1. The menu above strongly resembles that of the Ainsworth not only in content but also in graphic design, typeface, etc. They just took the name off as if they wanted to conceal it.


    The point about “not closing White Street” IMO is a distinction without a difference.