Ecco! at the end of its era in Tribeca?

Ecco! — the “Italian saloon” that has been on Chambers for more than 35 years and has been featured in a dozen movies, TV shows and even Nelson DeMille’s novels, may be closing soon. The manager said that plans were tentative, but CB1 approved a new liquor license for their address last night. Not sure where to start with what is worth keeping at this neighborhood stalwart — the atmosphere? the storefront sign? the tin ceilings? all of the above? But if this is it for Ecco! it is certainly the end of an era.

The new applicant is The Grey Dog, which was opened by brothers Peter Adrian and David Ethan in its first iteration on Carmine Street 23 years ago — so it comes with a similar pedigree, if a bit of a different flav. Their license will allow 74 seats and the owner (not sure which brother I was talking to!) said they will get the lease on the 15th and hope to open in May.

This will be the fifth dog; the other locations are on University, Mulberry and West 16th. The menus are “American classic” with a bent towards locally-sourced — think Hudson Valley vegetables, bread from Tom Cat, tea from Grandaisy. From the restaurant’s website: “The music is probably just a little too loud and the portions may be a little too big but that’s how we like it.”

POSTSCRIPT: I couldn’t tell exactly how long Ecco! had been here, so for an informed guess I asked the artist Dianne Talan, who has lived on Chambers since 1980. Here’s her recollection, which is a story in itself: “They opened around 36 years ago. I had a series of solar system maps and a Newhouse of Conde Nast bought one and took my husband and me and his wife to dinner at a new place he had read about — Ecco. They had a table of cold antipasto displayed in the front of the back dining room along with a giant live flower display.(Eventually the food inspector made them get rid of the cold antipasto display.) Ecco then became a home away from home. You could not go in there for six months and go in and pick right up where you left off with half a dozen regulars at the bar. And there were some wonderful and special people working there.”

 

28 Comments

  1. Noooooo!!! We can’t lose Ecco!

  2. Sad day if true

  3. No! We love Ecco! And The Grey Dog of all things to replace it? No thank you.

  4. I’ve never been to Ecco. Never even heard of it or noticed it, which I find amazing as I’ve lived here for almost 13 years. I can’t comment on what’s being lost, but I’ve been to The Grey Dog in Chelsea, and I like it. I welcome them to the neighborhood!

  5. I have been to Ecco many times, having worked in the area over 20 years and the food has always been delicious, plentiful and not over priced. I hope they stay. Let the brothers go somewhere else. There are plenty of empty spaces in the area.

    • By far the best Lobster fra diavolo with linguini that I’ve ever had. Perfect every time. My wife and I would order a Caesar salad, clams oreganata, chicken scarpariello, and the aforementioned lobster and share it all. Excellent service and the atmosphere is of a bygone era. I hope they can recreate that if they do relocate. The place is a gem.

  6. 5 Grey dogs do not equal the pleasure, taste and atmosphere of one Echo. Go bark somewhere else

  7. Depressing news if true. Owners of Ecco please reconsider!

  8. The last time I visited gray dog on carmine was when I was yelled at and asked to leave for reading a book after my sandwich and still drinking my second latte…. Really rude crude owners — very not cool — lasting impression — never again!

  9. I am so disappointed. Ecco is an excellent restaurant with fine Italian food and impeccable service. They will be sorely missed. What is happening to Tribeca?

  10. Good news to report. Went to Ecco last night. It is in fact leaving that space, but they will be looking for a new place to land – hopefully in the neighborhood and hopefully relatively quickly. It’s a one of a kind place.

  11. This is the most disappointing news. 18+ years in the neighborhood and this has always by far been my favorite restaurant. The food and service are always consistent and always feel like home. I could eat their pollo margarita every day of the week, 365 days a year. Exactly what a neighborhood restaurant is meant to be. Please find a lease in the neighborhood!

  12. The soul of the neighborhood is being hollowed out. What we’ll be left with are a bunch of interlopers pretend acting in a once great place to live.

  13. Would love to see them move to the corner of Hudson where Acappella was.

    • First it was Accapella – ah, the flaming table side roasts
      and free grappa at the end. The it was Il Giglio. And now
      Ecco. A family tradition rubbed out. We all loved the white table clothes and waiter who scraped the crumbs between your main course and desert. I loved the welcome anti pasta when you arrived.

      Gone to TriBeCa food heaven to join City Hall, Blau Gans,
      Dillon’s, the Imperial Coffee shop, and so, so many more

    • Before Accapella occupied that space, it was the Acute Cafe…an over the top attempt at being super trendy. Fortunately it didn’t last long.

  14. grey dog is a great, affordable place to eat. it will be a welcome addition and certainly serve more locals than ecco, plus it is not a rowdy crowd and they barely service wine and beer. not sure why there would be any resistance to this, considering you could also get a freaking pret or serafina in the storefront!

  15. Just what we need, a chain replacing a restaurant of quality. What a waste and a sign of the times.

    • there are like 4 of them total. hardly a chain restaurant. this kind of complaining seems silly. a “sign of the times” is a new local business moving in?

  16. Ecco has been a Tribeca staple in the neighborhood since 1983. As a business owner, we have hosted many special occasions and holiday parties at Ecco. They even stayed open after 9/11. The restaurant and it’s staff will be terribly missed. We all hope that Ray, the owner, finds another location in Tribeca, really quickly!!

  17. As a Tribeca resident since the last century, I’ve enjoyed Ecco’s food & atmosphere more than a few times. Nonethess things change: get over it. This was a restaurant/bar (& a good one), but nothing stays the same in NYC (or almost anywhere). Do you know how many Madison Square Gardens NYC has had?

    I don’t know Grey Dog, but offer them A BIG HELLO & WELCOME to Tribeca. You can remember the past fondly without bemoaning the future: 14th Street was once NYC’s Great White Way & Luchow’s ruled the roost.

    Let’s wish both Ecco & Grey Dog a bright future. If anything’s contant in NYC it’s change.

  18. We enjoyed the Ecco on our first trip to NY. We enjoyed our first dinner there on our 25th anniversary many years ago. We have gone back regularly for almost 20 years. Very sad… We would call for reservations and tell then it was big Paul from Minnesota and we were remember over the years. I would like to know if they reopen in Tribeca.
    Paul and Mary Price

  19. Is there any update on potential new location? I am forlorn.

  20. Our first child was born on may 4 1971 and that night I was greeted at a new restaurant by Pierro. Later on Dominique was the maitre-d and now Ray. I respect the history as well as exceptional quality and service. If there is a relocation I hope I am the first one Ray calls. For me and my wife it is not replaceable.

  21. ECCO, great memory, the only place Ive had a briefcase stolen.

  22. Ecco was one of the best run restaurants at one time in the city. I recall going there with friends for New Years Eve one year and they ran out of desserts . Sure enough the bakery chef made us a fresh napoleon in record time! Food was delicious and service was even better. Who could forget the antipasta when you walked in? To die for….

  23. Did Ecco find a new place? What a loss!

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