Sneak Peek: Beefbar

Getting ready for its friends-and-family opening in mid-March (and an official opening on March 26 or so) is Beefbar, a family-owned franchise of an international chain that is taking over the former Nobu space on Hudson. These are lovely people with what will be a solid (and expensive) concept in a classic Tribeca space, but first let’s just get the name thing out of the way, since it is so unappealing.

Giraudi Meats was founded in 1968 in Monaco as an importer of Dutch and French veal to Italy, and over the decades grew to be one of the biggest importers of meats to Europe. When the founder’s son, Riccardo Giraurdi, joined the company in 2001, he started importing American Black Angus and Japanese Kobe beef; as a PR tool, he hired a chef to prepare the meats in an array of global methods as samples for his customers. That all took place at a bar, and it acquired the name of beefbar. He has since become a creator of all sorts of restaurant concepts — and there are dozens of Beefbars around the globe.

Toggling now to another family, the Rahmans, who made Tribeca their home in 2020. Husband and wife Mahween and AJ Rahman (Canadians by way of Bangladesh) are in the shipping industry — they own tankers. Their younger son, Aqib, graduated from Northeastern during covid, and while quarantining together in Toronto, the family got to brainstorming about projects they wanted to take on. As self described foodies, they have eaten at fine dining restaurants all over the world and they wanted to try their hand at it.

“It was a good chance for Aqib and I to do something together,” Mahween said. They have long visited Tribeca — both sons went to school in the US, and Mahween is drawn to New York for its hectic pace, which reminds her of Bangladesh. Once the boys graduated, she was ready to move. “Plus the restaurants here are among our favorites — Frenchette, Nobu — and the scene is being created now for restaurants with a great vibe not just great food.”

When they realized the Nobu space was empty, and had been for seven years, they signed a lease before they even had a concept.

Tribeca Hospitality Group is owned by the family, which also includes Mahween and AJ’s son Tareef; the parents live on Beach Street and the brothers live on Chambers. Tareef had a friend who posted a visit to a Beefbar in Paris on Instagram and that led the family to investigate the franchise: “Since this was our first hospitality project, we wanted to work with a brand that was successful in other countries,” Mahween said. “New York is a very competitive market. We wanted to see what was lacking here and there and we tried to blend it together.”

“If you set off on the wrong mark in New York, that’s it,” Aqib added.

There is a meat cellar — glass cases built into the wall, with butcher block counters in front for showing diners specific cuts. But it is not all meat, all the time. “It’s a meat-forward restaurant but it’s not a steak house,” said Aqib.

It’s also deluxe. The Beefbar designers did the interiors, but each Beefbar is different from the next — they don’t want them to be similar in theme or mood. In this case there are vaulted wood ceilings with Deco touches, terrazzo floors, luxe fabrics (I loved the textiles of the bar seats and stools) and of course, the iconic arched windows of 105 Hudson. (And they asked me to specifically mention their general contractor, Jake Kim at Vertical Space, whom they said has been an amazing partner.)

The space is huge — 6000 square feet — with 100 seats in the dining room that was Nobu and 60 in the bar that was Nobu Next Door (the two rooms are now connected in the back since they removed the old bank vault that stood rusting in between them). The price point will be about $125 to $150 a head — along the lines of Locanda Verde or Mr. Chow. The chef, Peter Jin, is from Rhubarb Hospitality Collection, which runs restaurants at Hudson Yards, and the maître d’ is from Gitano on Governors Island.

“At the end of the day we want this to feel like a neighborhood restaurant even though it is designed elaborately,” Aqib said. “It’s not going to be a place where you can’t get a table if you walk in.”

The family is very excited to have found this particular space, which has a rich history in Tribeca fine dining. The coop at 105 Hudson owns the space, and they were particular. (Nobu left in 2015 and it’s been empty since then.) “Ultimately location plays a big role,” said Mahween. “And I love it here. Plus this space was crying out for something.”

Now here’s hoping Local Law 11 doesn’t crush their dreams for a gracious opening…

 

7 Comments

  1. A very warm welcome, it’s a great iconic space and deserves a terrific restaurant. Looking forward to visiting.

    PS. looks like something is also happening across the road on the empty former bank site on Hudson and Franklin ?

  2. A “neighborhood family restaurant” at $125.- $150. a person??

  3. What is local law 11?

    • NYC Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), also known as Local Law 11, requires NYC buildings taller than six stories to have their facades inspected and repaired every five years.

  4. I have had the pleasure of working the project with Mahween and Aqib. There is no question this is going to be a fabulous spot with their great taste and attention to detail. They know what clients expect, and worked diligently to create an exceptional dining experience, and gather the best and brightest in the hospitality industry. I look forward to bringing friends and colleagues to celebrate their success!

    Jen Murphy
    Project Resources LLC

    P.S. If a sidewalk bridge discourages you from going someplace, then you must not be a New Yorker! They’re everywhere!

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