Some dramatic restaurant news from Fifth Avenue to report: Aperitivo, the Italian restaurant on the corner of First Street, closed down suddenly yesterday, and a new restaurant, with a new owner, will be opening there within a month.
Aperitivo was opened seven years ago by the same owners as Sotto Voce up on Seventh Avenue, and according to a note on the Facebook page they’re closing this down to focus exclusively on that. The bottomless brunch and events like clam bakes will be carrying over to Sotto Voce, and the owners “will also meld many of your favorite dishes and wines with a revamped menu, wine program and expanded bar.”
So what’s in store for the space? Real estate agent Jeffrey Kesler put me in touch with new owner Binh Douglas, who has more than 20 years of hospitality industry experience and has managed bars, restaurants, and clubs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and will be running the restaurant with his wife Lauren.
“I’m half Vietnamese, a quarter Native American, and a quarter black, and my wife has a French background, so we decided to name the restaurant after our newborn son, Henri, and the menu is an amalgam of his heritage,” Douglas told me when reached by phone. The seasonally-changing menu will be comprised entirely of small plates intended for sharing, with influences ranging from French to German to Asian. Several types of grilled cheese will be available (Le Classique, melted gruyere and caramelized shallots on garlic bread toast with sherry thyme "au jus," sounds pretty good), as well as salads, sliders, salads, and other shared plates like Vietnamese summer rolls, banh mi tacos, and fresh pretzels with fondue dipping sauce.
The menu seems fun and not too complicated, and with a couple TVs, an expanded bar program, and board games like Jenga and Connect 4 available, it’s intended to be a low-key and reasonably priced place for locals to hang out and share some food. Cocktails will average $9-11, beers will range from $5 to $8, and dishes will average around $6-9.
If all goes to plan, Henri on Fifth should be open by Mid-December.