A Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant is expanding within its own neighborhood.
From the James Beard-nominated team behindThe Musket Room, comes Raf’s. Opening at 290 Elizabeth Street, the space aims to evoke the grand cafés of Europe and create an intimate space for café culture downtown.
Housed in a century-old space once home to Parisi Bakery, Raf’s will make use of the restaurant’s immaculately preserved built-in bread ovens, which are in the center of the dining room. The hearth-driven menu will include breakfast, lunch and dinner items such as cast iron sfincione (Sicilian pizza), wood-kissed escargot, and dry-aged cote de bôef.
Owned and operated by Jennifer Vitagliano of The Musket Room, and Nicole Vitagliano, Raf’s (named for Nicole’s daughter) will offer pastries, breads, and espresso throughout the day, aperitivo, and light snacks in the afternoon, a woodfired evening menu, and a beverage program featuring wines, champagne, and classic cocktails.
“Raf’s celebrates the storied past of our historic space, and of a disappearing New York, while introducing a new light of what a cafe society can mean in current days,” says Vitagliano. “Each detail is steeped in meaning and has been designed with elaborate care – from the revival of our historic storefront and 100-year-old ovens to our style of service. We intend to be equally inviting to all guests, without sacrificing the grounded, laid-back charm that will make Raf’s more timeless than of-the-moment.”
Chefs Mary Attea and Camari Mick – both nominated semi-finalists for the 2022 and 2023 James Beard Awards for their work at The Musket Room – will helm the savory, and pastry kitchens, respectively.
“Not every chef has the opportunity to step into a space with such rich history in New York City, so to be able to carry on the legacy of the original owners by resurrecting the nearly 100 year old brick ovens is truly an honor,” says Attea.
Designed by Post Company, Raf’s overall aesthetic will be elegant and modern.
Upon entering, the grand bar welcomes guests with pastries, fresh flowers, and mohair topped stools, while the back bar has details of polished nickel rails, sparkling wine glasses, and stacked jewel-toned aperitifs. Candle-lit seats brighten the furnishings’ eclectic charms, and European roots – many sourced from Parisian and Milanese vintage markets.
The café will be open for breakfast daily serving house-made breads, and viennoiserie (like a candied orange croissant), with a focus on tartine and pastries. The menu will include classic egg dishes such as eggs en cocotte, and soft scrambled eggs, enhanced with seasonal ingredients. By evening, Mick’s pastry offering will be replaced by a beverage program focused on masterfully executed classic cocktails incorporating vintage spirits, amaros, aperitifs alongside wines by-the-glass and a bottle list from Italy’s coastal regions as well as Icons of Italy emerging from behind the grand bar.
“It’s almost surreal how I got here, how we have grown together. From slinging donuts out of a food truck almost three years ago during the pandemic, to now becoming a partner in what I know to be the next NYC institution is a privilege,” says Mick. “I cannot wait to honor the history of the building and those who’ve come before us by commemorating them with the continued French-Italian fare which once nourished the community of Elizabeth Street.”
Lunch service will be offered in the dining room, featuring seasonal salads, crudos, fresh pastas, and sandwiches. On Saturday and Sunday, Brunch will be served from 11am-4pm, with dishes like salad Niçoise, and Uova in Purgatorio (baked eggs) alongside signature baked goods.
Lunch is directly followed by Aperitivo, directly followed by Dinner service. The dessert menu will feature more elaborate pastries alongside a rotating selection of housemade gelato.
Reservations available on Resy starting March 10