Mess Around Downtown: February 25, 2010


Welcome back to Mess Around Downtown!

This week’s additions to the Downtown Directory help confirm my theory that a steady movement of food artisans and craftspeople are making their way to Lower Manhattan. Perhaps it’s the economy, or maybe foodies just like to be surrounded by water… I don’t know. But I do know that the two restaurants that opened this week have once again annihilated any negative connotations about the quality of food down here. Those days are gone Downtowners, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Alright, enough already. My mouth is watering just thinking about the food I’m going to tell you about. Don’t be afraid to e-mail me at to let me know about new retailers and changes to existing ones. Thank you and enjoy.


Fika Espresso Bar 66 Pearl Street: phone # coming soon

Fika!  It’s a Swedish verb that means “to take a coffee break”. But don’t let the name fool you. While the coffee is of world class quality ( imported from Sweden’s oldest and most trusted roaster), the chocolate and food are well crafted and delectably, uhm, Swedish. Where do I begin? Oh yes, they were a best in show winner at the 2009 Chocolate Show. While you’re munching on one of their famous hand-rolled truffles feel free to watch their master chocolatiere create his edible masterpieces in the back of their space.

Enough about the sweets though, lets talk savory. The chef ‘s former gig was heading up the kitchen at the Swedish Consolate. So it shouldn’t surprise you that they are curing their own gravlax and rolling out beautiful meatballs. They’re of the Swedish varietal of course. Stop in for a Swedish style burger with red beets and capers or a Swedish Caesar salad with involves gruyere cheese. All this and they cater too. Fika indeed!


Itsa Pizza – 20 John Street: 212-964-0999, the Web site will be up next week. Please check back.

I can’t resist writing the following sentence. Itsa Pizza isa so mucha mora. Yes, they do make all of their pizza by hand, and it’s in competition for the best slice Downtown, but with over 30 years of experience, Chef Billy Wilkins is bringing much more to this table. The instant the homemade quattro formaggio risotto ball that Wilkins placed in front of me hit my taste buds, I knew I was experiencing a whole new level of Downtown Eats.  And just when I thought my endorphin levels had peaked I took a bite of one of the Russian meat pies piled high behind the glass. It was like a spicy and doughy hug for my mouth.

I’m going to leave it at that. Eat here.


Apple Bank for Savings 10 Hanover Square: phone numbers not published

This New York bank opened its second Downtown location this week.  They’ve been doing business in NYC since 1863 and it looks like they’re doing pretty well in this economy. Here is a link with a bunch of banker language I don’t understand to prove it.


Kunal Grocery Inc. – 27 Park Place: 212-608-1110

The fire that damaged this space last year didn’t stop the friendly new proprietors of Kunal Grocery from taking it on. You will never know that this space had severe smoke damage as you purchase your lotto tickets, beer, cigs, and random foods. Stop by to say hello and scratch off an instant winner.


Fire Alert

Ryan Maguire’s at 28 Cliff Street is closed until further notice due to a fire that damaged their business on the morning of February 24th. I wish them a speedy recovery.


Vacancy Alert

Haircutters of Paris at 92 Chambers Street has closed.


As always, thank you for being on the lookout and please continue to send any changes you come across to