Craig Béro and Linda Donahue, the egg-cream aficionados behind The Soda Shop, have just opened a private dining space that's perfect for small holiday parties — and getting a taste of Tribeca's history. After breaking through to a decaying, walled-off space next door, the duo was inspired to decorate the room with artifacts salvaged from the surrounding ten blocks, many from construction-site dumpsters. Twisted cedar branches climbing up the brick allude to the horse stable that was probably once there, and Béro believes that the original, rustic-style fireplace was used by members of a small community of freed slaves in the late 1700s. The space is almost eerie, especially when Béro, a brooding foodie historian, begins telling you that he's currently reading The Murder of Helen Jewett, the story of an eighteenth-century prostitute bludgeoned to death less than three blocks away. But fear not: Cheeriness returns in one sip of a strawberry milk shake.
— Alexandra Vallis