A First Look at Kellogg’s Diner, Reopening Today With Apothéke and El Bulli (!!) Protégés at the Helm

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One of our favorite Williamsburg institutions, Kelloggs Diner, soft-opened today with a new fifties retro look care of designer Phil DiRafael, the enfant terrible of the DiRafael diner-building family. We sneaked in last night while a music video was being filmed and first thing we noticed: a lobster tank (a lobster tank!) in the entry alcove, where the in-house bodega used to be. The new managing partner, Jay Espinal, tells us the responsible party is consulting chef Ren Hernandez, who trained with Ferran Adri and is currently the exec toque at Don Pedros on the Upper East Side, Zagats No. 1rated Caribbean restaurant. Youll see a Mediterranean influence on his new menu Espinal recommends the lamb shank, and there will be daily, market-driven specials. Entre prices: $13 to $27. Thats not the only shocker you may have heard theres a full bar in the middle of the room? At the helm of that twelve-seat bar will be none other than Orson Salicetti, mixologist at
Apothke. Holy mother. The breakfast and lunch menu, at least, will still consist of traditional diner fare, as will the late-night menu (breathe easy, the place is still open 24 hours), and a brunch menu is in the works. We'll be following this story closely to see how this goes over with those naysaying neighbors quoted in the Times piece (that piece, strangely enough, mentioned none of the details above).

Earlier: Kellogg's Diner Won't Be Working With Apothke Mixologist After All