A roast-beef sandwich operation poised to open (maybe today) in the old Birdies fried-chicken space is the brainchild of Artichoke’s Francis Garcia and Sal Basille (plus an unaffiliated friend), and joins their nascent pizza-and-zeppole East Village empire. This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef brings to the neighborhood Artichoke’s trademark nostalgia, but no little piggies (“Everybody’s doing pork,” says Garcia). The featured attraction here is roast beef, and plenty of it. Sandwiches come “This Way,” in homage to Sheepshead Bay’s venerable Roll ’n Roaster, on a roll, au jus, with Cheez Whiz, or “That Way,” an Italian-American riff on half a hero loaf from Reliable Bakery, with onion, gravy, and fresh mozzarella. There will be housemade fries and milkshakes, too, plus a pastrami sandwich with cole slaw and mustard on rye. “I cracked the code for Katz’s Deli,” says Garcia, who seems to be remaking New York’s culinary institutions one by one.
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, 149 First Ave., nr. 9th St.; No phone yet.