A roast-beef sandwich operation poised to open (maybe today) in the old Birdies fried-chicken space is the brainchild of Artichokes 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 Artichokes trademark nostalgia, but no little piggies (Everybodys doing pork, says Garcia). The featured attraction here is roast beef, and plenty of it. Sandwiches come This Way, in homage to Sheepshead Bays 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 Katzs Deli, says Garcia, who seems to be remaking New Yorks culinary institutions one by one.
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, 149 First Ave., nr. 9th St.; No phone yet.