Pera’s plan to sell picnic baskets may seem like just another sop for Hampton-bound swells; really, it’s part of the restaurant’s master expansion strategy. Executive chef Jason Avery tells us that “Pera was never intended to be a one-shot deal; we’re looking to expand in the city, and across America.” Pera hasn’t found the right space or lease yet, but when it does, it will follow the lead of what Avery is already calling “our flagship restaurant.”
Last week, after over a year of construction, the American Grill finally opened in the old Kiev space, and it will soon be operating 24/7 (it's currently open till midnight). Will the glorified diner be able to succeed where Loside (now closed 24/7) failed? Will old-neighborhood offerings of pirogen and blintzes lure 4 a.m. drunks away from Odessa? Probably not, but ten-ounce Angus-beef burgers topped with Gruyère, proscuitto, or avocado just might, not to mention a sandwich menu that includes the 'wich-hound's holy grail (the hot muffuletta) and a selection of proper entrées created by consulting chef Pnina L. Peled, who previously worked with Sensa and Elmo. The owners (three Greek brothers from Queens) expect to instate their-beer and-wine license any day now, but management insists this is a family spot. You know, in case the tots are hankering for a sixteen-ounce steak after a night at Sin Sin.
American Grill, 117 Second Ave., at 7th St.; 212-777-1286.American Grill menu