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

One of our favorite Williamsburg institutions, Kellogg’s 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 René Hernandez, who trained with Ferran Adrià and is currently the exec toque at Don Pedro’s on the Upper East Side, Zagat’s No. 1–rated Caribbean restaurant. You’ll see a Mediterranean influence on his new menu — Espinal recommends the lamb shank, and there will be daily, market-driven specials. Entrée prices: $13 to $27. That’s not the only shocker — you may have heard there’s 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
Apothéke. 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 Apothéke Mixologist After All

A First Look at Kellogg’s Diner, Reopening Today With Apothéke and El