I'm a retired restaurant owner, among other things, and PC will hate me for this, but I offer this in hopes it is taken to heart in a positive way.
Piccola Cucina is a great, but tiny little restaurant on Prince St. and they recently opened a slightly bigger place on Spring.
I hope the original stays open and is not dragged down by the new place, which has all the earmarks of early failure, unfortunately.
Among the problems there are these following points:
1. Street-accented latina waitress doesn't know how to pronounce anything on the menu as it is all very foreign food to her. That also means she can't answer questions about the menu.
2. As if this were Brooklyn, the staff wearing goofy hats in the kitchen just puts forth the wrong image. In SoHo, West Village, TriBeCa, etc, new restaurants have to be right. And they'd better be good with a uniquely competent staff with strong experience. Again, Brooklyn is the place to play Hipster Dress-up. Downtown NYC is the place to play at the top of your game, and look the part. You can charge accordingly and we'll forgive you.
3. The formula at the Prince location is the right one for the neighborhood. Don't expand the menu and think the time is right to compete with Aurora, Da Marcella, Marinella, Bar Pitti, Palma, etc. You've got a busy and functional little concept with the small plates of excellent food and wines by the glass at a great value. Don't "fix" it.
Please, guys. Clean it up. You've taken over two favorite food destinations in the neighborhood: Caffé Tina and Pizza 28. Live up to the neighborhood's expectations.
Look at what happened to Principessa. It was an unprofessional mess from day one.
Good luck to you all.
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