NEW YORK -- Fairway Market has opened a steakhouse.
The cafe at the legendary supermarket on the city's Upper West Side extended its hours of operation, so that it's now open for dinner, serving customers a choice of four steaks -- ribeye, New York strip, porterhouse and filet mignon -- cut from dry- aged prime from the store's butcher department. Along with a steak, diners get two side dishes, such as creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, accompanied by sauteed mushrooms, and choice of onion soup or salad for $35, excluding a beverage. Diners also can order pasta dishes, fish, lamb chops and hamburgers.
Initially diners carry their own bottle of wine up the sawdust-strewn steps to the cafe on Fairway's second floor. Before long, they'll be able to order wine off the menu -- Fairway has applied for a license.
The steakhouse, under the direction of chef Mitchel London, at one time chef to the city's former Mayor Ed Koch, has done a brisk business since it opened late last month. Business "is way beyond what we expected," Steve Jenkins, a partner at Fairway, told SN, declining to offer specific sales figures. "On weekends, it's jammed."
He credited London, "an extraordinary chef," for helping the steakhouse make a splash. On promotional posters, Fairway features the local celebrity chef, who supplied fancy specialty shops, including Dean & Deluca and Zabar's, with cheesecakes and other delicacies for years. London, who joined Fairway two years ago, is responsible for the fresh prepared foods program that is run out of Fairway's deli.
Located next to the organic produce section, the 7,000-square-foot cafe, with seating for 90 people, has served breakfast and lunch since it opened two years ago in what used to be a Jewish catering hall. Offering diners a glittery view of Broadway from massive second-floor windows, the cafe has marble floors, old rustic wood pillars and walls decorated with huge black-and-white photos from the 1920s, '30s and '40s, when the catering hall was open for business.
The cafe also has served as the location for cooking classes taught by chefs, cookbook signings and cheese tastings led by Jenkins. Nevertheless, the cafe closed at 7 p.m., leaving Fairway's owners to conclude it was underutilized. They decided to extend the cafe's hours to capture the dinner crowd, and now the kitchen stays open until 10:30 p.m.