Resurrecting a bygone institution's tough: get it right, and you've breathed new life into the Star Trek franchise, but get it wrong, and you'll find you've just remade Star Trek III. For a resurrection that's right, check out Cole's
Originally established in 1908, the restaurant that claimed invention of the French Dip had fallen into shameful disrepair before closing last year; now, with $1.6 million from the Seven Grand/Broadway Bar guy, it'll once again meet patrons' need to publicly dip their meat in juice. What's new: The Decor: They've traded in the nuevo-skid-row look of recent years for the original old-school saloon look, with restored original glass light fixtures, stools, penny-tile floors, transom windows, and a mahogany bar abetted by a brand new meat carving station, so the flavor of 1908 isn't actually the flavor of 1908. The Food: Sandwiches come from the Iron Chef-winning Foundry guy, with sub-$10 meat options including pork, turkey, lamb, and beef, all fix-uppable with the restaurant's "custom mustard" -- so it's got flames on the sides, and plays "La Cucaracha" when you honk? The Drinks: The front "historic bar" will serve up rotating craft beers (Spaten, Franz Monk), while an opening-soon separate backspace called Varnish will serve specialty cocktails from the guys behind New York's Milk & Honey, a bar renowned for its exclusivity (reservations are made via unpublished number) and non-exclusivity (unpublished number published on Internet)
Though it won't be soft-opened 'til Monday, Cole's is having two open-to-the-public events this week: on Friday night, they'll be serving up 75c Dewar's drinks 'til 11pm, and on Saturday, they're throwing a party with sandwiches, sides, and slices of pie for "just 100 cents a piece" -- both helping you resurrect the Depression-era institution of paying for everything in change.