Magazine article The New Yorker

The Little Owl; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Little Owl; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

90 Bedford St., at Grove St. (212-741-4695)--" 'Scuse me, is this the Red Owl?" a woman said to a couple sitting on a bench in front of a snug Village restaurant. It was the Little Owl, the inaugural venture from Joey Campanaro and Gabriel Stulman, but her confusion was understandable: in a neighborhood teeming with beloved holes-in-the-wall--a disproportionate number of them named after animals (Grey Dog, White Horse, Spotted Pig)--it can be hard to stand out. Campanaro (chef, formerly of the Harrison) and Stulman (front man) manage to, mainly by evincing the friendliness of a golden retriever.

Nestled on the ground floor of a picturesque tenement (it served as the B-roll backdrop on "Friends"), theirs is a mellow, slightly on-the-fly operation. Sprays of blue hydrangeas, or whatever seasonal flowers are available, are tucked into the nooks of windows. A Vornado fan attempts to keep the room cool; nobody freaks out if you wander outside with a glass of wine. When Stulman decided that the space needed a pick-me-up, he simply dragged in some ladders and spray-painted the ceiling gold. …

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