About a year after opening, Metropolitan Variety Store and Restaurant — the West Village spot that launched inside the former space occupied by Craft Work — is undergoing a major retooling with the goal of becoming known as more of a neighborhood spot and plans to unveil its many adjustments during a relaunch gathering open to the public from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on November 23 (yes, the night before Thanksgiving — aka the biggest bar night of the year).
Co-owner Rick Stanza tells Eater that when the place opened its doors in October 2021 he envisioned a high-end bottle shop featuring rare wines, beers, and spirits, and an adjoining bar and restaurant where folks could maybe sample a glass of their purchase next door or grab a casual bite to eat.
Brought on to helm the kitchen upon the initial opening was chef Brendon Edwards whose seasonal, veggie-centric Cal-Mex menu turned out to be much more than Stanza had bargained for, noting that the chef’s background is better suited to fine dining. Edwards parted ways with Metropolitan in June. Edwards told Eater at the time that the separation was amicable.
Since then, Stanza and partner Ashley Price, the establishment’s alcohol buyer, put their heads together to reimagine a more casual place featuring burgers, chicken wings, and a variety of grab-and-go items to sell in the marketplace area. The idea, Stanza says, is for Metropolitan to serve the neighborhood’s residents and families more so than attempt to attract outsiders as a destination restaurant.
To head the kitchen this time, Stanza says he’s brought on a back-of-the-house veteran who most recently did a stint at Selden Standard in Midtown, whom the co-owner did not name. The new addition has been testing out menu items and figuring out the best way to streamline the kitchen so that customers can expect a similar food experience — whether dining in the restaurant or taking something to go.
In addition to the menu change, the spot is restoring its high-top tables, which Stanza says was a popular seating arrangement among customers during the Craft Work days, along with repainting parts of the interior to brighten the place up and adding video games in an under-utilized area of the interior.