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Jon Neidich Opens French- inspired Cafe In Downtown NYC


Le Dive, inspired by French tabacs, is located on a corner below Canal Street. BY KRISTEN TAUER

Last spring, restaurate­ur Jon Neidich was in Manhattan’s Lower East Side with friends when he noticed a “For

Rent” sign in the window of one of his old neighborho­od haunts. The city’s dining scene was beginning to pick back up one year into the pandemic, and the opportunit­y of the prime space — which Neidich had once lived around the corner from – was too good to pass up. He called the number in the window, and his newest F&B concept, Le Dive, quickly took shape after that initial conversati­on with the landlord.

“It was an amazing corner in an amazing neighborho­od. It felt very much like a perfect opportunit­y to create something with a French angle,” says Neidich, who earlier this spring opened The Nines in NoHo under his Golden Age Hospitalit­y brand. “There’s something about a corner and a French-inspired bar or restaurant in New York that feels like it just makes sense.”

Le Dive is situated on the corner of 37 Canal Street and Ludlow Street in a pocket of the Lower East Side that has retained its neighborho­od vibe. Neidich drew inspiratio­n from the old tabac-style cafes of Paris, an idea that took seed when he was working on opening his Brooklyn restaurant Le Crocodile.

“The [tabac] that I was thinking about felt like the kind of place where you’d have someone smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of espresso or drinking a glass of red wine at 11:30 in the morning,” says Neidich. “I loved the feeling and the character of them, and the way they serve as meeting places for people to convene or just hang out. It’s sort of ‘the regulars’ spot,” he adds, likening the neighborho­od around East Broadway — “Dimes Square” — to the 11th arrondisse­ment of Paris, populated with a hyper-local creative scene.

The idea was to riff on classic French design while updating the food and beverage for the New York dining scene. The beverage program is led by Ashley

Santoro, who owns a natural wine shop around the corner from Le Dive; new takes on classic French cocktails are on offer alongside a selection of sustainabl­e natural wines and non-alcoholic options. Executive chef Nicole Gajadhar crafted a menu of traditiona­l bistro fare, including a tuna Niçoise salad and charcuteri­e and cheese served with baguette.

Le Dive opened its doors this week just in time to meet the city’s warmer weather; the space is well situated for the summer season with floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the street for an indoor- outdoor feel.

The aesthetic of Le Dive leans into the lived history of its space, which has housed various dining concepts throughout the years, and borrowed design cues from classic French bar design. A central design element is the namesake neon sign that hangs over the formica bar top, which introduces modernity into the space. Accents like vintage sconces, lamp shades and mirrors, sourced from Paris flea market Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, drive home the worn-in, cozy vibe.

“I’m always looking to create a feeling of warmth,” says Neidich. “The space kind of envelops the customer.”

And whether or not you live in the neighborho­od, Neidich hopes that Le Dive might just feel a little bit like home.

 ?? ?? Jon Neidich inside Le Dive.
Jon Neidich inside Le Dive.
 ?? ?? Sardines, smoked salmon and
Sardines, smoked salmon and baguette.
 ?? ?? A selection of natural wines served at Le Dive.
A selection of natural wines served at Le Dive.
 ?? ?? Tuna Nicoise.
Tuna Nicoise.
 ?? ?? Strawberry
Strawberry daiquiri.

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