Text and photos by Stacie Joy
During the COVID-19 crisis, Ori Kushnir and Sivan Lahat, the owners of Foxface, have continued to be creative with their the shop inside the William Barnacle Tavern at Theater 80 on St. Mark's Place just west of First Avenue.
Back in the spring, the East Village residents introduced several new offerings, including Provisions, a pantry of sorts, and the Foxface Farm Stand, where you can order farm-fresh items such as eggs, dairy, meats and honey. In addition, there's the Bread Stand, where fresh baked bread is available.
Now they've unveiled Foxface Al Fresco, a curbside dining option with a summer seafood menu, including local oysters and lobster from Maine. Lorcan Otway, Theater 80's owner and the proprietor of the William Barnacle Tavern, is offering a selection of wines and cocktails.
Ori told me that he had carefully set up the restaurant’s outdoor cafe to the city’s code, only to be told by the Department of Transportation that it was no longer following specifications and that they had 24 hours to correct the situation and to be in compliance, then reapply for approval. He was also told the restaurant faced hefty fines if they didn’t comply.
Foxface was featured in the Times last week. As Pete Wells reported:
Mr. Kushnir lost two days of business, he said, in addition to the more than $3,000 he had to spend on new, 18-inch-deep planters. "Anybody who tried to do the right thing the first time, and is trying to do the right thing now, is spending thousands of dollars on this," he said.
The couple show me the new planters they had built, and the repurposed plywood from the places that had boarded up during the pandemic. They speak about the research they conducted at the greenmarket before buying a tent, and about the confusing and fluctuating governmental requirements for restaurants to operate under PAUSE.
Our conversation is cut short by the arrival of the reservation-holders eager for their 5:30 dinner reservations...
For now, Foxface is open Thursday through Saturday... they are serving sandwiches from noon to 4 p.m., and dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Keep tabs on the hours, menus and specials via Instagram. (And they are promising something special for this Sunday.)