The county’s second-largest city has been on a multiyear mission to transform itself. Boasting multiple multistory rentals, streetscape improvements, and a High-Line-type open space called the Linc (among other initiatives), New Rochelle’s downtown is gradually growing more appealing and walkable, with small-business entrepreneurs eyeballing a promising future for the Queen City of the Sound.
This includes restaurateur Clay Bushong, who owns Sound Chicken and Cantina Lobos in Pelham and is debuting the multistory Town House mid-month in the space that once held The Speckled Door. The ambitious concept for the 5,800-square-foot space is a 70-seat American brasserie restaurant and event space that also will be an arts-and-culture hub (Bushong received a state grant and is teaming with the New Rochelle Council on the Arts to present acoustic music, spoken-word nights, rotating art throughout, and more).
“There is an excitement about what is happening, and I hope to be part of a second wave of destination-worthy food businesses, after Alvin & Friends, R Patisserie, and Pizzeria La Rosa,” says the Pelham resident, who adds there are 6,000 new apartments within a square mile.
Heading the kitchen is Chef Chris dos Reis, previously at two-Michelin-star Momofuku Ko, who lived in Europe for several years and incorporates the ingredients and techniques of different countries — especially Portugal and Spain — into his brasserie menu, which is dominated by casual small plates.
At press time, the menu was still being finalized, but expect dishes such as béchamel croquettes with tomato jam; chicken liver mousse with everything-bagel crackers; and grilled pork and fermented red pepper, clams, turnips, and black garlic paste. The house-made sourdough bread with house-made cultured butter is a standout, as are the tempura green beans with wasabi and 30-day dry-aged sirloin with strapping beef-fat fries.
Desserts, such as a top-flight caramel flan possessing a lingering sweetness that is not saccharine, are done in-house.
The New Rochelle native uses Hudson Valley purveyors, such as certified organic Norwich Meadows Farm from Chenango County, NY, as well as The Bread Factory and Viva Ranch Fruit Market in New Rochelle.
The building’s original tenant was Patchen’s Upholstery, circa 1926; Bushong had the ceramic tile restored that was discovered on the façade when the paint was stripped away. “I love old buildings and history, and I’m happy to bring part of what New Rochelle used to be into the present.”
Plans include a third floor with private dining space, art gallery, and a podcasting room for rent (or gratis use if an arts organization), plus a roof deck with teaching garden and beehives.
“We hope to bring people downtown, to the new New Rochelle.”
559 Main St, New Rochelle