By Scott Etkin
Community Food & Juice, the American restaurant that has been a favorite near Columbia University for 15 years, is gearing up to open its second location on 72nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus. This weekend they are hosting friends and family for dinner as a soft opening in preparation for accepting guests on March 1.
The two locations are similar in their farm-to-table approach. But the atmosphere on 72nd Street feels a bit more elegant: soft red banquets line the walls below long shelves decorated with cookbooks and leafy plants. The overall lightness of the space is balanced against a dark, marble bar that starts near the entrance.
“The original Community was conceived with a partnership that understood the culinary desires of the Columbia University population,” wrote the owner, the Phillips family, in a statement. “We now hope to offer an evolved menu that reflects and inspires the same objectives.”
The kitchen is led by Chef Eric Chaug, who was previously a sous chef at Del Posto, the acclaimed Italian restaurant that closed last year. The menu is prepared from scratch each day and features meats, poultry and fish that are humanely raised and locally sourced.
The opening, originally planned for December, was postponed a few months primarily due to the Omicron surge in virus cases. Starting on March 1, the new Community will be open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner service. Saturday and Sunday brunch is expected to follow in the next few weeks.
The space is smaller than the one uptown, seating around 72 guests. It was formerly occupied by Le Pain Quotidien. Unlike the Community uptown, this one will accept reservations. It hopes to benefit from the foot traffic coming off Central Park, especially as the seasons change. They expect to add outdoor seating in the next month.