Chat ‘n Chew is back in business — and this time it’s on a health kick.
The comfort food eatery from Andrew Silverman — the veteran restaurateur behind L’Express, Campeon and Le Monde — was a 20-year Union Square staple until it shut in 2014.
Now it is slated to reopen later this month at 10 East 16th St., with healthy options sourced from Union Square Greenmarket, like veggie bowls, alongside comfort classics like Thanksgiving on a Roll, tuna melts and mac ‘n cheese.
The reopening comes after gentrification priced out the restaurant and its clientele.
“Rent tripled on us and a lot of our customers moved on and out of the area,” Silverman told Side Dish, adding,“We weren’t serving the millennial population which ended up being the Achilles heel for so many diners in the neighborhood.”
Silverman believes that a new focus on healthy options and casual dining will solve that problem.
“Our aim is to retrofit and make the luncheonette cool again,” Silverman said. “After we closed our doors, emails, letters and phone calls started to flood in and didn’t stop. Now we are more mindful of dietary habits and will be more of an all day cafe geared toward college students, recent graduates and young professionals in the area.”
“We’re going to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a lot of healthier options like vegan bowls and veggie burgers right alongside our more traditional options like cheeseburgers.”
His other restaurants, which also include Barbounia, Horchata and Duke’s, have also stood the test of time.
“I’ve been serving the Flatiron, Gramercy Square and Union Square neighborhood community for over 35 years. I’ve also lived in the area since 1979 so I’ve seen the area evolve first hand,” Silverman said.
“The younger generation is more health conscious and is changing the ways of just about every restaurant in New York and the country, from local spots like mine to White Castle, which is introducing vegan sliders.”
This, of course, doesn’t mean the new Chat ‘n Chew won’t have dessert. Look for creme brulee cheesecake, carrot cake in a Chat n’ Chew mug, and Coco Cola cake alongside egg creams and ice cream floats.
Silverman, a grad of the Culinary Institute of America, will helm the kitchen alongside chef de cuisine Benny Martinez.
The 1,400-square-foot space seats 100 people, with an additional 30 seats in a private dining room and four tables outside to seat around eight more people.The space formerly housed City Crab Shack.