BY my reckoning, three restaurants founded in Long Island City have received nationwide and global acclaim and fame. The first, in the summer of 2010, was M. Wells. Located off the beaten path in LIC, but right above the second subway stop out of Manhattan, its well-executed unconventional cuisine served in an actual diner setting quickly caught fire with foodies and the culinary literati. By January of 2011 it was listed alongside restaurants from chefs Heston Blumenthal (Fat Duck- London), Ferran Adria (El Bulli – Spain), David Chang (Momofuku – Sydney via NYC), and Thomas Keller (French Laundry – Napa) in a New York Times article entitled “Ten Restaurants Worth A Plane Ride.” Followed three months later with a 2-star review by Sam Sifton in the Times, and media coverage rivaling the Kardashian’s.
Yet in August of that year came the shocking news that it would be closing imminently, due to a landlord playing hardball and looking to jack up the rent on the tenants who only held a short term lease (biggest miscalculation ever, as the place has remained empty ever since). Though the LIC couple that found it would open the first of two M. Wells spin-offs in LIC only a year later, and the second which still exists today – both to highly positive reception, from a publicity perspective things never burned as bright as those tumultuous ~14 months in the diner.[Read more…] about Casa Lola Opens Monday, ¿Are You Ready LIC?