Located right in front of the High Line in the old John Dory space, Chelsea residents can now rejoice over the opening of Willow Road, a brand new “gastrobar” that offers craft cocktails and, as is the food fashion of the day, rustic, seasonal small plates.
"We are incredibly excited to be located in Chelsea, it’s such a vibrant and creative neighborhood,” said Will Malnati, who co-owns the restaurant with Doug Jacob. “We’re offeringa more elevated casual spot with a great vibe that people can enjoy throughout the day, and we really want it to be a neighborhood place with a focus on food."
Chef Todd Macdonald, formally of the now closed Cru and Clio in Boston, runs the kitchen and turns out flavorful twists on American classics including fried chicken with jerk seasoning, lamb sliders with sumac aioli, mussels with kumquat butter, and macaroni and cheese laced with lemon, sausage, and fennel pollen.
The bar side of the gastro is run by mixologist Greg Seider, a partner at Summit Bar who has also turned out cocktails at Minetta Tavern and Le Bernardin, before settling here to make up the drinks menu, which included tipples like the Japanese Old Fashioned with Yamazaki 12.
The space pays homage to the old Nabisco Factory that occupied it oh-so-many years ago, and includes a giant neon sign sporting the old slogan for Triscuit crackers, “Baked by Electricity.” Subway tiles and exposed brick give it an urban-rustic feel, and the large cartoonish mural of Chelsea by James Gulliver Hancock helps complete the ode to the neighborhood.