"Welcome back to Satchel's," says the sidewalk chalkboard just outside the front door of Andrew Casalini's restaurant on Sixth Avenue. The greeting comes a day after Casalini reopened his Congress Park spot after a three-week remodel -- a remodel that trumpets a stately new bar, custom-patterned wood floors, luscious red, channel-backed banquettes, vintage chandeliers, cream colored, old-world-style walls, parlor tables and chairs, a turntable to spin tunes and a full liquor license.
"The same four walls are here, but Satchel's is growing up, and upgrading the restaurant and adding a full liquor license is a natural progression for us," says Casalini. "I'm excited for our customers who have been so supportive of us over the past eight years to experience a warmer, more comfortable atmosphere," he adds.
The menu, created by exec chef Dai Wren, has evolved, too, incorporating a swell of small plates, and the cocktail syllabus now has a "client list" section, the drinks of which are named after some of Satchel's regulars. "The 'client list' is about us getting to know -- and making friends with -- our neighbors and acknowledging those personal friendships by making drinks after them," says Casalini, noting that in time, the entire cocktail roster will be devoted to drinks named for guests.
And guests can also bring in their old records, because Casalini just bought a turntable that spins tunes. "Bring in your albums -- classic jazz, new world, old world, anything with a good beat -- and well spin them," he promises. I've always wanted a turntable," he adds. "It brings me back to a different time and a different place, and if someone wants to come in and hear the B-side of their favorite album, we're happy to play it."
And starting tomorrow, Casalini will unleash happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. featuring half-price Champagne cocktails and beer and food specials Tuesday through Thursday, and again on Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to close. In early November, Satchel's will add Monday dinner service to its lineup, as well as an all-day Monday happy hour.
In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the space.