With the opening of J & Tony’s Discount Cured Meats and Negroni Warehouse in the East Village, paired up with Modern Times Coffee’s Invigatorium, CH Projects has effectively created their interpretation of a classic Italian bar. More social hub than traditional bar, it’s meant to be patronized throughout the day, dispensing coffee and light bites in the morning and aperitivo — pre-dinner drinks and snacks — later in the afternoon.
The space, which fronts the hospitality group’s main office, is now serving breakfast sandwiches starting at 7 a.m., with cocktails offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., though longer hours are a possibility.
An aging room for house-cured meats is also on the horizon, but for now, J & Tony’s is featuring proscuitto-style ham from North Carolina and meats from the Born & Raised kitchen, including mortadella, wagyu pepperoni, and saucisson sec, in sub sandwiches and on charcuterie plates served with Prager Brothers Artisan Breads baguettes. Other snacks include cheese platters, jars of chicken liver mousse and artichoke tapenade, and an array of tinned imported seafood. Culinary director Jason McLeod says that future wine and cocktail pairing dinners with guest chefs are also in the works.
There are just 15 seats at the bar, ringing an island that puts you elbow-to-elbow with the bartender. The brainchild of beverage director Anthony Schmidt, this Italian-American apertivo experience starts off with some complimentary cheese from a wheel of aged parmesan; ask politely and he’ll also offer you an aged balsamic and truffle oil dip with your cheese or meat plate.
Schmidt’s menu of amari-based cocktails, all served over hand-cut ice, includes his take on a Negroni, a spritz made with Lambrusco, a Italian sparkling wine, and all-star drinks like the Bitter Giuseppe, Garibaldi, and Boulevardier.